for the "Tinyest" Aristocrat
Exhibitor breeders breed to the American Kennel Club (AKC) Maltese Standard, but, only God controls genetics, and as such we sometimes get Maltese puppies that are smaller (or larger) than the AKC standard. In these cases, these tiny, delicate babies require a little special care. Remember, these little guys mature at a much slower pace than an average sized Maltese.
For the first couple of days give the puppy Nutri-Cal or Nutri-Stat Paste twice a day to keep their sugar level up. You can just squeeze about ˝ inch of the paste directly into their mouth or offer it to them on your finger.
Young, toy breed puppies can develop a low blood sugar condition due to overexcitement, overexertion, or injury and can very, very quickly become unconscious and even die without immediate treatment! If the puppy misses a meal, offer a tasty bite of lean meat or baby food (chicken or beef), scrambled egg, cottage cheese or goat’s milk just for the purpose of getting a little food in the stomach. If the puppy does not eat, is stressed by too much excitement, handling, or new experiences, it may result in a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) attack. Prevention and treatment is simple.
The early signs of hypoglycemia: lethargy, sleepiness, a dazed look, then, as it progresses, a staggering or “drunken” gait, drooling, collapse and convulsions. If it is not treated, it continues into coma and ultimately death!
Treatment: Immediately dap your finger into a jar of honey, jam or corn syrup and smear a small amount directly into the puppy’s mouth. Be careful as you don’t want to give so much that can cause chocking and too much “sugar” can shock the puppy’s system. A high calorie supplement such as Nutra-Cal or Nutra-Stat can also be given in as a preventative or in the early stages of hypoglycemia. In addition, Gator-Aid given slowly into the side of the mouth with a syringe will also help. Once they seem to be recovering in response to the treatment of honey or corn syrup, you should also prepare a mixture of the following: 2 Tbs. Gerber Baby Rice Cereal, 2 tsp. Gerber Strained Chicken Meat, 1 tsp. corn syrup. Add water to make it the consistency of pudding. Fill a large syringe or a baby medicine dropper with mixture and give it to the puppy by squeezing the mixture either on the tongue or between the cheek and gum. Give the puppy a chance to swallow and then give them more. Give approximately 12 cc and repeat every 4 hours. This will need to be done until they feel better and start to eat on their own.
If the puppy has reached advanced stages of hypoglycemia and has gone into the staggering state, it ABSOLUTELY must be taken to the veterinarian, even after it has been given sugar and has recovered. The reason for this is that once a puppy has had a serious drop in blood sugar, it can occur again with even less stress and the veterinarian can help prevent this. Be very vigilant while the puppy is still young (up to 6 months of age, depending upon their size)!
Feeding is the MOST CRITICAL part of caring for a tiny Maltese. Due to their small size they do not have much reserve of calories or energy. Therefore, it is essential that your Maltese gets enough calories by eating only a premium, high quality, high calorie diet and by eating frequent meals. Also, the size of the kibble/food needs to be small enough so that it will fit into their small mouths.
Leave Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy dry kibble and Eukanuba Weaning Diet out all of the time (free-feed), 24/7, so that the dog has access to the kibble. Another very good food is Eukanuba Maximum Calorie dry kibble and canned (purchased only through veterinarians). Twice a day offer the puppy a mixture of 2 tablespoons of one of the premium dry kibbles mentioned above (i.e. Eukanuba Weaning Diet, Small Breed Puppy, or Maximum Calorie) 1 teaspoon of the Eukanuba Maximum Calorie and about 2 tablespoons of water until soft.
Another important step in care of the smaller sized Maltese is making sure they get enough rest just as you would with a newborn infant. You must regulate the amount of activity your puppy gets. Young, small breed puppies tire very easily and quickly, especially if they are allowed to romp freely about the house or are handled excessively. They need their rest just like an infant.
Do not let your puppy get chilled, especially after a bath. If they are cold, shivering will eat up calories and lower their immunity making them more susceptible to sickness.
You need to be sure your home and yard has been puppy-proofed. Conceal electrical cords, make sure outside areas are properly enclosed and that there are no poisonous plants at a level where a dog could reach them. Until the puppy has learned boundaries, do not let them jump off of furniture, staircases, etc. Only let a responsible adult hold or carry your puppy. They can be very wiggly at times and a fall could cause tremendous injury. It is best not to wear shoes in the house as you will be able to feel them around your feet, plus shoes can do more damage than a bare foot. Make sure you know where they are when you are walking through the house as they will more likely be very close to your feet. Do not let your tiny Maltese outside unattended EVER! Other animals can carry them off. Even cats can hurt them. Also, never allow your tiny Maltese to walk in crowded areas or around other dogs. They can be injured very easily.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Use your own common sense. If you ever have any questions, please call either myself or your veterinarian.