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Snacks and Treats

Maltipoo Snacks, Treats and Chews

Overview

How much thought do you give to your Maltipoo's treats, snacks, and rewards? The answer should be 'a lot'. The way in which you give these out, and importantly the type that you offer, will have direct affects on both your Maltipoo's behavior and health. 

This section will dive into frequently asked questions, including how many treats to offer each day, tips for giving them out, and some of the best choices for all 3 types. 

The Difference Between Snacks, Treats, and Chews

While these words are often used interchangeably, there is a difference.

Snacks refers to a small portion of food, often dry and crunchy (but can be moist) that serves to satiate a dog's appetite in between meals, while offering a small burst of nutrition and energy. 

Treats refer to training treats; these are very small, typically moist little tidbits. Their purpose to is offer a fast, delicious, yet non-filling tasty bite to reward a dog. 

Chews (in regard to a foodstuff), refers to a hard or chewy edible that has the purpose of allowing a dog to work his jaws and/or work the teeth. These are not meant to be swallowed quickly; they designed to last a relativity long time, and often a dog sits or lies down to enjoy it. 

Why These Are Important

cinnamon colored Maltipoo dog
Mason, at 6 months old,
photo courtesy of Camille
These serve a couple of important purposes. Let's go over what these are:

1- Snacks are to tide a puppy or dog over in between meals. This goes further than just satisfying a dog's appetite, though this is a good reason. Two issues can happen when a Maltipoo has an empty stomach:
  • Vomiting up bile - This will be a yellowish liquid, often seen with white foam. If the stomach is completely empty with nothing to cushion it, stomach bile churning around inside can be thrown up. If this happens, it is a sign that snacks need to be given more often, in addition to 3 meals per day. 
  • Hypoglycemia - This refers to a rapid drop in blood sugar levels. Young puppies of all breeds, and all ages of toy sized dogs like the Maltipoo are susceptible to this. One of the causes is not eating frequently enough. Signs include confusion, dizziness, and shaking, and severe cases can be fatal without veterinary intervention. 
2- Treats are to reward good behavior. This applies to Maltipoo of all ages. Puppies need to receive rewards to bring home the message that they are doing a good job with housebreaking, not barking, etc. And for Maltipoo dogs that are already trained, giving out treats shows that you appreciate good behavior; this is a sure-fire method to remind of a dog of his lessons and give him reason to continue following the rules.  
3- Chews play a role in good dental hygiene.  Many dog goodies that are classified as chews should be considered off-limits to Maltipoos; this includes pig ears and raw hides. These are either very hard to digest or not digestible at all, which can lead to internal blockage, and can be choking hazards. To help a Maltipoo work his jaw and to satisfy his urge to chew, chew toys are recommended instead.

However, one type of chew, a dental chew, serves the very vital function of helping to remove plaque and tartar from teeth. Toys breeds are notoriously prone to dental issues, so while brushing your Maltipoo's teeth is important, also offering a daily dental chew can be an effective method to help prevent gum disease and tooth decay. 

How Often to Give Snacks, Treats, and Chews to a Maltipoo

Maltipoos typically receive 3 snacks per day (between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, and after dinner). 

And treats given as reward should be given anywhere from 3 to 6 times per day, keeping in mind that training treats are much smaller than snacks and will rarely cause a dog to feel full. 
Maltipoo at training school
Zoey, at 10 months old,
photo courtesy of Suzanne Chai 
A dental chew should be given once per day. Since these are hard, and there is always a chance that a piece can break off, you'll want to offer this while you are there to supervise. 

It is best to choose one time, such as after dinner. so that you don't forget. 

Methods to Give These

SnacksTo make sure that your Maltipoo eats while you are not at home, you can place treats (or his kibble for lunch) in a treat-release toy or dispenser. 

These are designed to slowly release food, and often in response to a puppy or dog interacting with it in a certain way. An added bonus of these types of treat holders, is that they are essentially a puzzle that can keep a dog very focused and busy; this is always a plus that can help keep separation anxiety at bay.
A good one that is sized small enough for little Maltipoos is the Busy Buddy Barnacle Dog Toy, which is designed specifically for puppies and dogs under 10 pounds. There is both extra-small, and small sizes. This is has 3 tiny bobbles that each hold tidbits, and even a tiny pup can mouth these. 
And another wonderful one is the Busy Buddy Twist 'n Treat Toy; which is also ideal for small dogs. This one is adjustable so that you can control the difficultly level from easy to hard. This comes in 3 sizes; small is for dogs 8 to 20 lbs. 
To give out a snack when you are home, it is recommended to do so only after your Maltipoo obeys a 'Sit' command. Meals should be placed down in this way as well. This is because if a puppy or dog must obey a command to receive any food, it reinforces proper hierarchy. In the eyes of a canine, whomever supplies the food is the clear leader. 

