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The 10 Best Dog Foods For Maltese Tear Stains

Tear stains are created by an excess of tears or an inability to properly dispose of surplus tears. While it is true that certain breeds, such as the Maltese, are more prone to tear stains, this does not mean you have to accept the problem. Too many tears can be caused by a number of medical conditions and physical factors, but it could also be because of what you eat.

Low-quality food may contain chemicals and additives, such as superfluous food coloring, which aggravate the condition. Tear production is a sign of allergies and intolerances, and too much protein or fat may also be a cause. Eating the correct foods may help eradicate, or at least considerably reduce, tear stains.

Below are the BestForPets (bestforpets.org) evaluations of the best dog foods for Maltese tear stains in 2022, as well as some guidance on what to look for when filling your dog's bowl.

Buyer's Guide: How to Select the Best Maltese Tear Stains Dog Food

Tear stains may feel like an unavoidable aspect of having a dog for some owners. This is especially true for dogs with light-colored coats, such as the Bichon Frise and the Maltese. Tears are produced as a byproduct of the breakdown of red blood cells.

Tears normally flow down the nasolacrimal duct and into the nose, but in epiphora, this drainage is absent or excessive tears are created, causing excess liquid to spill from the eyes and into the region below the eyes.

Epiphora Is Caused By What?

Epiphora can be caused by a number of factors, including a blockage or abnormality of the nasolacrimal duct or impaired eyelid function. Conjunctivitis, which causes excessive tear production, may also generate the tell-tale tear staining.

Even ingrown hairs and glaucoma might be the source of the problem, so you should have your veterinarian do a thorough check to rule out any underlying causes.

Diet can also contribute to excessive tear production and duct obstruction. It might be caused by low-quality food containing chemical additives, too much protein or fat in the dog’s diet, or a food allergy or intolerance.

Is Epiphora Excruciating?

The tear stains do not cause pain, and while tears should not cause pain on their own, the extra moisture can be uncomfortable. In addition to swelling produced by excess moisture, frequent rubbing and scratching of the eyes may cause further swelling and pain.

Is it hazardous?

Epiphora stains are not harmful, although they may be problematic depending on the origin of the disease. Excess tears and a difficulty with the nasolacrimal duct can also lead to an increase in infections, which can be harmful. If changing your food does not solve the problem, you should see your veterinarian.

Choosing the Best Tear Stain Dog Food

Considering the many dietary reasons of epiphora, there are several things to look for when purchasing dog food to minimize tear stains.

  • High-Quality Food Made from Natural Ingredients – Even if they aren’t the source of tear stains, chemical additives and artificial flavorings in dog food are undesirable. Artificial additives are sometimes abrasive, which can aggravate stomach and other issues as well as cause heavier discoloration from tears. Look for meals that are devoid of artificial ingredients and, more importantly, those that are not colored artificially. Because dogs have no preference for food color, there is no purpose to color it.
  • Protein and Fat Levels – Experts disagree on the appropriate protein and fat ratios for dog food, but most agree that protein levels should range between 21% and 27%. Tiny dogs should have a greater protein and fat content since the comparatively small quantities they get will not provide enough of these key nutrients. Tear staining, on the other hand, might indicate that a dog’s protein or fat consumption is excessive. Check the current ratios on the box of your dog food. If they appear to be high, choose a food with lower protein amounts.
  • Avoid Allergens – In general, dogs that exhibit allergy symptoms are more likely to have an environmental or seasonal allergy than a food allergy. Food allergies do exist, though. Consult your veterinarian if you feel your dog is allergic to anything they are eating. You can also alter your dog’s food so that they consume a different meat protein—the meat protein to which they are most likely allergic.

Although uncommon, your dog may be sensitive to grain, gluten, lactose, or another food type. Again, consult with your veterinarian before switching to a grain-free diet, but if your dog has a food allergy, tear staining might be a sign that they are eating this sort of food.

