Caring For Your Pregnant Maltese (Everything You Need To Know)

pregnant maltese and puppies

Congratulations! You are going to be a grandparent to some really cute Maltese puppies soon. The thought of having a couple of these dogs running around the house is just too adorable.

Before we get to that, a lot of work and know-how needs to be done before the whelping stage of your pregnant Maltese dog. It is important that we know how to provide the proper care for our Female Maltese dog.

This guide will work well for dog owners who have yet to go through a Maltese pregnancy or would like to learn more about taking care of their pregnant Maltese.

Let’s get started.

What Is The Maltese Dog Breed All About?

maltese dog breed

Before we get deeper into the article, a little background info about the Maltese to do it justice.

The Maltese dog got its name from its country of origin, Malta. It is a toy dog given its size and can grow up to 7-9 pounds and stand about 9 inches high.

These little dogs are famous for their long, silky and dense coats that can reach the floor. It kinda makes it look like the dog is wearing a long and flowy robe.

Their big round eyes and little beady black noses never fail to capture the hardest of hearts. If you are also looking for a dog that is playful, charming, elegant and full of love, you can’t go wrong with a Maltese.

Oh yes, the Maltese doesn’t shed much, so it is also ideal for people with dog allergies.

When Should Your Maltese Get Pregnant?

maltese dog

If you are planning to breed your Maltese, you need to be aware of this.

A Maltese female dog can reach sexual maturity as young as six to eight months of age.

Some can even be ready to mate at four months of age. However, this does not mean that the female Maltese is ready to have her litter.

Many professional dog breeders agree that it is best to let the female dog go through a few heat cycles before breeding her.

Breeding a Maltese that is still so young can lead to pregnancy difficulties.

The Maltese is already such a little dog and trying to give birth when her pelvic area is not fully developed can be overwhelming to the female’s body.

It is best to at least wait until your dog is about two years old and has gone through a few heat cycles before mating her with a stud.

How Long Is A Maltese Pregnant For?

All dog breeds share the same gestation period which is about nine weeks. A teacup Chihuahua will have the same pregnancy duration as a St Bernard.

We are looking at approximately 58-72 days before the dog pregnancy is due. During this period, your dog will be going through a series of transformations.

How Can I Tell If My Maltese Is Pregnant?

Similar to humans, it isn’t always possible to know exactly when your Maltese is pregnant. It usually takes a few weeks for the dam to show physical signs of pregnancy.

Here are some changes that you will be able to notice during the gestation period. It can be broken up into three trimesters, each lasting about 21 days.

First Trimester

Even after your female Maltese has mated with a stud, there isn’t an exact way to tell if the mating was successful.

But once the sperm has fertilized the egg, changes will start to happen within her body.

The embryo in her uterus will start to grow and develop into a fetus. Her nipples will also start to enlarge to help feed her hungry puppies once they are born.

After a few weeks, the dam may also show signs of morning sickness like nausea, lethargy and being less interested in food.

Second Trimester

As the pregnancy progresses, the first and second trimesters can be rather similar with the most noticeable changes being the growing size of the dog’s stomach from the forming puppies and her nipples.

The nipples will look larger and darker due to the increase in blood flow to that area.

Now would also be a good time to check if your dog has any inverted or infected nipples that can affect the feeding of her pups.

Your Maltese might also start to have clear mucous discharge from her virgina which further confirms her pregnancy.

During this trimester, it will also be a good time for the vet to carry out palpations and ultrasounds on the dog’s tummy to check on the Maltese litter size and the health of the unborn puppies.

Third Trimester

This will be the final few weeks before your dog goes into labor physical changes are very apparent.

Your dog’s tummy is going to look really huge and swollen as the puppies reach their full size inside her.

Her nipples will also seem engorged and can even start to leak some milk.

Your pregnant dog could even start eliminating in the house due to the internal pressure that she is feeling from her unborn puppies.

About 10-14 days before she gives birth, you might even see her puppies begin to move inside her womb.

This will also be a good time to get the vet to do a final check on your dog to make sure everything is ok to ensure a smooth whelping process.

How Many Puppies Do Maltese Have?

many maltese puppies

The rule of thumb is that a smaller dog breed will usually have a smaller litter size as compared to larger dogs.

For most pregnant Malteses, you can expect a litter size of between 3-4 puppies. It isn’t uncommon for the bitch to just have one puppy or even six as well.

