Living with a Maltese dog

What is living with a Maltese dog like?

When you think about cute dogs, the Maltese easily come to mind. Their jet black button eyes and noses, along with the roundish, oversized head surely make for an adorable-looking pet.  Maltese are also known for being some of the most faithful and friendly breeds.  These social creatures love being with people and often serve as therapy and service dogs given their affectionate nature.

living with a maltese dog

It’s pretty not unusual for any pet parent to be attached to their dog, which becomes an honorary child or sibling in the family.  You almost never want to outlive them and it’s good to know that Maltese dogs have a considerable lifespan as Beagles. and Shih Tzus. 

In this article, we will learn about the Maltese in terms of their lifespan, fatal health problems, and how you can help add more years to its fun-filled life.

Maltese lifespan

Prepare to live a long and happy life with your Maltese.  With the average life expectancy of 12 years for a dog, these lovable Maltese pets can live beyond that number. 

Having a long life is a common trait among small toy breeds like the Maltese, that give them an edge over larger canines such as Danes and Mastiffs.  You must note that health condition is another factor to the Maltese’s long lifespan.  The Maltese may have their fair share of health issues, but luckily, most of them are not life-threatening.

The average lifespan of a Maltese is 13.5 years.  It can be stretched from 15 to as long as 17 years with overall good health, and is common among females who usually live a year longer than their male counterpart. This length of time will provide you many shared memories that all the more strengthen the bond with your pet.

Fatal events that can shorten a Maltese’s life

While the Maltese usually live long enough before they reach the end of the line, there are several ways that can challenge this reality.  A study was conducted by researchers at the University of Georgia, which observed more than 70,000 dogs in the span of 20 years.  They have found that the Maltese may die earlier than expected given the following causes.

For Maltese pups

Losing your Maltese at an early stage can be just as heartbreaking as having been with them for a long time.  This could be brought about by an accident, which can happen to any dog breed as well.  It involves trauma from injuries acquired from falling down from a high place, being run over by a car, or somebody stepping over them unintentionally. 

Another cause is contracting an infectious disease that may be brought about by bacteria or parasite.   We know that our pups are given a number of shots against deadly illnesses.  However, a virus can still strike a Maltese, who is in the incubation stage of his vaccination against distemper, leptospirosis, and parvovirus.

And just like other dogs, Maltese pups may develop health problems that are genetic or hereditary.  Liver shunt is a common fatal illness during which their blood is bypassing the liver by coming around it.  A Maltese with this condition will commonly have digestion and neurological malfunctioning, which may cause its early death.

For Maltese adults

More than 20% of Maltese dogs die from cardiovascular diseases which have often resulted in heart failure.  This happens with a weakened valve that becomes deformed, which prevents it from closing tightly.   This is also referred to as mitral valve disease that often comes with a heart murmur for Maltese dogs.

Maltese adults may survive through puppyhood, but they can still succumb to death with congenital diseases such as hydrocephalus, colitis and liver shunt.  This is the next most common cause of Maltese fatality among adults. 

Cancer comes in at third place.  With early detection though, you can avert possible death by having the tumors removed surgically.  Some types can even be treated by chemotherapy.  However, the likelihood of your Maltese developing any type of deadly cancer decreases after his tenth birthday.

Getting more out of your Maltese

You may have noticed that the possibility of some of the fatalities that can befall your Maltese can be diminished with proper care.  Here are just some of the ways that can increase your chances of hitting the maximum life expectancy of your beloved pet.

  1. Keep a watch on your Maltese.  It will help if you avoid potential accident-causing scenarios at home by picking up loose objects lying around that he can possibly choke on.
  2. Practice good grooming with daily brushing of his coat and keeping his ears clean.
  3. Aside from hair brushing, you should brush his teeth thrice a week to avoid dental problems.
  4. Allot time for your Maltese to have his exercise by giving him play sessions and regular walks outside.
  5. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, which can cause sunburn to his white coat.
  6. Stimulate him mentally with a variety of tricks.
  7. Stick to dog food only, and with high quality that is age-appropriate. Feeding your Maltese with food for humans can be detrimental to his health.
  8. Be observant for any signs of a serious illness or emergencies in your dog.  Seek urgent care by a veterinarian whenever necessary.
  9. Buckle up your dog whenever he rides with you in a car by sliding it in his harness and not in his collar.
  10. Educate young children when they interact with such dogs by setting boundaries.
  11. Home residents should be mindful of their steps so as not to accidentally step on your pup.
  12. Place your Maltese on a leash when he’s outside your home
  13. Do not skip on dog vaccinations and get booster shots when necessary.  If your area has several wild animals nearby, it might make sense to get a vaccine for leptospirosis.
  14. Refrain from smoking near your pet.
  15. Spaying or neutering can help reduce the chances of certain cancers in Maltese dogs.

Your Maltese is surely one of the best toy breeds you can have.  Give him your love and attention, and you’ll likely enjoy each other’s company for many years to come.