The Maltese, a petite toy breed, may be small in stature, but its need for regular exercise is undeniable. Engaging in purposeful physical activity is not just a matter of keeping the dog fit; it plays a pivotal role in ensuring both its physical and emotional well-being.
In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into:
- The Significance of Exercise: Understanding why even small breeds like the Maltese cannot be exempted from regular physical activity.
- Initiating Outdoor Adventures: Pinpointing the right age to introduce your Maltese puppy to the great outdoors.
- Walking the Maltese: Unraveling the specifics—how long, how often, and at what pace should your Maltese be walked.
- Beyond Walking: Exploring other forms of activity that can be both fun and beneficial for your Maltese.
- Achieving Exercise Goals: Tips and tricks to ensure your Maltese puppy or dog consistently meets its exercise requirements.
Why it is Important to Exercise Your Maltese
While the Maltese may be small in size, its need for exercise is just as significant as that of larger breeds. In fact, given the boundless energy often exhibited by toy breeds like the Maltese, one might argue they require even more activity, relatively speaking.
- Heart and Circulation: Regular exercise promotes a healthy heart and improves blood circulation, ensuring that every part of your Maltese’s body gets the nutrients it needs.
- Bone Strength: Just like us, dogs need exercise to keep their bones strong and prevent issues later in life.
- Muscle Maintenance: Those adorable little muscles need regular activity to stay toned and healthy.
- Metabolic Regulation: Exercise aids in regulating metabolism, ensuring your Maltese maintains a healthy weight.
- Appetite Boost: Physical activity can stimulate appetite, ensuring your Maltese eats well.
Behavioral and Emotional Benefits
- Satisfying Curiosity: Dogs have a natural instinct to explore. Regular outings provide new scents to sniff and new sounds to pique their curiosity.
- Avoiding Cabin Fever: Just like humans, dogs can get restless if cooped up for too long. Being outside can rejuvenate the spirits of a dog that’s been indoors for extended periods.
- Energy Release: A well-exercised dog is a well-behaved dog. Without a proper outlet for their energy, dogs might resort to undesirable behaviors like excessive barking, jumping or humping.
In essence, regular exercise is not just about physical health; it plays a crucial role in ensuring your Maltese’s overall well-being.
The Age You Can Start Taking Your Maltese Puppy Outside
Introducing your Maltese puppy to the outdoors is an exciting milestone. However, it’s essential to ensure that this introduction is both safe and timely.
Vaccination is Key
Before venturing outside, it’s crucial that your Maltese puppy has received all of its puppy shots. Newborn puppies inherit antibodies from their mothers, offering them some protection in their early weeks. As these antibodies wane, vaccinations step in to provide the necessary protection.
The Window of Susceptibility
There’s a brief period when the inherited antibodies are almost depleted, but the protection from vaccinations hasn’t fully kicked in. During this window, your puppy is more vulnerable to potential infections.
While it might be tempting to let your puppy explore your yard, ensure it’s an area inaccessible to other dogs, unless they are your own and are up-to-date with their vaccinations. As for walks in public areas, it’s best to wait until this susceptible window has passed.
Typically, a Maltese puppy completes its puppy shots around the 4-month mark. Adding an extra two weeks for safety brings you to the 4.5-month mark. However, always consult with your veterinarian to determine the best time to start taking your Maltese puppy outside.
While exercise is undeniably beneficial for puppies, there’s a fine line between healthy activity and over-exertion. Especially during the formative months, it’s crucial to strike the right balance.
Growth Plate Development
In the initial 6 to 9 months, a puppy’s growth plates are still developing. Excessive exercise during this period can adversely affect this development. However, it’s essential to understand what constitutes “excessive.”
Over-exercising doesn’t merely refer to the duration but also the intensity of the activity. Activities that push a puppy to its limits, such as urging it to run at full speed consistently, can be detrimental. It’s not about avoiding play but ensuring that the play doesn’t put undue strain or stress on the young Maltese.
Maltese Exercise Requirements
The Maltese, with its lively demeanor, requires regular exercise to maintain optimal health and happiness. Here’s a breakdown of the exercise essentials for this spirited breed:
The Maltese thrives on routine. Two walks a day, typically one in the morning and another in the evening, are ideal for this breed.
The goal is a brisk pace tailored to your Maltese’s comfort. A trot that’s energetic yet easy-going is what you should aim for. Observing your Maltese’s gait can give you cues on whether you’re going too fast or too slow.
If you’re attending events or places that require a lot of walking, consider tools like canine carry slings. Devices like the “i’Pet Hands-free Small Dog Sling Pouch” can be invaluable. They allow your Maltese to walk but also offer the convenience of carrying them when they need a break.
How much exercise does a Maltese need daily?
Each walk should span at least 20 minutes, but extending it up to 30 minutes is perfectly fine for most Maltese. If you’re planning on longer walks or attending events with extended walking, ensure you schedule short breaks every 20 minutes. These breaks allow your Maltese to rest, especially in warmer conditions, and rehydrate.
Other Types of Activity with your Maltese
Walking is a fundamental exercise for the Maltese, but it’s not the only way to keep them active and engaged. There are several other activities that can be both entertaining and beneficial for your furry friend.
Indoor Movement vs. Purposeful Exercise
It’s a misconception that toy breeds like the Maltese can get all their exercise indoors. While they do move around inside, playing with toys or other pets, these activities are part of their regular day. For genuine exercise, there needs to be a more deliberate and sustained activity that engages their muscles and elevates their heart rate.
If you’re engaging in an exercise session with your Maltese other than walking, it’s a good idea to keep track of the time. This ensures they get adequate exercise without overdoing it.
- Fetch: A timeless game that never gets old. It’s not just about the physical activity; fetch is also a bonding exercise between you and your Maltese.
- Find it: Perfect for days when the weather isn’t cooperative. Hide a toy or treat and encourage your Maltese to locate it. Start with easy hiding spots and gradually make it more challenging. Your enthusiasm can significantly influence how engaged your Maltese is in the game.
Exercise Tips for Maltese Puppies and Dogs
Ensuring your Maltese gets the right amount of exercise is essential, just like a French Bulldog, but it can sometimes be challenging amidst our busy lives. Here are some practical tips to help you stay on track:
- Schedule the Walks: Life can get hectic, but prioritizing your Maltese’s health is crucial. Setting specific times for walks can help integrate them into your daily routine. If necessary, enlist the help of other family members or set alarms as reminders.
- Designated Bathroom Areas: Before embarking on your first walk, always stop at the designated bathroom area. While it might seem convenient to let your Maltese relieve itself during the walk, using a specific spot reinforces housebreaking rules and establishes a routine.
- Weather Considerations: Don’t let adverse weather conditions deter you. Except in extreme cases like heavy snowfall, torrential rain, or sub-zero temperatures, the Maltese can handle short walks. In colder months, ensure both you and your Maltese are dressed warmly. For the Maltese, consider clothing options like the “Onemore Choice’s Outdoor Fleece-Lined Waterproof Dog Coat.” It’s designed to keep them warm and comfortable during chilly walks.