When done consistently, this can greatly improve a dog's behavior, and it makes all types of training much easier. 
Curly Maltipoo
Jersey, at 1 and 1/2 years old,
photo courtesy of Phil
Treats - In the sense that treats should be given as reward for good behavior, these should be given out in the following way:

1. Always have some reward treats at the ready, in a small zipped plastic bag. If you are housebreaking your Maltipoo, have these near the exit door so you can quickly grab them as you head out.  At all other times, have these either within easy reach, or in your pocket. 

2. For the reward to make sense to a dog, it should be given within seconds of a preferred action. If you wait too long, your Maltipoo will not know what he is being rewarded for. 

3. When giving reward, do this in conjunction with praise. The praise should include the action word(s). For example, "Good, bathroom' (give treat), good, dog!"
4. Times to give reward to puppies includes when house training, when teaching commands, when a pup sits still for visitors, when a pup stops barking, etc. 

Times to give reward to adult dogs is much the same; you want to reinforce good behavior. This should also be when the dog goes to the bathroom in the designated area, when behaving nicely, when heeling beside you, and when listening to you. 
Dental chews, at least the good ones, will be delicious, so never hesitate to give this out just as you would a snack. Don't think of this as some sort of medicine or anything that your Maltipoo would not want to have. 

The Best Snack Choices for a Maltipoo

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing snacks for your Maltipoo:

1. While these are meant to keep a dog's hunger in check in between meals, size is all relative. So, you'll want each cracker or biscuit to be properly sized for your Maltipoo to easily mouth and chew on. They should be made for toy or small breed dogs. 

2. For snacks, dry is best as opposed to moist. Dry snacks help with both keeping stomach bile down, and for helping to control blood sugar levels.  
Maltipoo hiding in the grass
Finn, at 8 and 1/2 weeks old,
photo courtesy of Karen Egan
3. It is vital that snacks are held to high standards. All of the terrible things that can be in dog food, can be in dog snacks. This includes ingredients known to cause allergy symptoms. There should be no chemical preservatives, artificial flavoring, artificial coloring, soy, corn, or by-products.

Maltipoos that are sensitive to grains or wheat should have grain-free snacks. You'll also want to steer clear of generic meats or oils. 
4. Snacks should be made in the USA, Canada, or North America. To avoid possible contamination, snacks should not be sourced or made overseas. 
Recommendations:

Keeping all of the above in mind, there are a few superior dry snacks that we recommend. This includes: 
1- A great line of delicious, dry biscuits with all natural ingredients and no artificial preservatives is Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Natural Mini Dog Treats. These have no corn, soy, or by-products. Flavors include bacon & cheese, vegetable mix, peanut butter, chicken & apples, and liver. There are puppy crackers as well, and these some in various sized bags from 5 to 20 ounces.  
2 - If you are looking for a grain-free snack, you may want to try Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Grain-Free Dog Treats. There are several recipes including potato & duck, sweet potato & bison, sweet potato & chicken, sweet potato & fish, and sweet potato and venison. 

These are small, rounded cracker-type snacks that are preserved with a blend of vitamins (it will show as mixed tocopherols). Based in Burbank, California, the company tests all of their dog snacks with 9 safety checks. 

The Best Choices for Training Treats

Adorable Maltipoo
Cinnamon,
photo courtesy of Hooman
Good training treats for Maltipoos have a lot of qualifications to meet. They should be:
  • 100% all-natural
  • Free of cheap fillers that can trigger allergies like high levels of corn or soy
  • Be moist, and not dry out too quickly; look for those in zipped 'stay fresh' bags
  • The taste must be strong, sending an immediate message that a puppy or dog is being rewarded for a job well done. 
  • Be small enough to not fill up a puppy or dog to the extent that it interferes with normal appetite; so a powerful burst of flavor must fit into a small tidbit 
Let's look at some fantastic options: 
1 - WellBites Soft Natural Grain-Free Treats are a great choice. These are perfectly sized little squares that are soft and chewy. And there are great flavors for meat loving dogs: chicken & lamb, beef & turkey, chicken & venison, lamb & salmon, and turkey & duck. 

