Did you know that despite their small size and adorable appearance, Maltese dogs are prone to certain health issues that can cause discomfort and concern for their owners? One common problem is dental issues, as their small mouths and crowded teeth make them susceptible to dental decay and periodontal disease. This can lead to pain, tooth loss, and potential infections if left untreated.

Aside from dental problems, another common issue faced by Maltese dogs is patellar luxation, a condition where the kneecaps become dislocated. Due to their small size and delicate bone structure, these dogs are more prone to this condition. It can cause pain and discomfort, and in severe cases, may require surgery to correct. Regular check-ups, maintaining good oral hygiene, and keeping an eye on their knee health can help prevent or manage these common problems in Maltese dogs.

what are common problems with maltese dogs?

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Common Problems with Maltese Dogs: A Comprehensive Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the common problems faced by Maltese dogs. As beloved companions known for their small size, luxurious coats, and playful personalities, Maltese dogs are a popular breed around the world. However, like any other dog breed, they are susceptible to certain health issues and behavioral challenges. In this article, we will explore the most common problems that Maltese dogs face and provide valuable insights and tips on how to manage and prevent these issues.

1. Dental Health Concerns

Maltese dogs are prone to dental problems, including tooth decay, periodontal disease, and gum infections. Their small size and delicate jaws make them more susceptible to these issues. Poor dental hygiene can lead to pain, discomfort, difficulty eating, and even systemic infections. It is important to establish a regular dental care routine for your Maltese, including daily brushing, dental check-ups, and professional cleanings.

In addition to regular dental care, providing dental-friendly toys, treats, and a balanced diet can contribute to better oral health. Avoid feeding your Maltese excessive amounts of sugary or sticky foods, as they can increase the risk of dental problems. Monitor their teeth and gums regularly for any signs of tartar buildup, redness, or bad breath, and consult with your veterinarian if you notice any issues.

To prevent dental problems, start introducing dental care practices to your Maltese from a young age. Make the experience positive and rewarding to ensure their cooperation and comfort. Taking proactive measures can help your Maltese maintain a healthy and sparkling smile.

2. Eye Conditions and Sensitivities

Maltese dogs have beautiful large eyes, which are also prone to a variety of conditions and sensitivities. One of the most common eye issues in Maltese is progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), a degenerative disease that leads to vision loss and blindness over time. Other eye problems include cataracts, cherry eye, corneal ulcers, and tear duct issues.

Regular eye examinations by a veterinarian are crucial to monitor the health of your Maltese’s eyes and detect any potential problems early on. Signs of eye issues can include excessive tearing, redness, discharge, cloudiness in the eyes, squinting, frequent rubbing of the eyes, or changes in the appearance of the eye.

Preventive measures can help reduce the risk of eye problems in Maltese dogs. Keep their eyes clean and free from debris by gently wiping them with a damp cloth. Avoid exposing their eyes to irritants such as harsh chemicals or cigarette smoke. Additionally, protect your Maltese’s eyes from excessive sunlight and consider using doggy sunglasses or shading their outdoor area to prevent UV damage.

3. Allergies and Skin Issues

Maltese dogs are often prone to allergies and various types of skin issues. Their sensitive skin can react to environmental allergens such as dust mites, pollen, and certain chemicals. Food allergies and contact allergies are also common in this breed. Allergies can manifest as itching, redness, rashes, hot spots, hair loss, and even ear infections.

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If you suspect that your Maltese has allergies, it is important to seek veterinary advice. Your veterinarian may recommend allergy testing to identify specific triggers. Treatments for allergies in Maltese dogs can include antihistamines, hypoallergenic diets, medicated shampoos, and topical creams or ointments.

To minimize the risk of allergies and skin issues, provide your Maltese with a clean and allergen-free environment. Regularly groom and bathe them using mild, hypoallergenic shampoos and conditioners. Ensure that their bedding, toys, and living areas are clean and free from dust and irritants. A balanced diet and proper nutrition can also support their skin health and reduce the likelihood of allergic reactions.

4. Luxating Patellas

A common orthopedic issue in Maltese dogs is luxating patellas, also known as loose kneecaps. This condition occurs when the kneecap (patella) slips out of its normal position, causing discomfort and difficulty in walking or running. Luxating patellas can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, surgery may be required to correct the issue.

If you notice that your Maltese is limping, favoring one leg, or showing signs of pain or difficulty in movement, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. They can assess the severity of the condition and recommend appropriate treatment options. In some cases, managing the condition through weight management, exercise modification, and joint support supplements may be sufficient.