Other Factors to Consider When Purchasing Maltese Dog Food

Of course, tear stains is only one consideration when purchasing food. Consider the following as well:

  • Weight Control – Avoid meals that are too rich in calories, especially if the bulk of those calories are from fat rather than protein. There are weight management and diet formulas available, and dog meals include calorific content and nutritional information on the box. Foods containing 400 or more calories per cup may be appropriate for pups, but they are certainly too high in calories for older dogs. Adult dogs should consume roughly 350 calories per cup, whereas senior dogs should consume around 300 calories per cup, however energetic senior dogs may be able to eat more without gaining too much weight.
  • Kibble Size – Small breed and extra small breed dog diets have protein and nutrition levels appropriate for dogs of that size. They are likewise made up of smaller kibble bits. This is significant because huge kibbles will be difficult for your little Maltese to bite, chew, and swallow, making mealtime more difficult than necessary.
  • Age Appropriate – There are meals for adult dogs, as well as puppies and elderly. Dogs, like people, have variable dietary requirements as they progress through life. Puppies and young adults, for example, can consume more calories because they utilize more energy, making them less prone to gain weight. Older dogs that do not move about as much should consume less calories to avoid gaining weight too soon.

How to Remove Tear Stains

There are methods for properly cleaning tear stains from your dog’s eyes. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, get a professional groomer.

  • Use a clean cloth, saturate it with warm water, and delicately wipe the area with the corner of the cloth.
  • Tear wipes include natural cleansers that are gentle on your dog’s skin and will not cause stinging or other health issues, but may be more effective than simply using warm water.
  • Oral drugs can also be administered to your dog, but some are only accessible with a prescription, so always consult your veterinarian first.
  • Some tap water contains a high mineral concentration, which may be causing tears to darken as they dry. Instead of using tap water, try giving your dog filtered water.
  • When in doubt, see a veterinarian and ask for their advice on which wipes or other items to use or if there are any additional precautions you can take.


The BestForPets (bestforpets.org) evaluations above cover the best dog foods for Maltese tear stains to help limit tear generation and staining. They are also appropriate for the Maltese brand.

Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws was recommended to us since it is fairly priced and devoid of artificial ingredients. Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food is even more affordable and devoid of possibly harmful chemical ingredients. Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Adult Recipe is more costly, but it has a high protein ratio and vitamin E to promote eye health.

We recommend Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Meal for pups because of its high protein and calorie levels, while ACANA Singles + Wholesome Limited Ingredient Diet is a good food for dogs with sensitive stomachs who want to omit particular proteins from their daily diet.


Best Overall: Adult Small Paws Dry Food Hill’s Science Diet

  • Chicken Meal, Brewers Rice, Whole Grain Wheat are the main components.
  • 20% protein content
  • 12.5% fat content
  • 371 calories per cup

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is a low-cost food made with chicken meal, brewer’s rice, and whole grain wheat.

It contains natural flavorings such as pork liver taste and chicken liver flavor and is high in omega 6, which is beneficial to skin and coat health and can help care for coats damaged by tear stains or impacted by allergies or sensitivities.

It is also abundant in antioxidants and vitamins C and E. These substances not only serve to improve the immune system, but vitamin E is particularly important in maintaining excellent eye health. There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in the food. Hill’s Science food is also suitable for smaller breeds like as the Maltese.

The low cost, lack of artificial ingredients, and combination of vitamins and minerals make this the finest overall dog food for Maltese tear stains in our opinion. While excessive protein levels may be the source of your child’s tear stains, this food’s 20% protein ratio is lower than the 25%-28% often deemed appropriate.


  • Food at a reasonable price
  • There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
  • Vitamin E is present for eye health.


  • A protein ratio of 20% is less than optimum.


Best Value: Canidae Dry Dog Food for All Life Stages

  • Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, and Brown Rice are the main components.
  • 24% protein content
  • 10% fat content
  • 506 kilocalories per cup

All Life Stages of Canidae Chicken, Turkey, and Lamb Combination Dry Dog Food is a low-cost dry kibble made primarily of chicken meal and turkey meal. The meal has been supplemented with vitamins and minerals to fulfill your dog’s nutritional needs, and it has a protein-to-fat ratio of 24%.

It is rich in calories, with slightly more than 500 calories per cup of food, so if you are watching your dog’s weight, you may want to consider elsewhere. In addition to critical vitamins and minerals, the diet contains probiotics to maintain healthy gut flora.

This is the finest dog food for Maltese tear stains for the money because of the low price and good protein ratio, but it contains a lot of different proteins, so it isn’t suited for an elimination diet.