These are made in the USA, have no corn, soy, or wheat. And these are 100% all-natural with no synthetic preservatives or artificial coloring. 
2 - Another terrific option is Zuke's Mini Naturals Dog Treats. These are tiny cylindrical-shaped training treats that are moist and bursting with flavors dogs love: chicken, duck, peanut butter, port, rabbit, or salmon. These are 100% all-natural, with no corn, soy, or wheat, and are made in the USA. 
The recommended snacks and treats for Maltipoos can be seen below. On a mobile device, you may need to turn your screen horizontally to see all 4 items.

And next, we will cover the very important dental chews to help keep your Maltipoo's teeth healthy and strong. 

Best Dental Chews for a Maltipoo

boy holding a Maltipoo dog
Baby, at 2 and 1/2 years old,
photo courtesy of Virginia Key
As we mentioned earlier, it is vital to take excellent care of your Maltipoo's teeth. Dogs in general need good oral hygiene to keep decay away. But, toy breeds in particular, and especially the Poodle (and therefore the Maltipoo) are predisposed to tooth decay.  

Round the clock, non-stop, plaque is being produced. It is a clear, sticky substance that clings to teeth. And though you cannot see it at this stage, it is busy; it's eating away at the enamel. Within just 3 days, it can start to harden into tartar, which is hard to remove.

This can travel under the gum line, causing decay near the roots and leading to gingivitis. Infections can set in, and even travel up to the sinuses, and rot can cause lots of pain, and then eventual tooth loss. 

If all of this seems scary, it should be. It's always a shame when an innocent dogs has to suffer from quite painful dental issues, when much of it could have been avoided.

Each year when your Maltipoo has a wellness check, this should involve an inspection of the teeth. And, at home, you can brush your dog's teeth each day, and give an effective dental treat. 
What to look for:

1. Texture and consistency. The chew must be hard enough to work plaque off; if it is too soft, it won't do very much, not to mention that it won't last long enough to have a chance to work. These are not something that is meant to be gobbled down quickly. However, at the same time, if it is too hard, a Maltipoo will struggle to bite down on it, and may soon give up. 

2. Proper sizing. As with many things revolving around toy and small breed dogs, sizing matters. If a chew is designed for canines in general, or larger dogs, it may not be right for a Maltipoo. It should be appropriately sized for small breeds, so that it can be easily mouthed and be worked over and around the teeth.
black Maltipoo on bed
Snow, at 9 months old,
photo courtesy of Karolina S.
3. Great taste. For these to work, they must be fully chewed on, and not just half-halfheartedly licked and then discarded. So, flavor is a huge part of this. You'll want your Maltipoo to be happy about being given his daily dental chew, just as he would with any other yummy snack or treat. 
Recommendations: 
1. What is likely the most popular and highly rated dog dental chews in the world are Greenies. And though there are many different varieties of these, you may want to opt for Greenies Teenie Grain-Free Dental Treats. Note that these particular ones are for dogs 5 to 15 lbs., so larger Maltipoo that are over 15 lbs. would be given the 'Petite' size. These have earned the Veterinary Oral Health Council Seal of Approval, and are excellent in helping to keep teeth super clean.

Note that 'regular' Greenies contain wheat, but this formula does not. They also have freshmint ones for an extra boost for nice smelling breath, and a weight-management option. 
2. Another option is Tropiclean's Advanced Cleaning Dental Chews for Small Dogs . The size small is for dogs 8 to 25 lbs., and these contain no wheat, gluten, grain, or corn. These have a neat shape, which simulates a toothbrush, and this makes them very effective.  
Ingredients include potato, beets, molasses, chicken, flaxseed, parsley, green tea extract, blueberries, and rosemary.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Some fruits and veggies are safe for dogs to eat, are super healthy, and can have a place in a Maltipoo's overall diet.

In the summer, frozen pieces of fruit can make great snacks, and some are packed with water, which is always a good thing when the temperatures are soaring. 

Also, some fruit and veggies can be added into a Maltipoo's meals for added bonuses. 

Fruits that a Maltpoo can eat include apples (not the seeds or core), banana, blueberries, raspberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, oranges, peaches (not the core), watermelon, and mango. Though fruit contains fiber when causes natural sugars to break down rather slowly, it's best to give these in moderation. 

Vegetables that can be given as snacks or mixed into meals include peas, carrots, broccoli, green beans, potato, and spinach. 
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