Most importantly, we want to ensure that both mother and pups are safe and healthy once the whelping process is over.

What Do You Feed A Pregnant Maltese?

Most mothers will take you that nutrition is a very important aspect of a pregnancy. Not only are you providing nutrition to your pregnant bitch but also to her unborn puppies.

If your dog is eating normally and is at a good weight, just continue to feed her normally.

There is no need to start overfeeding your dog during the first two trimesters as that can lead to obesity and complicate the birthing process.

It is more important that your dog does not lose weight during this period so it would be good to weigh your dog once a week to monitor her weight.

The best time to start feeding your pregnant Maltese more food is during the last trimester.

This is the period whereby the puppies really start to grow and the mother needs more nourishment to fuel that growth.

On average, most pregnant dogs eat about 30-60% more during this period so you can up your dog’s caloric intake slowly.

It would be better to feed her smaller meals more frequently as there’s not much space for her to digest a big meal with her puppies so much space in her tummy.

Some experience dog owners might even give their pregnant dogs, calcium supplements, folic acid and fatty acid supplementation to help with the healthy development of the fetus.

I would strongly urge you to check with your vet before giving your dog anything outside of its usual diet just to be on the safe side.

How To Help With Your Maltese Pregnancy?

So the big day has arrived and your Maltese is already on the verge of labor.

One good sign is to notice a drop in her body temperature. A dog’s normal body temperature ranges between 101-102.5 F.

A drop below this during the tail end of the third trimester is a good indication that she will give birth within the next 24-48 hours.

The first thing that you need to do is to set up an appropriate whelping box and area for your dog. This should be in a private and quiet area to let your dog focus on her labor.

Add many layers of towels in the whelping box as they will be a lot of bodily fluids and discharge.

Once the dog starts to push and the puppies start to emerge, there will be a sac attached to each puppy.

This is called the placenta which provides nourishment to the unborn pup.

Try to remove as many of these placenta sacs as possible as the mother dog will attempt to eat them.

It is fine if she just eats one but ingesting a few placentas can make her throw up which gives you a bigger mess to clear.

If the bitch doesn’t break away the puppy sac properly, you will need to do it quickly to prevent the puppy from suffocating.

Take a clean towel and wipe the puppy’s mouth and nose clean of any discharge and mucous.

Your Maltese will also be able to sever away the umbilical cord that attaches the puppy to the placenta sac.

If that doesn’t happen, use some clean dental floss and tie off the cord about an inch or two from the puppy’s belly.

You can then proceed to cut away the rest of the umbilical cord.

Most dogs will complete the birthing process in 12 hours. If you notice your bitch still straining to push but nothing comes out after an hour, get her to the vet right away for medical assistance.

The longer your dog remains in labor, the more complications can arise.

If your Maltese is a first-time mother, it might be a good idea to keep a close watch on her and her puppies for the first few weeks.

Some new dog mothers can treat their puppies roughly out of inexperience.

Have Your Maltese Checked Before Mating

maltee being checked before mating

Most couples will go for a health check before trying to conceive just to make sure that they are both in good health.

The same thing should be done for your Maltese before breeding her to ensure that she doesn’t have any genetically related diseases that can be passed on to her offspring.

Here are some health problems that Malteses are prone to.

Retinal Atrophy

A Maltese with this condition has an eye problem that will cause it to go blind within a year or two. It can happen to a dog at any age, even as young as puppies.

Malteses with retinal atrophy should not breed.

Heart Problems

Cardiac problems seem to be the leading cause of death for this dog breed. Most Malteses are fine at birth but the problem starts to develop as they get older.

The mitral valve weakness in the heart is the main culprit which causes the backflow of blood which means less oxygen-rich blood can be transported around the body.

Patella Luxation

This isn’t a health-threatening problem but it can cause a lot of discomfort and mobility issues for the dog.

The kneecap of the Maltese will be out of place and can be seen in dogs as young as four months of age.

How Many Times Can A Maltese Get Pregnant?

Being pregnant and giving birth puts a lot of stress on a female Maltese’s body. It is best to not breed the Female Maltese more than three times to ensure a smooth and safe pregnancy.

The problem with many backyard breeders is that they don’t care about the welfare of the breeding dogs and just use them as breeding factories.

Many of these dogs are in really bad shape and give birth to litters with many congenital defects.

If you are not a professional or experienced breeder, it would be best to spay your dog after the pregnancy to prevent further pregnancies.

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