How Long Do Maltese Dogs Live?

When you look at the different online spaces, you will pick out that most of them say that a Maltese dog can live between 12 and 15 years. Other outliers say it is something between 15 and 18 years. For a Maltese dog owner, these numbers are beautiful. However, the dog’s actual age is likely to be on the lower side of the given ranges. 

In 2010, a cross-sectional study was published from a survey that had been done in 2004. In the survey, the dogs’ owners reported any pup deaths that had occurred in their families in the past ten years. The information gathered was about the dog’s breed, age at death, and whatever caused the death. The data gained reports that the average lifespan of a Maltese was 12.25 years.

This article is going to give you specific details about the breed. You will get details on its appearance and temperament.  On top of that, you will get information on the factors that may affect the longevity of the dog’s life. You will also know the risk factors in and around the Maltese dog and how to make it live longer. Stick around to know every detail.

Breed Nuances: Highlights And Surface Details

Here is an overview of the characteristics of the breed, some positive and negative pointers.

The Positives

1. The dog is naturally sweet, and it loves pleasing.

2. It has playful and intelligent personalities that love partaking in anything and everything

3. It does not have any problems getting along with other animals

4. Unlike other small breeds, they only shed a little of their hair

The Negatives

1. You need to groom them frequently and consistently as this need is high in them

2. Some of them may engage in fussy eating

3. The dogs tend to develop knee issues

4. It may prove difficult to train them to stay in houses

5. They may develop separation anxiety, meaning that you can’t leave them alone for too long

Here is a tabulation that presents a summary of the ins and out of the Maltese dog:

ItemDetailRating (Over 5.0)
Exercise NeedsLow2.0
Easiness of TrainingAverage3.0
Shedding AmountMinimal to None1.0
Needs in terms of groomingMedium to Much3.5
Relations with ChildrenMedium to Low2.5
Breed HealthGood4.0
Maintenance CostAverage3.0
Response to AlonenessHigh – separation anxiety3.5

The Physicality Of The Maltese Dog

Like the Japanese Spitz, the Maltese Dog wears a pure white coat. However, some particular dogs have an orange or lemon tinge. The dog’s hair is luxuriously long, which explains why they need high maintenance in terms of grooming. The Maltese dog does not shed as much hair as other dog breeds because of the absent undercoat.

For most of their lives, these dogs wear puppy-like looks. This is one reason why they are famous with people and why people find them endearing. The Maltese dog has a rounded head on which a black nose and broad muzzle sit. Its eyes are in shapes of oval and are colored dark brown. To add to their sweetened appeal, they have black rims.

Its ears are feathered, and you will notice that they hang close to the dog’s head. So, the hair on the ears blends beautifully with the coat around the shoulder area. The dog may not have the most powerful jaws, but they are strong enough to deliver a scissoring, powerful bite. Their legs are straightly short, and their shoulders are well-sloped. This implies that the overall animals have a perfect, well-balanced outlook.

The Emotionality And Temperament Of The Maltese Dog

Many times, people use “terrier’ to describe the Maltese dog. However, they are not terriers, and neither do they share the same mentality with them. That said, you should think that the dog is fragile and delicate by just looking at their topknot and long-flowing coats. Actually, the Maltese dog harbors a lot of energy, and although tiny in size, it is robust and determined in character. This breed is of fearless dogs that are incredibly intelligent and love showing their feelings. Their smartness allows them to learn to please their loved ones.

Maltese dogs are affectionately lively, and they love getting human attention. This means that this is not the kind of dog to leave alone for the entire day; it can quickly develop separation anxiety.

Its activeness does not change as the dog grows older – it will continue to be in high spirits until it leaves the world. Because of their independent hearts, they are becoming popular family-pet choices.

Other behavioral issues that are likely to spark include barking, scratching at floors and doors, howling, and chewing on furniture. If you are a person who works from home and are looking for a pet companion, the Maltese dog is one you should go for without hesitating. If you are rarely at home, I suggest getting any other breed as your Maltese dog may become a little too unhappy being left alone.

In, Out, Around, And About The Maltese

Compared to many other dogs, it is noteworthy that the Maltese dog lives longer. The rule with dogs is that the large ones usually have a shorter lifespan than the smaller ones. The short ones are teasingly known as toy breeds, and they outlive their large cousins by a couple of years.

Although a Maltese lives longer, its lifespan depends on several factors such as life purpose, genetics, exposure to particular elements, exercise, and genetics.

One very crucial factor that affects the lifespan of the Maltese dog is illnesses. Each dog breed has health issues that are associated with it. For example, larger dogs are likely to develop orthopedic problems at some point in their lives. Fortunately, the problems that the Maltese dogs develop are not the chronic kind, and thus, they are easily manageable by medication.

