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Feeding

Proper Feeding for a Maltipoo 

Overview

There are many issues regarding  proper feeding of a Maltipoo puppy or dog. 

You want to make sure that your Maltipoo is:
  • Eating the correct amount of food
  • Eating the best food possible
  • Eating at the right times
  • Is being helped with any eating issues
Proper feeding is vitally important for a dog's health both now and in the future, so let's look at the details of this.
Already know the guidelines and want to get right to recommended foods? Jump to The Best Foods for Maltipoo Puppies and Dogs

How Often to Feed a Maltipoo

2-3 Months Old - During the first month in a new home, it recommended to free-feed a puppy. This means that fresh food should be available to the puppy at all times.
Be sure that you routinely empty the bowl and place fresh food, as opposed to just topping it off. 

Also, puppies this young often need to be reminded of where their food bowl is, so lead your Maltipoo there throughout the day. 
3 Months to 1 Year - During this time, your Maltipoo should be on a schedule of eating 3 meals per day. You can also give healthy dog treats in between meals. 

Since this is the optimal time to do command training and the age that most Maltipoos are being house trained, most treats should be reserved as rewards.
Maltipoo eating food
Lily, 14 weeks old
Photo courtesy of Ruth Baker, Norwich, CT
1 Year and On - Due to being a toy-sized breed, most adult Maltipoo dogs need to have at least 2 meals per day (and some do best with 3), as opposed to just 1 meal that his larger counterparts would be okay with. Treats at this time should be reserved to reinforce good behavior. 

Timing of Meals

If you will not be home for the mid-day meal, you will find that placing kibble (optionally mixed with a bit of smooth peanut butter) into a properly sized treat-dispensing toy like PetSafe's Busy Buddy Barnacle Toy, Extra Small is a great way to offer lunch. 

This has an added benefit for Maltipoos that are home alone; working food out of a treat-release toy is a great method to keep a dog busy. 

In regard to the timing of the first meal of the day, many (but not all) dogs will have a bowel movement about 20 minutes after eating. So, if your Maltipoo does not poo when he first wakes up, try to offer breakfast at an early enough time that you will be able to take him outside about 20 minutes later, before you leave the house. 

How Much to Feed a Maltipoo

This is always a tricky question, because the answer is, 'it depends'. This said, there are some guidelines that can help offer a more definitive answer. 

First, there are some things to remember:

1) The amount of food that a Maltipoo needs to eat each day depends quite a bit on the calorie count of the food. And this is where there can be so much variation. Often, low-quality foods will have bulk without nutrients. This is due to fillers (more ahead). So, a Maltipoo would need to eat a larger serving to take in more of what he needs.

2) Serving size will vary depending on if a food is wet or dry (more ahead on this too). 

3) The exact amount of food that any particular dog needs will vary depending activity level, health status, size, age, and individual metabolism.

4) Puppies need more calories per pound of body weight (about 50 to 55) than adults (40 to 45). Also, puppy food is higher in fat, and often calories, per serving, so portion size cannot be compared to food for adult dogs. 

Keeping this all in mind, general guidelines are as follows:

2 to 4 lbs. 1/3 to 1/2 cups per day.

5 to 8 lbs. 1/2 to 3/4 cups per day. 

8 to 10 lb. adult = 1/2 to 3/4 cups per day. 

10 to 12 lb. adult = 3/4 to 1 cup per day.

13 to 16 lb. adult = 1 to 1 and 1/4 cups per day.

If you are feeding your Maltipoo a manufactured food, do not overlook the recommended portion section of the labeling; these are usually pretty accurate. 
Maltipoo with food dishes
Teddy, 11 months old
Photo courtesy of Alauna

Wet Vs Dry

There are pros and cons to each option.

Dry food is better in regard to keeping a dog's teeth strong and healthy. While kibble certainly is not sufficient enough on its own to keep a Maltipoo's teeth clean, it does play a role.

Wet food may be better received; it is simply more appealing to some dogs. 

