Very young puppies should NEVER be fed only once each day! Their stomachs are simply too small to hold enough food at a single meal each day to sustain the proper level of metabolism for their full growth and proper development.
We feed our puppies what we call "wet food" two (2) times a day begging at two (2) months of age and sometimes earlier depending on the size and health of the individual puppy. The puppy should be fed "wet food" at least once, or in the case of extremely small puppies, twice (2 times) each day up until the puppy is about four to six months (4-6) of age - again depending on the size and overall hardiness of the particular individual.
Our "wet food" is actually a mixture of dry kibble and canned dog foods. We use Pro Plan Small Breed Puppy and then Pro Plan Small Breed Adult once the puppy is older (5- 6 months) and better able to chew this slightly larger kibble. The dogs seem to prefer the taste of Pro Plan Small Breed Adult over all of the dry kibble we have tried. We use Pedigree Chopped Beef Flavor canned food as the "wet" component of our mixture.
There are a wide variety of premium dog foods available on the market - both canned and dry foods - any of which provide a fully nutritious and balanced diet without the need for mineral supplements, vitamins, or specialized dietary products and additives. Consult your veterinarian for other alternatives.
We leave a bowl of dry Puppy Pro Plan or Pro Plan Small Breed Adult (depending, again, on the age of the individual) available to our dogs at all times of the day or night. There may be times during the "paper training" of your dog where this may not be advisable depending on the method of training you use. Dry kibble helps to keep the teeth and gums clean and in good condition and your pet should be encouraged to eat some dry food every day.
Our "wet food" formula is prepared by mixing approximately one-half (1/2) cup of dry kibble with one or two (1-2) tablespoons of canned food for each meal - this will vary a little depending, once again, on the age, appetite, and size of the individual animal. We mix the food in a ceramic or heavy-duty flat stainless steel dish and then add a couple of tablespoons of water, stir it up well and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes to soften. A flat dish allows the dog to eat without getting food in his whiskers and facial hair - encouraging the naturally clean nature of the Maltese.
FRESH water must ALWAYS be available to any dog - especially a young puppy. Empty and re-fill the water dish DAILY. We use filtered or distilled water. While we do use a water bottle on occasion - especially when at dog shows or traveling - we don’t think a water bottle alone provides a sufficient water supply to a dog.
You must regulate the amount of activity your puppy gets. Young puppies tire very easily and quickly - especially when allowed to romp freely about the house or when they are handled excessively. Should the puppy appear lethargic or dizzy or disoriented or convulsive IMMEDIATELY dap your finger into a jar of honey or corn syrup and smear a small amount directly onto the roof of the mouth or onto the gums, be careful not to choke the pup with too much of this; also, don’t overdose, too much "sugar" can shock the pup’s system, also. In addition, you may also want to keep a vitamin supplement such as Nutri-Cal or Nutri-Stat on hand which can be given in addition (later) to the honey or corn syrup once they seem to be recovering in response to the treatment of honey or corn syrup. Young puppies can develop a low-blood-sugar condition due to overexcitement, or overexertion, or injury very very quickly and, without immediate remedy, can become unconscious and even die in a matter of minutes!! Do not waste any time at all getting this corn syrup or honey into your dog's system at times like this. Act first and then call the vet and let him know what you have done. Do not hesitate to call us if you feel something is wrong - naturally your vet should be your source of advice but we are certainly available, day or night, to assist you.
Young puppies should not be bathed too frequently, once ever 7-10 days should be plenty unless the pup gets into something he shouldn't. Still, due to the beautiful long flowing coat that our breed has been blessed with you must check the rectum daily for "stuck stool". Often the problem can be remedied without washing - by combing or brushing the stool from the coat. Keeping the hair trimmed short around the rectum can help to avoid this problem.
Do NOT allow young children to hold or handle your new puppy without close supervision. Maltese pups are quite small and wriggly making them difficult to control at times. They can quickly leap from your arms and do considerable damage to themselves even in a fall of only a couple of feet - especially onto a hard surface. They should likewise not be left unattended on the top of a table, or on a sofa or a bed and they should not be encouraged to leap "onto" or "off of" the furniture. These are delicate, fine-boned dogs despite their boisterous nature and fearless personalities. As they mature they will learn what they can and cannot do - until then you must protect them from themselves.
Other health-related problems can be treated with medicines described below. A healthy pup's temperature is normally between 101 - 102 degrees. Should a pup exhibit signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhea, runny eyes or nose, excessive panting or whining, dizziness, lethargy, etc. first take the dog's temperature and if outside the normal range immediately consult your vet.
Cough: 1 cc Robitussin or other cough syrup
Diarrhea: 2 cc Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate
Gas Pains: 1 cc DeGel Liquid
Nasal Congestion: 1-2 cc Benedryl liquid
Note: 1cc = 1/5 teaspoon. We use a 3cc syringe (without the needle) to measure and dispense medications.
Have your vet check the teeth when the puppy is about six months old. Maltese pups often retain puppy teeth and they must be removed by a veterinarian.
Also, should you decide to vaccinate your dogs yourself, you may wish to give them an oral dose of Benedryl liquid (1-2 cc) about 3-5 minutes prior to giving the shot as this may help prevent an adverse reaction to the serum. Again, please consult your vet before giving ANY inoculations yourself.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions about your new pet. We encourage you to keep in touch and let us know how everything is going. After all, your new family member was a member of our family first and always. We would appreciate a picture of your pup as it begins to mature. We are proud of all of our "kids" and like to show them off. We have a scrapbook and a refrigerator full of pictures and want your pup to be in that number, as well. Even more importantly, feedback from you helps us to better arm future puppy owners with a closer approximation of their pup’s size, weight, overall appearance, and temperament. Your help is essential in providing us with enough data to make this possible.