Preventing excessive jumping, providing a balanced diet to support bone and joint health, and maintaining an appropriate exercise routine can help reduce the risk of luxating patellas in Maltese dogs. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can aid in early detection and proactive management of this condition.

5. Emotional Sensitivity and Separation Anxiety

While Maltese dogs make wonderful companions, they are known for their emotional sensitivity and are prone to separation anxiety. These dogs thrive on companionship and may develop behavioral issues when left alone for extended periods. Separation anxiety in Maltese dogs can manifest as destructive behavior, excessive barking, soiling in the house, loss of appetite, and restlessness.

To address separation anxiety, it is important to gradually acclimate your Maltese to being alone. Start with short periods of separation, provide them with engaging toys or puzzles, and create a safe and comfortable space for them. Consider using calming aids such as pheromone diffusers or supplements recommended by your veterinarian. Furthermore, incorporating interactive play and mental stimulation into their daily routine can help divert their attention and reduce anxiety.

Socialization and positive reinforcement training can also play a significant role in managing emotional sensitivity in Maltese dogs. By exposing them to various environments, people, and other animals from an early age, you can help build their confidence and resilience. Seek professional help from a dog trainer or behaviorist if your Maltese displays severe anxiety or behavior issues.

6. Hypoglycemia and Low Blood Sugar

Maltese dogs are prone to hypoglycemia, a condition characterized by low blood sugar levels. Their small size, fast metabolism, and limited reserves of stored glucose make them more susceptible to blood sugar fluctuations. Hypoglycemia can cause weakness, tremors, seizures, and even loss of consciousness in severe cases.

To prevent hypoglycemic episodes, it is important to provide your Maltese with a balanced and frequent feeding schedule. Divide their daily meals into smaller portions and ensure they have access to fresh water at all times. Avoid long gaps between meals and consider supplementing their diet with high-quality, easily digestible foods. If you suspect your Maltese is experiencing a hypoglycemic episode, it is crucial to provide them with a small amount of honey or a glucose gel and seek immediate veterinary attention.

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor your Maltese’s blood sugar levels and overall health. Maintaining a stable and nutritious diet, promoting an active lifestyle, and following your veterinarian’s advice can help manage and minimize the risks associated with hypoglycemia in Maltese dogs.

7. Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is a common respiratory problem in small dog breeds, including Maltese dogs. This condition occurs when the rings of the trachea weaken or collapse, leading to breathing difficulties, coughing, and even respiratory distress. Factors such as genetics, obesity, second-hand smoke exposure, and certain environmental irritants can contribute to tracheal collapse.

If you notice that your Maltese frequently coughs, especially during exercise or excitement, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. They can conduct diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or tracheoscopy, to assess the severity of the condition and recommend appropriate treatment options. Management may involve weight control, the use of cough suppressants, bronchodilators, or, in severe cases, surgical intervention.

To minimize the risk of tracheal collapse, avoid exposing your Maltese to smoke or other respiratory irritants. Control their weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise to reduce strain on the trachea. Using a harness instead of a collar for walking can also help alleviate pressure on the neck and trachea.

Puppy Training: Set your Maltese Puppy up for Success

Welcoming a Maltese puppy into your home is an exciting and joyful experience. These adorable little dogs are known for their playful personalities, affectionate nature, and intelligence. However, like any other puppy, Maltese puppies require consistent training and guidance to become well-behaved and obedient companions.

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1. Start Early: Basic Commands and Socialization

Early training is crucial for a Maltese puppy to develop good manners and social skills. Begin by teaching basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats, praise, and playtime, to motivate and reward your puppy for their good behavior.

Alongside basic commands, focus on socializing your Maltese puppy from an early age. Introduce them to various experiences, people, animals, and environments to help them become well-adjusted and confident. Proper socialization can minimize the risk of behavior problems, fearfulness, or aggression as they grow older.

Enroll your Maltese puppy in puppy socialization classes or consult with a professional dog trainer to ensure you are providing the right training and exposure. Remember to keep training sessions short and enjoyable, as puppies have limited attention spans.

2. House Training and Crate Training

House training is an essential aspect of raising a well-behaved Maltese puppy. Establish a consistent routine for bathroom breaks and reward your puppy for eliminating in the appropriate spot. Use positive reinforcement and never punish or scold them for accidents, as this can lead to anxiety and regression.