A diet consisting mainly of wet food, however, can cause loose or runny bowels. 

In looking at all sides of this, and in regard to manufactured dog food, dry is the better option. If your Maltipoo resists dry kibble, it can help to add a bit of water, drizzle a bit of low-sodium chicken or beef broth on it, or mix in a small amount of wet food.

If you choose the option to mix a bit of wet into the dry kibble, it is best to opt for the same brand (and hopefully you are choosing a great one - more ahead). 
Many puppies and dogs are also more receptive to food if it is warmed up. This can be done in the microwave; just be sure to touch it first to ensure that it is simply warm and not hot. 

Low Quality Dog Food

For your Maltipoo to be healthy today and for years moving forward, careful thought should go into which brand you choose for his main meals.

Inferior brands can lead to quite terrible consequences. And, many owners are inadvertently feeding their puppies and dogs a less-than-ideal food due to some of the most well-known dog food brands actually being far below expectations. 

What you want to avoid:

It is quite shocking what some dog foods have in them and what these ingredients can do to a Maltipoo:

1. Artificial additives. This includes flavoring, chemical preservatives, and coloring. These often cause a range of issues all centered around allergic reaction.

Ingesting these can cause skin problems (dry, itchy and/or irritated skin), poor coat health (brittle, dry and/or poor textured coat and/or hair growth issues), nose discoloration, and/or digestive upset (general upset stomach which can lead to decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, and/or abnormal stools). 

2. Fillers. Many of the brands that fill supermarket shelves are guilty of adding these in. Fillers are cheap ingredients made to bulk up food, but they contain no nutrients at all. They fill a dog up, and then pass right out of the body. 

Some top culprits are weeds, grasses, hulls, husks, (peanut, corn, oat, and more), seeds, and pulp. Be on the lookout for high cereal grains as well. 

3. By-products. Does chicken by-product sound bad to you? For many, the answer is 'no'. However, by-product refers to ANY part of an animal that is not deemed fit for human consumption. This means that there will be beaks, brains, lungs, spleens, claws, toes, intestines, undeveloped eggs, you name it. 

4. Generic meat sources. While there are many scary things in some dog foods, this may be one of the worst. Legally, anything labeled simply as 'meat' (the exact source is not identified) can contain the meat of cats and dogs that were euthanized at shelters, road kill, and diseased and dying animals. 

5. Food sourced outside of North America. Close to 1000 pets have died due to contaminated food from overseas. And this number is still climbing; this issue did not go away when the first cases of dogs dying from this were reported. 

Be very careful when reading labels, because some brands source their meat from China, but if they mix the food in the US, they will label it as 'Made in the US'. 

Elements of High-Quality Dog Food

It may seem overwhelming to sort through all of the different dog foods that are out there; which one is best?

If you want to avoid all of the issues associated with low-quality food, here is what to look for: 

No chemical additives. This is a big one. If your Maltipoo has any skin, coat, and/or tummy woes associated with inferior food, those issues will clear right up if you switch over to one of the better foods. 

Really great dog foods will preserve the kibble using a blend of vitamins. And the food will favored by its real food ingredients and not fake, chemical additives. 
No fillers. Another important quality of the best foods is that the ONLY ingredients are wholesome foods that will be absorbed to fuel the body.
maltipoo-1-year-old
Bear, at 1 year old,
photo courtesy of Susanne Mathers
Real meat. Look for protein sources like fish caught off the Pacific coast, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey and other fresh, human-grade meats. 

Properly sized. This is a vital but often overlooked element. With toy-sized breeds like the Maltipoo, you'll want the kibble to be appropriately sized. If a dog needs to struggle to eat, this is going to affect how hearty of an eater his is.

Easy-to-digest food. Smalls dogs are much more prone to issues manifesting from foods that are hard on the stomach. You want your Maltipoo to be able to eat and feel good afterward, not sluggish or uncomfortable with gas or digestive issues. 