The Variables That Affect The Maltese Dog’s Longevity

This subsection brings you the most significant factors that have a say in how long your Maltese dog will be with you. Read on.

1. Lifestyle

If the dog lives indoors, gets the right nutritional supply, and receives proper vet care, they are likely to live longer. So, owners should budget for the various expenses that come with owning the dog.

2. Gender (or is it sex?)

There is a truth among species in the world that have the male-female binary – the female will always outlive its male. For the Maltese dogs, a female would live for an extra year compared to its male counterpart.

3. Exposure To Elements And External Items

When you compare feral dogs to pet dogs, you will realize that the former face many hardships. It lives out in the cold, heat, sun, and snow. These elements are likely to reduce the quality of the dog’s life. If the Maltese dog spends time in a comfortable environment, they will live a longer life. When adverse weather conditions like the winter’s cold come, a good owner is likely to get warm clothes for their dog.

4. Exercise And Fitness

There is perhaps minimal argument when it comes to the correlation between fitness and longevity. When you move and exercise, your body becomes looser, healthier, and more mobile – and that is the same thing that comes with dogs. 

If you engage your Maltese dog in exercises frequently, it will be happier, and its life will be longer than if you spared all the sweating.

5. Genetic Makeup

The two significant movers of life are nature and nurture, that is, genetics and environment. The genetics of your Maltese will surely come into play. For example, a dog with good genetics is unlikely to develop cancers or diseases than one with not-so-good genes.

6. The Dog’s Purpose In The World

For life to be worthwhile, we need it to be meaningful. If the Maltese dog you own feels bored all the time and doesn’t feel appreciated, its life may be cut short by depression. To ensure that the dog lives a long life, ensure that it gets reasons to live. Love it each day and give it all the warmth you can. You can teach it special skills and engage them in your activities.

7. Nutritional Care

If a dog receives a healthy diet, it will get all the nutrition they need without becoming obese. As a Maltese dog owner, you need to choose the right water and food as these are essential things.

Wrapping Your Head Around Maltese Risk Factors

To help your furry canine friend live beside you for the longest time, you need to understand some potential outcomes. You need to know the things which are likely to cause death. The University of Georgia conducted a study and looked at over 74,000 dogs. This vast  number of dogs came up with the following leading causes of Maltese dog deaths:

1. Cardiovascular Illnesses 

One in every 5 Maltese dogs that die suffers from a heart condition. The two main factors that can lead to illnesses are poor fitness and genetics, as a disease of the mitral valve. So, you need to take the dog to the vet and ensure that no heart condition is present. Also, you need to engage the Maltese in exercise to kill any illness-development chances.

2. At-Birth Diseases

Congenital diseases are the second cause of Maltese dog deaths. Some of the illnesses – which are inherited and present at birth – include hydrocephalus, colitis, and liver shunts. While it may be hard to prevent congenital diseases, you can work on minimizing the risk by giving all-round care to the dog.

3. Cancerous Growths

The study found out that cancer comes number three in terms of Maltese dog deaths. Just like with family and friends, cancer takes a toll on our pets. The two things that make it hard to detect cancer are its randomness and indiscriminateness.

The potential contributors to cancerous growth in a dog include little exercise, exposure to the sun, genetics, and smoking around the Maltese. Looking at those factors, it is best to say that cancer prevention is a matter of living healthy lifestyles around the dog.

It may make you feel better that compared to most dog breeds, the Maltese have the lowest cancer rates.

4. Trauma

Most times, trauma comes from accidents. A dog may be hit by a car, dropped awkwardly, have something fall on them, or get stepped on. Also, a dog can pick up a traumatic episode by engaging in a fight. So, you need to always be careful around the dog. You may need to tell the people around the Maltese dog to watch their steps as they move.

5. Bacterial Or Viral Infections

A young Maltese puppy is likely to die because they are a little too immature for vaccination. Some infections that may come include distemper, leptospirosis, and parvovirus.

The effects of bacteria and viruses in the dog’s system may lead to a fatality if they are not treated adequately. The best solution is to keep your puppy in quarantine until it is old enough to get its vaccination. Practically speaking, this may imply letting the dog stay and exercise in the house.

How To Ensure That Your Maltese Dog Lives Its Longest

Since you know the factors that may tilt the balance when it comes to the dog’s life, you can take some steps. This final subsection opens you up to some excellent tips that will give your Maltese dog the best chances to live a long life and avoid early deaths. If you take up all the measures, your dog will live a full life – one of love, enjoyment, and utmost fun.

1. Give Your Dog All The Loving In The World

Although arguable, this is the most critical thing to do for your dog. Once you engage in overt signs of affection, the dog will feel connected. The dog will wake up every day and look forward to your warmth. This means that it will be filled with so much love. Happiness and stress-free, carefree life will make the quality of the dog’s life improve.