If your dog has allergies, you must carefully inspect the components. While smaller dogs normally benefit from more calories per cup than bigger dogs, the high calorie content of this meal may be too much for dogs on a diet.


  • Food on the cheap
  • Artificial colors are not used.
  • Probiotics and vitamin E are included.


  • 506 calories per cup is a lot of calories.
  • It employs a wide range of animal proteins.


Premium Choice: Now Fresh Adult Small Breed Dry Food

  • De-boned turkey, whole dried egg, and peas are the main components.
  • 27% protein content
  • 17% fat content
  • 408 calories per cup

Grain-Free Small Breed Adult Recipe is now available. Deboned meats and fish are used to make dry dog food. The food is cooked low and slow to preserve nutrients, and it is free of artificial flavors and preservatives, so there are less chemicals that might induce excessive weeping.

Now Fresh also features a blend of 20 superfoods, including blueberries and pomegranate, which are high in antioxidants. You’ll also discover peppermint and parsley, which are intended to promote better-smelling breath, as well as whole eggs, which provide complete protein.

This minimally processed meal has a protein content ratio of 27%, a fat content ratio of 17%, and 408 calories per cup.

Now Fresh has healthful components and has an appropriate protein ratio, but it is a costly diet that employs three animal proteins and may not be suited for dogs with allergies.


  • Antioxidant-rich for better immune health
  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • Freshening breath with peppermint and parsley


  • Expensive
  • Three meat proteins are used.


Best for Puppies: X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food by Royal Canin

  • Chicken by-product meal, Brewers rice, and corn are the main components.
  • 29% protein content
  • 18% fat content
  • 412 kilocalories per cup

Royal Canin X-Tiny Puppy Dry Dog Food is a puppy food formulated for especially small breeds such as the Maltese. As the meal is intended for children up to the age of ten months, it is a very small kibble that is simpler for small mouths to grasp and chew.

The protein ratio in Royal Canin’s food is 29%, providing the extra protein your young dog requires for muscular growth and maintenance.

It also has a high fat ratio of 18%, which is greater than many feeds, making it unsuitable for pups with sensitive stomachs. However, at 412 calories per cup, it should be suitable for weight control while still satisfying your puppy’s appetite.

This is a pricey product, and we would want to see natural sources of critical vitamins and minerals used instead. It is a fantastic option for developing pups since it may help reduce tear stains.


  • Protein content ratio of 29%
  • Designed for puppies of particularly tiny breeds.
  • Antioxidants and vitamins and minerals are included.


  • Food that is expensive
  • A higher-quality component might be chicken by-product meal.


Vet’s Choice: Wholesome Grains Dry Food + ACANA Singles

  • Deboned lamb, lamb meal, and oat groats are the main components.
  • 27% protein content
  • 17% fat content
  • 371 calories per cup

Allergic responses are one probable reason of excessive tear stains in Maltese and other dogs, and while food allergies are uncommon in dogs, they can occur. Many dogs that have allergies are allergic to the major protein in meals, which include chicken and fish. Limited ingredient diets are ideal for these dogs since they feature a single protein source and fewer allergies.

ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Diet with Few Ingredients Recipe for Lamb and Pumpkin The recipe for Dry Dog Food is restricted. Its key components are deboned lamb and lamb meal, with lamb liver, lamb flavor, lamb fat, lamb cartilage, and lamb tripe making up the majority of the main protein.

There are also fiber-rich elements in the meal, a protein ratio of 27%, and no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. However, ACANA Singles is more costly and has more salt.


  • Recipe with few ingredients that is suitable for allergic dogs
  • A protein ratio of 27% is satisfactory.
  • There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives in this product.


  • Expensive
  • Salt is among the ingredients.


Natural Choice Nutro Senior Small Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Chicken, chicken meal, and whole grain barley are the main components.
  • 26% protein content
  • 14% fat content
  • 320 calories per cup

Natural Choice Nutro Recipe for Small Breed Senior Chicken with Brown Rice Dry Dog Food is a food for older small breed dogs. As a result, it is supplemented with additional vitamins, such as calcium, which is beneficial to bone strength and maintenance.

It also features little kibble bits that are small enough for your Maltese’s small mouth. The dish is inexpensive, made primarily of chicken and chicken meal, and has a decent protein ratio of 26%.