Made in the USA or North America. The best brands will be both sourced and made in the US and/or Canada. Anything else is terribly risky. 
Ingredients that boost health. What can really make a food great are some added ingredients to lend to better health; both now and as a dog grows older. 

Glucosamine is a big one; this is fantastic to keep joints and cartilage healthy and is very appropriate for toy-sized dogs.

Another is omega 3's; these are terrific for skin and coat health; and when you have a breed like the Maltipoo that has hair (and not fur), this is a huge plus.  

Antioxidants (often found via blueberries in top brands) are excellent for a strong immune system and helping to prevent certain diseases. 

The Best Foods for Maltipoo Puppies and Dogs

Now that we've covered which types of ingredients are terribly detrimental and what to look for in a really great food, how do you know which ones have which? 

Here, we have our top recommendations; these brands meet every single requirement for a superior food. With one of these, you can feel entirely confident that every bite your Maltipoo takes will be beneficial to his or her health. 
Whole Earth Farms Grain Free for Small Breeds - This is surprisingly easy on the budget and is a good choice. 

Ratios in Whole Earth Farms Grain-Free for Small Breeds Chicken & Turkey Recipe are 26% protein, 31% fat, 43% carbs, and 3.9% fiber. Top ingredients include chicken (meal, which means excess water is removed), turkey, peas, potato, sweet potato, and blueberries. 

There is no corn, soy, or wheat. There are no by-products and zero artificial flavors or coloring. There are no chemical preservatives, as only blended vitamins are used to keep the food fresh. 

There are added extras like salmon oil and biotin (both great for skin and coat). This is made in the USA, and the kibble bits are sized perfectly for small dogs like the Maltipoo. 

If your Maltipoo likes a mixture of wet and dry, you can add on one of Whole Earth Farms stews, which are great as well. 
Wellness Complete Grain Free for Small Breeds - This is a truly great food that you can feel good about giving to your Maltipoo. Ratios in Wellness Complete Grain-Free Dry for Small Breeds Turkey, Chicken & Salmon are 28% protein, 27% fat, 45% carbs, and 5.6% fiber. 

This food was designed with small dogs in mind. This is a purely all-natural, super wholesome dog food. There is zero artificial colors, flavoring, or preservatives. There is no corn, soy, or by-products.

Top ingredients include turkey, chicken, and salmon. There is also oatmeal which is great for easy digestion, menhaden fish, barley, sweet potatoes, blueberries, carrots, spinach, and apple. 

Added extras are glucosamine hydrochloride, flaxseed (source of omega 3), biotin and probiotics for immune health. The puppy formula contains important DHA, which is known to promote proper brain growth in growing puppies. 

This is made in the USA and is a small kibble perfect for small mouths. If your Maltipoo likes a bit of wet food mixed in, they also have a great line of stews including beef, chicken, duck, lamb, salmon, and turkey. 
Wellness CORE Grain Free for Small Breeds - This is our newest recommended food for Maltipoos and is a superior food for many reasons. Across the board, Wellness CORE Natural Dry Grain-Free for Small Breeds Turkey & Chicken meets every single element you want for your dog and goes above and beyond that. 

Ratios are 34% protein, 29% fat, 37% carbs, and 6.7% fiber. 

You'll find nothing here but wholesome foods. Top ingredients include turkey, chicken, peas, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, apples, blueberries, and kale. 

There are no grains, corn, soy, or wheat-gluten. There are zero artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. 

Extras include fish and flax omega, glucosamine and chondroitin, antioxidants, and probiotics. 

The puppy formula has all of these elements and the important DHA for brain and eye development. 

If your Maltipoo enjoys a bit of wet food mixed in, choices include their wet ,canned food such as the 95% beef & carrots, 95% chicken & broccoli, 95% salmon, whitefish & sweet potatoes, and 95% turkey & spinach. 

This is made in the USA, and is the ideal kibble size for Maltipoos. 
Below are our recommended foods for Maltipoos. If you do not see the images, try a refresh. And on mobile, you may need to turn your screen horizontally. 

