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Maltese Pregnancy: Vet Reviewed Signs & Week-by-Week Guide

Visnja Radosavljevic

By Visnja Radosavljevic

mother maltese dog feeding her puppies

Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Welcoming new puppies into the world can be adorable, but pregnancies can often be confusing and stressful for dog parents. If you own a female Maltese and want to breed her, you should familiarize yourself with Maltese pregnancy and its signs and learn how to help your dog during this period. We recommend a pre-mating health check by your veterinarian to discuss any concerns and check health status.

This Maltese pregnancy guide has week-by-week expectations, signs of pregnancy, and additional tips for the process to go smoothly.

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At What Age Is Your Maltese Ready for Pregnancy?

There are a few different factors to consider in order to determine the age that your Maltese is ready for pregnancy:

  • The first time that your Maltese can get pregnant — Female dogs can get pregnant as soon as they hit puberty and have their first heat cycle (for Maltese, this happens between 4 and 8 months old). However, this is not the most suitable time for getting your Maltese pregnant because her body is still developing.
  • AKC age regulation — According to AKC regulations, a female dog needs to be at least 8 months old to become pregnant. However, it is usually recommended that this age is too young for a first litter.
  • The safest recommendation — For the best possible pregnancy and outcome, it’s best to wait until your Maltese has her second or third cycle. Getting pregnant around 2 years old is the best option.
White Teacup Maltese
Image Credit: Plernz, Shutterstock

The Signs of Pregnancy in Maltese Dogs

One of the easiest ways to diagnose pregnancy in your Maltese is to look for the most common signs in dogs, which include:

  • Weight gain
  • Increased appetite
  • Swollen belly
  • Enlarged nipples
  • More affectionate
  • Less energy
  • Nesting behavior
  • Easily irritable

It’s also common for Maltese females to experience vomiting and decreased appetite during the first few weeks after getting pregnant due to hormonal changes.

One thing to be aware of is that dogs with other health conditions and illnesses may experience these same signs. Be sure to take your canine to a vet check-up to rule out possible health problems.

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Week-by-Week Pregnancy Guide for Maltese Dogs

1. Week 1: Fertilization & Mating

The first stage in a Maltese pregnancy is fertilization and mating. After your female Maltese mates with a male, her eggs will become fertilized, making her impregnated. At this stage, you won’t notice any physical changes in your Maltese because the pregnancy is just beginning.

However, your Maltese might slowly start to experience hormonal changes, which will be more noticeable as the weeks go by.

As there are no particular changes in your Maltese during this stage, she can comfortably engage in her regular activities.

male and female maltese dogs
Image Credit: Madeeva_11, Shutterstock

2. Week 2: Implantation

During the second stage of Maltese pregnancy, the fertilized embryos will move to your dog’s uterus and slowly start their development. Your dog still won’t display any particular signs of pregnancy, though weight gain is possible. It’s your job to keep your Maltese in good shape.

Your canine shouldn’t gain more than 10% of her current weight until week 6. If recommended by your vet, make diet changes as necessary.

3. Week 3: Increased Appetite

During this stage, your Maltese may still physically look the same; however, the puppies are becoming larger every day, and they will absorb more of the mother’s nutrients, leading to increased appetite in most pregnant dogs.

If you notice that your female Maltese is more hungry than usual, offer her high-quality dog food that will provide nutrients for both her and the puppies.

There’s still no need to change your daily routine, and you have enough time to make preparations.

Maltese Eating His Food From A Bowl
Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock

4. Week 4: Confirming the Pregnancy

In this stage of Maltese pregnancy, the puppies should be large enough for a vet to feel them during a check-up. They will also likely do an ultrasound to see the size of the litter, determine the puppies’ health status, and predict a possible birth date. During this stage, the nipples of your Maltese may swell or even release clean discharge.

5. Week 5: Fetal Stage

This week represents a huge stage of a Maltese pregnancy, as it’s when the puppies start developing the most. This phase occurs after their embryogenesis phase, so the puppies will start to form organs.

Since the puppies are turning from embryos to fetuses, this stage is also called the fetal stage.

During this time, your Maltese may start to put on weight. Discuss possible dietary changes with your vet to ensure the best health for the future mother and her puppies.

6. Week 6: Turning Point

This week represents a turning point in a Maltese pregnancy. During this phase, the puppies are developing their organs even more, gaining claws and whiskers.

Your female Maltese will definitely need more high-quality food to support herself and her puppies; most of the time, she will require more protein and minerals. This is usually achieved by swapping to puppy food.

Some females may experience an appetite decrease, but this typically happens due to the discomfort of the pregnancy. Try to offer your dog small multiple meals daily, and always consult your vet to ensure that you’re providing the best possible source of nutrients to your canine.

white maltese in the grass
Image Credit: Piqsels

7. Week 7: Hair Growth

During this week, the puppies develop further, growing hair and completing organ development. The mother Maltese may start to lose fur on her belly, which is a sign of getting ready to give birth.

It’s also an ideal time for you to start preparing for the birth of the pups and familiarizing yourself with what they will need during their first stages of life.

8. Week 8: Preparation

Starting this week, you need to be fully ready for the arrival of your new Maltese puppies. Although most Maltese give birth at week 9, it’s possible for the delivery to be earlier than usual. If you watch your dog’s belly, you’ll be able to notice movement and may even be able to feel the puppies moving. From this week on, get the needed supplies for the pups, and simply be ready to help your Maltese once labor day comes.

9. Week 9: Delivery Time

During the last week of Maltese pregnancy, your canine may feel decreased hunger due to the fact that labor will soon start. Get yourself ready, and try to discuss all possible outcomes with your vet.

As labor can result in complications, you must contact your vet if you notice anything going wrong during labor. Remember to stay calm and collected to help your Maltese and ensure that she will safely birth her puppies.

Three newborn Maltese puppies
Image Credit: TamaraLSanchez, Shutterstock

Maltese Pregnancy Tips

Now that you know the full cycle of Maltese pregnancy, here are a few extra tips to help your dog through the whole process and ensure the best life for her new puppies.

  • Never give your Maltese any supplements or medications before discussing them with your vet.
  • Keep your pregnant Maltese in good shape by balancing out her diet, giving her enough nutrients for her and the puppies, and providing gentle exercise.
  • Keep other pets away, as a pregnant Maltese can easily become irritable.
  • Offer high-quality foods and change to puppy food before the birth.
  • Get everything ready for the arrival of new puppies.
  • Labor may be complicated, so have your veterinarian and emergency vet number to hand.

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In Summary

Maltese pregnancy consists of nine main stages separated into 9 weeks; each week is important for the proper development of your new Maltese puppies. Therefore, you must ensure that you’re doing your best to provide your dog with everything that she needs during this period.

Remember to consult your vet before making any significant changes in your dog’s diet and daily routine, and contact the vet if you notice anything unusual during labor.


Featured Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

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