2. Engage Your Dog In Exercises

If your dog is already vaccinated, you can take it to the dog park for some engaging play. If it has not been immunized, try to use indoor spaces to avoid any exposure to viruses or bacteria.

To give excellent cardio workouts for the dog, you can take it up and downstairs. These exercise moments will be thrilling because the Maltese dog has tiny legs that move fast. On top of living the Maltese dog longer (if you know what I mean), the exercise will ensure that the canine remains mentally stimulated. 

3. Healthy Eating

Whenever discussions of longevity are being had, this tip comes up all the time. You can get healthy foods and snacks for your Maltese. Ensure that you choose a food that doesn’t have grain products. Get food whose nutrients are natural and that don’t have any additives. While you do that, you should be prepared to pay more because healthy foods are often a little too costly. If you can overlook the cost bit, you can get your Maltese the best food.

Avoid any sort of chemicals because those can trigger cancerous growths or other types of illnesses.

4. Moderate Feeding

If you feed your dog more food cups than is required, you will end up with an obese Maltese. This ‘fatty’ situation creates room for cardiovascular issues. As the dog eats, ensure that it also exercises.

5. Avoid Injuries And Traumas

Injuries and traumatic experiences are, for the most part, unforeseen. However, you can make a couple of moves to ensure that the dog’s chances of going through a traumatic experience are minimized.

If you’re walking with the dog, you can carry it in your hands. If you choose to do that, avoid juggling other items or doing something that will take so much of your attention. If you’re going for a drive with the cat, you can use a crate or strap the car during the journey.

If the dog is playing with your children, ensure that the session is monitored. The children may invade the private space of the dog without knowing. If you’re out in public, ensure that the dog is leashed so that it does not engage in brawls with other dogs. When the Maltese dog comes across a large dog, you may want to shield it.

You should engage in those and any other practices that do not put the dog in danger.

6. Get The Puppy Vaccinated

Vaccinations work the same way for dogs as they do for humans. If the pup is not vaccinated, keep them away from anything that may contaminate them, like dirty dog bowls and the floor. Viruses such as parvovirus can be taken up by the pup and claim its life.

An expert vet is likely to tell you to avoid public places until the Maltese dog pup has gotten vaccinated. On top of that, they may ask you to wait for at least a fortnight for the vaccinations to build up a proper resistance. 

While you are at the vet’s place, ensure that you ask about the required vaccinations and also the optional ones, especially those suggested for your area. If you are in an urban environment, the leptospirosis vaccination will not be given because the illness is not prevalent there. Also, you can ask if the vet provides booster-shot reminder services. Many vets may offer to call you or send a mail to remind you about the booster shot.

7. Ensure That The Dog Is Frequently Checked Up

Like people, dogs should also have regular checkups. For your Maltese dog, you can schedule a once-a-year visit. During the checkup, bring the vet to the attention of the common Maltese issues (but don’t micromanage; they know their job). The vet will check for heart murmurs and arthritis to see if there are any cardiovascular or orthopedic issues.

Weight is also an essential thing. After the vet weighs your Maltese dog, they will advise you on how to go about it for the next year.

8. Get The Dog Sheltered And Protected From Adverse Weather

Because of their small statures, it is easy to keep them inside. They don’t need to have a kennel or bed – they can sleep with you in bed or at a corner in your house. If you leave the dog outside, it may have a harrowing experience. As mentioned elsewhere in the read, free-range dogs – which spend their entire lives outdoors – are likely to have shorter lifespans.

Forget what I mentioned a few sentences ago about a kennel or bed. To show your love and concern, you can get your dog a kennel or a bed for protection against wind, snow, and cold. The fabrics should be soft and full to ensure that the floor’s coldness does not penetrate and get to the dog.

9. Always Provide Safe And Clean Drinking Water

If you didn’t know, dehydration could come down quickly on dogs. So, you need to make sure that water is always available and in the right amount. Be careful about the water you give the dog as it may be having toxins and chemicals. If you filter your tap water, ensure that your dog drinks the filtered one. The point is that whatever is good for the goose is good for the gander, you being the goose and the dog being the gander.

10. The Maltese Dog Should Be Groomed Routinely

You will always be on top of ticks, fleas, skin infections, and parasites if you bathe the dog regularly and give it good grooming. External parasites like ticks are deadly, and you need to take charge as soon as you can. If it is possible, brush your dog every morning. This will always give you a chance to check the Maltese’s skin for any external parasites.

11. Get The Dog Wormed

Internal parasites like worms can be a menace to the life of the dog. So, you need to ensure that the Maltese get dewormed regularly. This will help prevent any illnesses that come with parasitic worms. The main concern is usually the heartworm, and your vet will know the specific medicine to give the dog.

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