Although the majority of the components are of high quality, split peas are the third element, which implies they account for a significant amount of the cuisine.

Peas are abundant in protein and account for a significant amount of the protein composition of the dish rather than coming from more advantageous animal sources. However, that is the single significant disadvantage of Nutro’s senior meal.


  • 26% protein is sufficient.
  • Food on the cheap
  • Chicken and chicken meal are the main components.


  • Peas are heavily featured in the ingredient list.


Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Dry Food for Small Breeds

  • Deboned chicken, chicken meal, and brown rice are the main components.
  • 26% protein content
  • 15% fat content
  • 396 kilocalories per cup

Formula Blue Buffalo Life Protection Adult Small Breed Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Another meal option for dogs with tiny jaws is dry dog food. It’s made using deboned chicken and chicken meal and is enriched with chelated minerals.

Chelated minerals are preferable to non-chelated minerals because they are attached to amino acids, allowing the body to better absorb and assimilate the substances.

The diet also contains a variety of probiotics, which battle harmful bacteria in the gut and so improve digestive system health.

Omegas 3 and 6 promote hair and skin health, which is especially essential if your Maltese has been clawing at his teary eyes, while glucosamine promotes joint health and is especially good to senior and older dogs, while this food is appropriate for all adult dogs.

The meal is reasonably priced and of high quality, however the ingredient list contains salt and is lengthy, making monitoring difficult.


  • Food on the cheap
  • Deboned chicken and chicken meal are the main components.
  • A protein ratio of 26% is acceptable.


  • The list of ingredients includes salt.
  • A lengthy list of components


Small Breed Dog Food from Honest Kitchen

  • Ingredients: chicken, oats, and barley
  • 24% protein content
  • 15.5% fat content
  • 462 kilocalories per cup

Food Clusters from the Honest Kitchen Recipe for Whole Grain Chicken and Oatmeal Tiny Breed Dog Meal is a small kibble dry food that employs human-quality ingredients and fulfills FDA human safety requirements, according to The Honest Kitchen.

The main component is chicken, but it also contains carrots, flaxseed, broccoli, pumpkins, apple, and other natural nutrients. It has no artificial flavors or preservatives and is supplemented with vitamins and minerals to provide a balanced diet.

The food is pricey and high in calories, with 462 calories per cup, but it contains high-quality ingredients and matches a dog’s nutritional needs while being devoid of chemicals and artificial substances.


  • No artificial colors or preservatives
  • The main component is chicken.
  • Small kibble is appropriate for Maltese dogs.


  • Expensive
  • a lot of calories


Halo Holistic Grain-Free Small Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Salmon, whitefish, and dried egg product are the main components.
  • 27% protein content
  • 12% fat content
  • 383 calories per cup

Halo Holistic Weight Management Dry Dog Small Breed Grain-Free Wild Salmon & Whitefish The key components in this food are salmon and whitefish.

It also contains a variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as vitamins and minerals like as taurine and L-Carnitine. The dish has an optimum protein ratio of 27% and isn’t too heavy in calories, while there are foods with lower caloric content.

This dish is grain-free. Grain inclusion can benefit healthy canines, however if your physician has advised that your dog is allergic or sensitive to specific grains, this type of formula can be useful.

Halo is an expensive food, and the salmon and whitefish mix has a strong odor that may deter some owners from living with it.


  • A protein ratio of 27% is good.
  • Salmon and whitefish are the main components.
  • There are no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in this product.


  • Expensive
  • Strong odor


Canned Wellness Complete Health Dog Food

  • Chicken, Chicken Broth, and Chicken Liver are the main components.
  • 8% protein content
  • 5% fat content
  • 393 calories per can

Complete Health Wellness Chicken with Sweet Potato Recipe Canned Dog Food is a canned wet food made primarily of chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver. It also includes veggies and is supplemented with vitamins and minerals. The cuisine has a pate-like texture and a delicious appeal due to its moist nature.

Wellness Complete is expensive for a wet food and because it comes in 12.5-ounce cans, and since a Maltese won’t eat a full can every day, you will have to store half cans of food in the fridge until finished.


  • Wet food may be more appealing to some dogs.
  • The primary components are based on chicken.


  • Expensive
  • Open cans must be kept in the refrigerator.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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