It’s only natural to question how much exercise a Maltese needs; besides, they are tiny dogs that fit quite comfortably into the toy group. In fact, you may have even have some preconceptions – they’re often kept as lap dogs, after all. But what is too little or too much exercise for Maltese? Let’s find out!
So, how much exercise does a Maltese need? Maltese dogs don’t require a lot of exercise. A walk of approximately 30 minutes per day is more than enough for them. They also need some regular unstructured activity (known as “free play”) throughout the day, where they are provided with mentally stimulating toys and allowed to play unsupervised.
Their size, coupled with their moderate exercise needs, makes the Maltese the perfect dog for apartments or urban living.
But if you remember one thing from this article today, let it be this:
As Maltese are small dogs, they have very specific exercise needs.
And these needs change depending on their age.
But they do still require some exercise, which is as important for mental health as it is for physical.
So carry on reading to find out all you need to know about walking this cute breed!
How Often Should A Maltese Be Walked
Maltese dogs require a daily walk of between 20 and 30 minutes. Walks can be longer than 30 minutes, so long as your dog appears up for the additional time and is not showing signs of fatigue like slowing down. Equally, two shorter 15-minute walks per day will work well too.
The pace of your walk should be decided by your dog.
They need to walk at a comfortable pace, yet fast enough for them to be getting a bit of a workout.
Daily walks are a good idea for a number of reasons.
As many Maltese live in apartments, they need to release any built-up energy.
They also get mental stimulation from the new smells, sights, and sounds that they will encounter.
They will also become well socialized, meeting other dogs and people during this time. This can prevent behavioral problems.
Determining how long to walk to your Maltese and how many times a day depends on your individual dog.
Be mindful of how they react when you walk them.
They may pant excessively, letting you know they have had enough.
They may still be trotting along happily after 30 minutes, indicating that you can keep going for a bit longer.
Generally, a morning or evening walk is best when the temperature is moderate.
Make sure you have water with you and take a break every 15 minutes or so.
Just because a Maltese is a small dog doesn’t mean it doesn’t need exercise the same way big dogs do.
Most small dogs are high-energy dogs.
If you compare their needs with bigger dogs, relatively speaking, they may actually need more exercise.
They have muscles that need to be maintained, although the muscles are admittedly quite a bit smaller than most dogs.
Their heart health is also important, which is sustained by regular exercise.
It is important to cater your Maltese exercise regime to their age.
Exercising a puppy is very different from exercising an adult.
Senior dogs have different exercise needs for both an adult and a puppy.
This will be discussed in more detail below.
Can Maltese Dogs Go On Long Walks
The length of the walk depends on the age and individual characteristics of your Maltese. Some adult dogs thrive with extra exercise, but you may be doing more harm than good if your dog is clearly too young, too old, or doesn’t have a lot of stamina.
Exercising a puppy is very different from exercising an adult dog.
Puppies’ bones, joints, and muscles are still developing, so it’s important not to tax them.
The general rule is to exercise your puppy for between 2 and 5 minutes for each month old.
A Maltese puppy that is five months old, for example, should be walked for between 10 to 25 minutes.
Walking a puppy is more for training purposes than actual exercise – getting them used to walking on a leash and meeting other dogs.
Vets recommend only walking puppies that are older than three months, as this is when they have their final puppy vaccination.
You can play it safe by waiting another two weeks to make sure they are fully protected before taking them out in public for the first time.
There are many articles warning you not to over-exercise a puppy.
However, this refers to intense exercise, not gentle walks.
Monitor them while they walk and stop if they seem to be struggling to keep up or panting a lot.
Of course, as your dog ages and develops, you will naturally transition into those longer walks.
Nevertheless, maintaining the health of your dog should be high on your to-do list.
If you are a very busy person, then it’s best to schedule walks to keep yourself and your dog in a good routine.
Pick a time of day and route and stick to it. Your route should include a specific toilet break either before or after your walk (or both).
This will give you an opportunity to reinforce your housebreaking training.
Can I Take My Maltese Jogging
It is not recommended to take your Maltese jogging – especially if they are puppies. Maltese dogs are not bred for intense physical exercise, even though they are high energy. Strenuous walks or jogs are not only not necessary and can, in fact, harm your Maltese.
The phrase “moderate purposeful activity” is often used to describe the best type of exercise for this breed.
This will engage all the muscles and raise their heart rate slightly.
Playing with toys is the best thing for a puppy, along with socializing with other dogs.
Playing a game of fetch and encouraging them to run around the house is the perfect exercise, along with structured short walks.
Older dogs become less active, and their energy levels drop.
They can develop arthritis, so although exercise still remains crucial, it becomes a balancing act.
It is important for them to stay active, as this keeps their joints and muscles mobile as well as keeping their weight down.
However, they will get very sore if they have too much exercise.
You may have to do some research on exercising older or arthritic dogs to make sure you give your senior dog the correct amount of exercise.
Generally, a Maltese’s exercise needs can be divided into three groups:
- Daily walks,
- Playing with toys, and
- Mental stimulation.
Walks will satisfy their natural instinct of wanting to explore new smells and noises.
They can get depressed and restless if they are inside for too long, and a walk will boost their spirits and release any pent-up energy.
Physically, there are many benefits to regular exercise.
Your dog will develop and maintain a good metabolism, get a boost to their immune system and keep their joints and muscles strong.
Other Exercise Ideas For A Maltese
There are many options for exercising your Maltese, which should be used in addition to their daily walks, not in place of.
Maltese dogs are used as therapy dogs, as well as competing in dog sports such as agility, obedience, and tracking.
Playing fetch is a classic, and there is a reason for that. Your Maltese will get some exercise, and it is a good activity to create a bond with your dog.
You can do some informal tracking games with your Maltese.
Hide a toy or treat and encourage them to find it.
Start by hiding the treat somewhere easy to find and work up to making it harder to find.
This game depends as much on your attitude as your dog’s. You need to be enthusiastic. Otherwise, your Maltese won’t really bother.
Playing with toys is always great mental stimulation.
It helps them burn energy and reinforces your bond.
A Maltese is only a moderate chewer, so use stuffed toys instead of solid rubber.
You get toys that shake, rattle or move on their own.
These types of toys encourage your dog to interact with them and are a fun way to get them to burn a little energy.
They are perfect for when your Maltese may be home alone or when you are unable to play with them.
For example, you can find dog bones that roll, motorized balls, and many other toys that are motion activated.
There are so many brilliant options on Amazon. Check some of them out here.
Organizing play dates with other dogs is a must.
Dogs should be well socialized, not only with people but with other dogs.
This prevents behavioral problems, and again, they get a lot of mental stimulation from the interaction.
In short, a Maltese does not require a great amount of exercise.
They are very intelligent, playful, and full of energy.
Most of their needs can be met with proper indoor activities such as toys and playing fetch.
A big backyard is perfect for a Maltese if you have one, and daily walks are essential for both you and your dog.
Remember to make sure that you cater their exercise regime to their age and individual needs.
As long as you follow these basic rules, all you will need to worry about will be the hair collecting on your furniture!
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.