Are Maltese Healthy Dogs? (7 Common Issues They Might Have)

When you decide to bring a dog to your home, there are many things to consider. Concerns such as how big of a dog you can get, whether they get along with children, or if they require a lot of exercise are valid and important questions to ask. But the most important question is whether the dog breed is healthy in general. Are Maltese healthy dogs?

Maltese is a generally healthy breed without any serious health issues. However, just like other dogs, they can suffer from certain health problems that need to be addressed. Maltese tend to have more teeth and gum issues than others, so it’s important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. If you notice something that could be health-related, you should take your Maltese to a vet to ensure that your pet will live a long, healthy life.

As a dog owner, you have to be aware of health conditions and problems that your future furry friend might have. This is especially important since certain breeds have health issues that are almost definitely going to affect them.

Fortunately, Maltese are not as overbred as other dog breeds, so they don’t have as many breed-specific diseases.

Do Maltese Dogs Have Serious Health Issues?

Even though Maltese is an overall healthy breed, they still suffer from certain conditions. For example, since it’s a small breed, it tends to have a higher risk of developing eye and dental problems. They also often have problems with tear stains.

In addition, these dogs are also particularly susceptible to knee problems and can even develop a condition called portosystemic shunt, which leads to the toxification of the bloodstream. As a result, this breed requires regular exercise to prevent this issue from occurring.

In the following, we will address several typical health issues that can occur with Maltese. However, this does not mean that these problems will occur in every dog.

Dental Problems

Maltese dogs are more likely to develop teeth problems than larger breeds. It often starts with tartar buildup on their teeth. If untreated, this can progress to infection of the gums and roots of the teeth, which can be extremely serious.

Without proper treatment, your Maltese may lose his teeth and risk damage to his organs. This is not only painful but difficult to treat, so it’s important to prevent it from happening.

This means that it’s important to brush your dog’s teeth and even get them professionally cleaned during a visit to the vet. Doing so will prevent any other serious health issues from developing from this. So it’s essential not to neglect that.

In fact, while it might seem like a small problem, neglecting dental health in all breeds can lead to a shorter life expectancy for your dog.


Gaining weight can be a significant problem in Maltese. This is because it can cause or worsen already existing joint problems, metabolic and digestive disorders, as well as back pain and heart disease.

While it’s very tempting to give your dog treats and feed them when they’re giving you that special look, it actually does more harm than good.

To prevent obesity, it’s important to have a set schedule of how often and how much you feed your Maltese. That way, you’ll be able to control the food intake of your Maltese without overfeeding.

On top of that, it’s crucial to ensure that your Maltese gets a good daily dose of exercise. Going for walks or playing with your Maltese in the garden are all great ways to ensure that your pet stays active and keeps any extra pounds off.

Reverse Sneezing

A reverse sneeze can occur when a Maltese is overstimulated or just waking up. It sounds similar to a snort or honks.

Reverse sneezing can also be caused by allergies. It is not dangerous and usually stops quickly, but it can be very uncomfortable for the dog.

You can soothe your Maltese after such a sneezing fit with a warm, loving caress.

Collapsed Trachea

This health problem is relatively dangerous and requires medical intervention. The exact cause of this problem usually cannot be found.

Tracheal collapse is a progressive respiratory disease that occurs when these tracheal cartilage rings collapse. As the trachea collapses, your dog may experience breathing problems.

The most common symptom of a collapsed trachea is a persistent and harsh dry cough.

White Dog Shaker Syndrome

White Dog Shaker Syndrome can cause tremors, shaking, and coordination problems when a dog is overstimulated. The name comes from the fact that white-colored dogs are most commonly affected.

Although it can be distressing for dog parents, it is not painful or dangerous for the dog.

Luxating Patella

We mentioned above that Maltese are prone to knee problems. They are not alone in this, many small dogs have this problem.

The cause is the luxating patella. This means that the bones that build the knee are not shaped properly. This can cause the kneecap to shift. Therefore, it is important that you train your dog not to jump too much.

In many cases, the kneecap slides back into place. However, in worse cases, surgery may be needed.

Progressive Retinal Atropy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy or RTA is an inherited degenerating eye condition. Untreated, it can lead to the loss of eyesight.

Spaying And Neutering

While some owners may choose to breed their dogs, one of the best things you can do for your Maltese is to have them spayed or neutered.

This procedure, which involves surgically removing testicles or ovaries, decreases the risk of developing certain types of cancer and other severe conditions. The best time to consider spaying or neutering is when your dog is still a puppy.

On top of that, while your pet is under anesthesia, the vet will be able to safely check for other health problems and even address them without your dog even noticing. This can be beneficial if your pet needs to have an X-ray or a tooth removed.

It will also prevent your pet from experiencing any pain in the process.

How To Prevent Health Issues In Maltese Dogs?

Preventing health problems in Maltese dogs is essential. First of all, it’s crucial to ensure that your dog gets a good amount of exercise every day to control his weight and prevent heart and joint problems.

This also contributes to your pet’s mental health. Maltese dogs are very energetic and enjoy playing around. And as an extra benefit, it’s a great way to bond with your furry friend.

Also, make sure to feed your dog the right kind of food without overfeeding them. There are various kinds of dog food available, and they’re targeted at different dog breeds and even health conditions.

Some food is better suited for spayed or neutered dogs. Other food is more suitable for smaller breeds like Maltese. It is important to do your research or ask your vet to make sure that you’re providing your dog with all the nutrients and minerals it needs.

How To Treat Health Issues In Maltese Dogs?

Treating health issues in Maltese dogs depends greatly on the type of health problems they have and their severity.

The first and most important step is to visit your vet. A professional will be able to determine what’s wrong with your Maltese.

Furthermore, it’s important to remember that the best treatment is prevention, so make sure to brush your dog’s teeth, bathe him, provide sufficient exercise, and schedule regular vet appointments.

Maltese dogs require exercise to stay healthy, so make sure to take your time to include that in your daily routine. this is the best way to ensure that your Maltese will stay healthy and live longer.

Final Thoughs

Maltese are generally quite healthy dogs. The most common problems with them are the teeth and the knees.

However, they are not alone in this, these weak points have most small dogs.

There are also some other health problems that can occur in Maltese. However, it is not that these are very common.

However, if you notice something that could be a health problem with your Maltese, you should see your vet. He will examine your Maltese and initiate the proper treatment if needed.