Here's a simple rule: If you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't feed it to your dog. Humans and dogs need diets containing vital nutrients and as few indigestible fillers and preservatives as possible. With the help of your veterinarian, you can provide such a diet for your Maltese as easily as for yourself.
Look for homemade dog food recipes in books and online.
Choose some that provide a dog's basic dietary needs: meat for protein, vegetables for complex carbohydrates and starches for quick energy.
Select a variety of recipes to use for meals and treats until you learn your dog's preferences.
Select lean meat for your Maltese dog, as you would for yourself. Meat should be about 45 percent to 50 percent of his diet. Organic meats should not contain preservatives, antibiotics and other substances that can affect him more because of his tiny size. Since Maltese dogs originated on the island of Malta, where there are more fowl and fish than large grazing animals, yours may find chicken, turkey and even canned or fresh fish more digestible than beef and lamb. Some dog experts advocate liver, but be wary of it for small dogs because it can cause diarrhea.
Choose a variety of vegetables for at least 35 percent to 40 percent of his diet. Canned pumpkin provides trace minerals and fiber for digestive health and a sense of fullness. Other vegetables should be fresh -- squash, green beans, carrots, peas and sweet potato.
Avoid all members of the onion family (including garlic and leeks); too much can be toxic to dogs. Tomatoes' and beets' red color may cause eye staining, to which Maltese dogs are prone). Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are easy to digest for humans, but hard for dogs because of their shorter digestive tract.
Use starches for the remaining 10 percent to 20 percent of his diet. Experts disagree about rice -- some maintain that white rice is pure starch with no redeeming dietary value and others that brown rice is too hard to digest. Consider enriched white rice as a workable compromise. Maltese dogs are said to have a fondness for pasta, and a judicious amount of this can fill their starch needs.
Cook meats thoroughly by baking, stewing or sautéing. Defat juices by chilling and removing solidified fat. Chop meat into very small bits, or use ground meat. Flake fish and check meticulously for bones (except the soft-cooked ones in canned salmon).
Steam or stew vegetables in a little water until fork-tender, then mince or puree.
Add flavor to rice by using low-sodium canned chicken broth or your own defatted meat juices as part or all of the cooking liquid; bullion cubes contain too much salt. An automatic rice cooker saves time and provides perfect rice rice.
Boil pasta until soft, not al dente. Cut into small pieces your dog can swallow without choking. Combine meat, vegetables and starch in proportion while hot. Divide into portions for two to three days and .Thaw to room temperature before serving.
For supplements, Add calcium by liquefying raw eggs in a blender, shell and all, and adding this while the mixture is still very hot; this will pasteurize eggs enough to kill any Salmonella bacteria. Consult a veterinarian to see if supplements for vitamins and trace minerals are needed.
- Omit all sugar when cooking for your dog. Fruit contains natural sugars and is not recommended. Avoid herbs, spices or condiments -- they may not be well tolerated. Ask your vet before giving your Maltese dog raw meat -- some experts feel raw meat is good for dogs, but others fear it may transmit pathogens and parasites.
- Never give chocolate to a dog, which metabolizes the theobromine in chocolate very poorly. Even a small amount can make a dog very sick or kill him.