Crate training can also aid in house training and provides your Maltese puppy with a safe and secure space of their own. Gradually introduce them to the crate by making it a positive and comfortable environment. Use treats, toys, and soft bedding to make the crate inviting and provide regular meal times and naps inside the crate. Avoid using the crate as a means of punishment.

Utilize a crate that is appropriately sized for your Maltese puppy, allowing them to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. Remember to gradually increase crate time to prevent separation anxiety and make sure your puppy gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation outside of the crate.

3. Leash Training and Recall

Teaching your Maltese puppy how to walk politely on a leash and come when called are essential skills for their safety and enjoyment of outdoor activities. Start leash training by allowing your puppy to get comfortable wearing a harness or collar. Use positive reinforcement to reward them for walking calmly by your side.

To teach recall, begin in a quiet and distraction-free environment. Call your puppy’s name and reward them with praise and treats when they come to you. Gradually increase the level of distractions and practice recall in different settings, reinforcing the training with positive experiences.

Keep training sessions short and enjoyable, and remember to exercise patience and consistency. Consult with a professional dog trainer if you encounter specific challenges or need guidance in leash training and recall.

4. Proper Socialization with Other Dogs

Socializing your Maltese puppy with other dogs is vital for their overall social development and well-being. Arrange playdates with well-mannered and vaccinated dogs to encourage positive interactions and appropriate play behavior.

Make sure the environment is safe and supervise the play session to ensure both dogs are comfortable and respectful of each other’s boundaries. Gradually expose your Maltese puppy to different dog sizes, breeds, and temperaments to broaden their social skills.

Remember to always prioritize your Maltese puppy’s safety and well-being during socialization. Be attentive to their body language and intervene if necessary to prevent any negative encounters or overly rough play.

5. Patience, Consistency, and Positive Reinforcement

Training a Maltese puppy requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. These intelligent dogs respond well to rewards, praise, and gentle correction, so focusing on positive training methods is essential.

Set clear boundaries and establish consistent rules within your household. Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and playtime, while redirecting or ignoring unwanted behavior. Avoid using punishment or harsh training methods, as they can lead to fear and anxiety in your puppy.

Remember that every puppy learns at their own pace, and it is important to be patient and understanding. Celebrate small victories and be consistent in your training efforts. Seek professional help if you encounter challenges or need additional guidance.

Tips for Managing and Preventing Common Problems with Maltese Dogs

While it is impossible to guarantee a problem-free life for your Maltese dog, there are certain measures you can take to manage and prevent common issues. Here are some additional tips to keep your Maltese healthy and happy:

1. Regular Veterinary Check-ups

  • Schedule regular check-ups with a veterinarian to monitor your Maltese’s overall health and address any potential issues promptly.
  • Discuss preventative measures such as vaccinations, flea and tick control, heartworm prevention, and regular parasite screenings.
  • Stay up to date with recommended vaccines and keep a record of your Maltese’s medical history.

2. Balanced Diet and Nutrition

  • Provide your Maltese with a high-quality, balanced diet that suits their specific needs.
  • Avoid overfeeding and feeding table scraps, as Maltese dogs are prone to obesity.
  • Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate portion size and feeding schedule for your Maltese.

3. Exercise and Mental Stimulation

  • Ensure your Maltese gets regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally healthy.
  • Engage in activities such as daily walks, playtime, and interactive toys.
  • Consider incorporating puzzle toys, obedience training, or agility exercises to challenge their intelligence and prevent boredom.
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4. Grooming and Coat Care

  • Regularly groom your Maltese to maintain their beautiful coat and prevent matting.
  • Brush their fur daily to remove tangles, dirt, and debris.
  • Keep their eyes, ears, and paws clean to prevent infections.
  • Consider professional grooming sessions to ensure their coat is in optimal condition.

5. Create a Safe Environment

  • Ensure your home and yard are free from potential hazards, such as toxic plants, chemicals, or small objects that can be swallowed.
  • Secure fences and gates to prevent your Maltese from escaping or encountering dangerous situations.
  • Provide a comfortable and quiet space for your Maltese to rest and feel secure.

6. Gentle Handling and Training

  • Handle your Maltese with care and gentleness to build trust and prevent injuries.
  • Avoid rough play or excessive pulling on their fur or limbs.
  • Use positive reinforcement techniques in training to create a strong bond and encourage desirable behaviors.