Homemade Foods

There are some owners who prefer to prepare their dog's meals themselves and this can be a good choice if you take the time to select great ingredients and offer a balanced diet. One of the pros to this is often cost saving (particularly if you can buy in bulk) and you have full control over what your Maltipoo eats.

Please note, that commercial dog foods add needed vitamins and minerals to the mix; so, if you are home cooking, this needs to be added to meals, no matter which ingredients you are using. A canine vitamin and mineral powder is often a good option, as this is easy to sprinkle over the food and mix it in. 

Some of the ingredients can include: 
  • Organs - Liver, heart and brain
  • Fish - Salmon, pollock, cod (cod is really good for seniors)
  • Lean Cuts of Meat - boneless white breast chicken and turkey, lean hamburger, lamb and bison
  • Vegetables - Spinach, broccoli, peas, and carrots
  • Carbs via sweet potatoes, rice, and pasta
  • Fruits including blueberries, raspberries, banana, and mango
  • Some great add-on foods include eggs (scrambled is often best for the tummy), whole white yogurt, and cottage cheese

Water Tips

Many Maltipoo owners wonder just how much water their puppy or dog needs. On average, a dog of any age and size will drink 10 ounces per pound of body weight per day. This can increase to as much as double this volume due to activity and/or hot weather. 

Normally, if water remains in the bowl, it should be switched out for fresh water every few hours. 

Be aware of the toxins normally present in tap water. Everything from asbestos, to pesticides, to chromium-6 (a known carcinogen) can be found in tap water across the US. Just in regard to chromium-6, this has recently been found in the water of over 200 million Americans.

In addition, many water supplies add fluoride, which is toxic to canines. 

Since your Maltipoo will be drinking water and nothing else, prevent your puppy or dog from ingesting these terrible cancer-causing agents and other toxic materials by installing a filter on your kitchen tap, using a filtered water pitcher like the Aquagear Water Filter Pitcher which filters chromium-6, fluoride, and a host of other contaminants, or offer only bottled spring water. 

A Word About Food and Water Bowls

Steer clear of plastic bowls. Even those that are BPA free are not a good choice. 

Plastic bowls can cause a contact allergy reaction that leads to a dog's nose becoming discolored.  This often happens over the course of months and years, so owners may assume that their dog's nose is naturally fading; but, there is nothing natural about this. 

In addition, plastic bowls tend to scratch easily, which creates small crevices where bacteria can breed, and these bowls are rather lightweight which causes them to slide. 

The best choice are appropriately sized stainless-steel bowls, and a set of two that are held together in a sturdy base like the Internet's Best Bone Dog Bowl Set | Double Stainless Steel can be a great option if you want both dishes to stay together or if your Maltipoo is messy when he eats. 

Toxic Foods

An owner must be aware of the foods that are poisonous to dogs. Some of the foods on this list may surprise you:
  • Chocolate: The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.
  • Grapes and raisins: This healthy fruit for humans can be very dangerous to your Maltipoo, causing serious kidney damage in even small amounts.
  • Onions: These can destroy a dog's red blood cells. This is one reason why giving tablescraps is not a good idea; onions are found in many foods. 
  • Coffee, tea and soda: It is the caffeine in these drinks that can produce seizures, coma, and eventual death
  • Salt: While some sodium is needed, a large quantity of salt will cause kidney issues.
  • Macadamia nuts: This expensive nut can do great harm to a dog. The results of ingesting this can be muscle tremors and paralysis.
  • Fruit pits and seeds: While it is alright to offer pieces of fruit, it is potentially fatal for a small dog to ingest any seeds or pits. This will cause a range of medical issues including breathing difficulty and a condition in which fluids fill up in the dog's abdomen and heart.
Related:

Can I free-fed my 6 month Maltipoo that is not gaining weight? In our Q&A blog, we answer this question, along with a query regarding kangaroo meat.
My Maltipoo is refusing to eat - The 6 top reasons why a Maltipoo will seem to eat less, and steps to resolve this. 
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