Maltese dogs are adorable and make great pets for those who can’t have a large dog because of their size. They don’t need a lot of intense physical exercise, but they do require plenty of mental stimulation to keep them healthy and happy.
If you’re looking for a small furry friend that’ll be content with just going on an occasional walk, then the Maltese is perfect for you!
Maltese dogs are known as “velvet pups” because they have coats that feel like velvet. These gentle companions were originally bred as companion animals in Europe during the Renaissance era by monks from Malta, hence their name.
So how much exercise does a Maltese need? Let’s take a look from adult dogs to puppies and older dogs. We’ll examine how much physical activity these playful lap dogs require and look at some activities for toy breeds that get rid of any pent up energy!
Why is Exercise Vital for Maltese Dogs?
As with all dog breeds, your Maltese needs regular exercise and mental stimulation to keep him happy and healthy throughout his life.
Regular activity will prevent your pup from becoming overweight and strengthen its joints and muscles; it will also keep its brain active, preventing destructive behaviours from developing.
Maltese owners know these little dogs can be very energetic despite their small size, but little legs can only go so far, so long walks aren’t generally necessary.
All dog breeds have a natural instinct to explore and interact with the outside world. A regular walk, a few times a day, helps to curb their energy levels at home and keep them feeling fulfilled.
The exact exercise needed will differ slightly with every individual dog, but you’ll quickly learn the needs of your particular Maltese as he grows.
How Much Exercise Does a Maltese Need
It’s true that small dogs don’t need as much exercise as their larger counterparts, but it’s still vital to make sure your Maltese dog is getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
As a general rule, adult Maltese dogs will benefit most from two short walks a day; one morning walk and one evening walk tends to be the best approach.
Alongside their daily walk, Maltese dogs need regular free play and mental stimulation to keep their muscles mobile and their minds sharp.
Playing with your dog at home will help keep him happy and healthy and is a fun way to form a strong bond with your dog.
Best Types of Exercise for Maltese Dogs
Alongside moderate, purposeful activity such as walking, which increases the heart rate, there are many things you can do with your furry friend to fulfil their exercise needs, burn energy and keep their minds active. Here are five ways dog owners in Great Britain can mix it up!
If your Maltese is a moderate chewer and an inquisitive pup, puzzle toys can be a great way to satisfy his curiosity and occupy his mind. A simple puzzle toy can be made at home by placing food or treats inside an old tennis ball or plastic bottle with holes in and letting your pup work to set them free.
There are many benefits to this kind of play for your puppy; it will keep your small dog moving throughout the day and stimulate his mind by offering a challenge.
Most Maltese will love this kind of indoor play and can be occupied for quite some time in the process.
This video shows how to make some simple enrichment dog toys at home
Agility training is a great way to bond with small dogs as a suitable course won’t take up too much room in your home or garden. Your Maltese dog will love responding to commands and will feel part of your pack as you guide him through the course.
It can, however, be a balancing act with high paced activities like agility training as an overstimulated dog can really push his limits., so be careful you don’t over-exercise your Maltese and be sure to give him regular breaks and water.
Games of Fetch
Most dogs love to fetch as it provides a physical workout alongside mental stimulation; it’s also a great way to bond with your pet. Fetch can also allow for some off-leash, free play whilst on your daily walk in a safe and controlled area.
Most small dogs have limited exercise needs, and Maltese are no different, so be careful of excessive exercise when playing fast-paced, energetic games like fetch. Make sure that your dog enjoys regular breaks and has access to water.
Although the gentle-mannered Maltese have a limited prey drive, the instinct can still pop up in individual dogs.
Flirt poles are a great way to satisfy this need and save the local small animal population from your excited little dog!
Allowing your Maltese dog to chase and catch a flirt pole is an excellent form of physical exercise and can be done safely indoors between your daily walks.
As with all other dogs, training is a fantastic way to form a strong bond between you and your pup whilst keeping him mentally and physically stimulated.
You can begin a little training when your Maltese is still a puppy, but be wary of over-exercising puppies for the risk of joint issues when they’re older.
Their origin as dogs bred for companionship makes the Maltese breed ideal for training; Maltese dogs are hard-wired to follow instructions and receive dopamine when they learn new commands.
Training is a great way to exercise a Maltese and strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
Can a Maltese Have Too Much Exercise?
Because of their small size, Maltese dogs don’t need as much physical exercise as other dogs might. Generally speaking, two short walks a day at a comfortable pace and 30 minutes of indoor exercise are all that’s needed to keep your dog healthy.
If you’re taking your Maltese dog for a day out, they can still enjoy longer walks, provided they get regular breaks and don’t spend too long in the heat.
How Much Exercise Does a Senior Maltese Need?
As with any other breed, as your dog ages, he’ll need less physical exercise. Maltese dogs are generally considered seniors once they reach the age of 10. This article shows what changes may occur as your pooch gets older
At this point in their lives, they may need shorter walks and their joints might not be up to as much energetic play as when they were puppies.
Despite this, regular outside activity is still important, and your Maltese dog will enjoy exploring and sniffing on his morning and evening walks.
How Much Exercise Does a Maltese Puppy Need?
Maltese puppies need minimal exercise as they’re a naturally small breed even in adulthood. A Maltese puppy will only need about 5 minutes of physical exertion per month of age, which most will achieve naturally whilst exploring their new home!
It’s vital that you don’t take your Maltese puppy for his first walk before he’s received all of his puppy shots. His immune system will not yet be strong enough to fight off any nasty illnesses left by other dogs on their walk, so if you want your puppy to take his first steps outside, make sure it’s in a private garden that no other dog has access to.
Maltese dogs are a small breed that is typically considered a true lap dog that makes great companions for people in all walks of life and is perfectly suited to urban and flat living.
The Maltese club state they are intelligent and playful, so whilst Maltese exercise requirements aren’t excessive, they do need three groups of exercise: a couple of daily walks, plenty of playtime and mental activities each day to avoid unwanted behaviours such as excessive barking (this breed can be quite vocal)
You may want to consider getting an adult dog involved in activities such as agility training where they can meet other dogs or spend a few minutes using a flirt pole every day. Let us know if you’ve tried any of these methods and how it worked out!