As loving pet owners, it is our responsibility to be aware of the common problems faced by Maltese dogs and take proactive measures to prevent and manage these issues. By staying vigilant, providing regular veterinary care, implementing effective training techniques, and creating a safe and nurturing environment, we can ensure the well-being and happiness of our beloved Maltese companions. Remember, every dog is unique, and it is important to consult with professionals for expert advice tailored to your Maltese’s specific needs. With proper care and attention, your Maltese can lead a happy and healthy life.

Key Takeaways: Common Problems with Maltese Dogs

  • The Maltese breed is prone to dental issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Maltese dogs are often affected by eye problems, including tear staining, dry eye, and cataracts.
  • They can suffer from allergies, which may cause itching, skin rashes, and ear infections.
  • Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is a common issue in Maltese puppies and requires proper care.
  • Maltese dogs are prone to luxating patella, a condition where the kneecap slips out of place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our FAQ section about common problems with Maltese dogs! If you’re a Maltese dog owner or considering becoming one, it’s important to understand the potential issues associated with this breed. Below, we address some of the most common problems that Maltese dogs may experience. Let’s dive in!

1. How can I prevent tear stains in my Maltese dog?

Tear stains are a common concern for Maltese dog owners due to their beautiful white coats. To prevent tear stains, it’s crucial to keep your dog’s face area clean and dry. Regularly wipe their eyes and surrounding fur with a damp cloth or mild cleansing solution. Additionally, you can trim the fur around their eyes to minimize moist areas where bacteria can thrive. Lastly, a healthy diet can help reduce tear stains, so consider feeding your Maltese dog high-quality food without artificial additives.

Remember, each dog is unique, and some may be more prone to tear stains than others. If you’ve tried these preventative measures and the tear stains persist, it may be best to consult with your veterinarian for further guidance.

2. How do I manage dental issues in my Maltese dog?

Maltese dogs can be prone to dental problems, such as tooth decay and gum disease. To manage dental issues, it’s crucial to establish a regular dental care routine. Brush your Maltese’s teeth at least two to three times a week using a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for dogs. Dental chews or toys can also aid in keeping their teeth clean. Additionally, schedule regular professional dental cleanings with your veterinarian to address any underlying dental problems.

It’s important to monitor your Maltese dog’s dental health and seek veterinary care if you notice signs of dental issues, such as bad breath, swollen gums, or difficulty eating. Early intervention can help prevent further complications and keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.

3. Are Maltese dogs prone to allergies?

Yes, Maltese dogs are known to be prone to allergies. They may develop allergies to environmental factors like pollen, dust mites, or certain cleaning products. Food allergies are also common in Maltese dogs. If you notice your Maltese dog excessively itching, having skin irritations, or experiencing gastrointestinal issues, they may be experiencing an allergic reaction.

If you suspect your Maltese dog has allergies, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your veterinarian may recommend an elimination diet, allergy testing, or medication to manage your dog’s allergies and improve their quality of life.

4. How can I prevent behavioral problems in my Maltese dog?

Preventing behavioral problems in your Maltese dog starts with early socialization and consistent training. Expose your Maltese to various people, environments, and situations from a young age to help them develop confidence and adaptability. Positive reinforcement training methods, such as rewards and praise, work best with Maltese dogs.

Regular exercise is also important to prevent behavioral issues. Maltese dogs are energetic, and if they don’t receive sufficient physical and mental stimulation, they may develop destructive behaviors out of boredom. Engage your Maltese in daily exercise, playtime, and interactive toys to keep them mentally and physically active.

5. How can I help my Maltese dog with separation anxiety?

Maltese dogs are known for their strong bond with their owners and may develop separation anxiety when left alone. To help alleviate separation anxiety, establish a consistent routine for your Maltese, including regular feeding, walking, and playtime. Gradually accustom your dog to being alone by leaving them alone for short periods and gradually increasing the duration.

Providing your Maltese with safe and comforting spaces, such as a crate or a designated area with their bed and toys, can help them feel secure when you’re not around. Additionally, consider using puzzle toys or leaving a piece of clothing with your scent to provide comfort. In severe cases, professional help from a dog behaviorist or trainer experienced in separation anxiety can be beneficial in helping your Maltese overcome this issue.

what are common problems with maltese dogs? 2

Source: psyeta.org

7 Common Behavioral Problems in Maltese Dog and How to Deal with them


Maltese dogs, like any other breed, can face certain common problems.

These may include dental issues, genetic health conditions, and sensitivity to extreme temperatures. Taking proper care and regular check-ups with a veterinarian can help ensure their well-being. Remember, every dog is unique and deserves love and attention to thrive happily.

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