10 Best Dog Foods for Maltese Tear Stains 2022

There are two major reasons for tear stains: excessive tear production or an inability to properly dispose of excess tears. It is true that certain breeds, including the Maltese, are more likely to exhibit tear stains, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept the issue. Excessive tear production can be a result of a variety of health conditions and physiological factors, but your food choice could be to blame.

Chemicals and additives in low-quality food, such as unnecessary food coloring, can make the problem worse. In addition to excessive protein and fat, tear production can be a sign of allergies and intolerances. Therefore, choosing the right foods may help eliminate, or at least greatly reduce, tear staining.

In this article, you will find reviews of 10 of the best dog foods for Maltese tear stains in 2022, along with a guide on what you should look for when you fill your dog’s bowl.

Here are our top picks

10 Best Dog Foods for Maltese Tear Stains

1. Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Dry Food

Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Dry Food

With chicken meal, brewers’ rice, and whole grain wheat as its primary ingredients, Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal & Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is an inexpensive food. Natural flavorings are used, including pork liver flavor and chicken liver flavor, and omega 6 is high in this formula, which can help care for coats damaged by tear stains or effected by allergies.

Aside from vitamins C and E, it is also high in antioxidants. Vitamin E is particularly beneficial to maintaining good eye health in addition to strengthening the immune system. The food does not contain artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. In addition to small breeds, Hill’s Science food is also suitable for Maltese.

In our opinion, this is the best dog food for Maltese tear stains because of its low price, lack of artificial ingredients, and combination of vitamins and minerals. However, while high protein levels may cause your little one’s tears to stain, this food’s 20% protein ratio is below the 25%–28% ratio typically considered ideal.


  • Competitively priced food
  • No artificial colors, flavorings, or preservatives
  • Contains vitamin E for eye health


  • 20% protein ratio is lower than ideal

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2. Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food

There are two main ingredients in Canidae All Life Stages Chicken, Turkey & Lamb Formula Dry Dog Food, chicken meal and turkey meal. It contains 24% protein and 10% fat, and it is fortified with vitamins and minerals to meet your dog’s nutritional needs. You might need to look elsewhere if you are trying to manage your dog’s weight, because it is high in calories with just over 500 calories per cup. The food also contains probiotics to promote a healthy gut flora, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

The low price and decent protein ratio mean that this is the best dog food for Maltese tear stains for the money, but it does contain a lot of different proteins, making it not suitable for an elimination diet. If your dog is allergic, you’ll need to carefully examine the ingredients. It may prove too much for dogs who are watching their weight, even though smaller dogs typically benefit more from more calories per cup than larger dogs.


  • Inexpensive food
  • Free from artificial colors
  • Includes probiotics and vitamin E


  • 506 calories per cup is high
  • Uses a lot of different meat proteins

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3. Now Fresh Small Breed Adult Dry Food

Now Fresh Small Breed Adult Dry Food

Deboned meats and fish are used in Now Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Adult Recipe Dry Dog Food. In addition to being cooked low and slow, the food contains no artificial flavors or preservatives, so there are fewer chemicals that might cause excessive tears.

In addition to blueberries and pomegranates, Now Fresh contains a combination of 20 superfoods that are rich in antioxidants. In addition to peppermint and parsley, which are meant to improve breath odor, you can find whole eggs that provide whole protein. This minimally processed food has a protein content of 27%, a fat content of 17%, and 408 calories per cup.

There are beneficial ingredients in Now Fresh and the protein ratio is good, but it is an expensive food and uses three meat proteins, so it may not be suitable for dogs with allergies.


  • High in antioxidants for improved immune health
  • Free from artificial colors and preservatives
  • Peppermint and parsley freshen breath


  • Expensive
  • Uses three meat proteins

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4. Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food

There is a Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food that is especially designed for kids up to the age of 10 months, including the Maltese. As such, it has a very small kibble that is easier for small mouths to chew.

Your puppy needs additional protein to grow and maintain his muscles, so Royal Canin’s food has a protein ratio of 29%. A high fat ratio of 18% makes it a less suitable food for puppies with sensitive stomachs, since it has a high fat ratio. With 412 calories per cup, however, it should be suitable for weight management while ensuring your puppy feels satisfied.

It is an expensive food, and for the price, we would prefer natural sources of vitamins and minerals. It is a good choice for developing puppies, as it may help minimize tear stains.


  • 29% protein content ratio
  • Designed for extra small breed puppies
  • Contains antioxidants and fortified with vitamins and minerals


  • Expensive food
  • Chicken by-product meal could be a higher-quality ingredient

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5. ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Dry Food

ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Dry Food

The cause of excessive tear stains in Maltese and other dogs is an allergic reaction. While food allergies are relatively rare in dogs, they do occur. Some dogs who do have allergies are allergic to the main protein in food, such as chicken or fish. These dogs benefit from limited ingredient recipes because they have a single protein source and tend to have fewer allergens.

It contains a limited number of ingredients. ACANA Singles + Wholesome Grains Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb & Pumpkin Recipe Dry Dog Food is a limited ingredient recipe. The main proteins in this dish are lamb liver, lamb flavor, lamb fat, lamb cartilage, and lamb tripe, as well as lamb deboned lamb and lamb meal.

Additionally, the food contains fiber-rich ingredients, a protein ratio of 27%, and no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors. It is expensive, however, and contains additional salt.


  • Limited ingredient recipe good for allergic dogs
  • 27% protein ratio is good
  • No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives


  • Expensive
  • Ingredients include salt

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6. Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Senior Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is designed for small breed senior dogs. Since it is fortified with calcium, it is good for bone strength and maintenance. The food also has small kibble pieces that are manageable even for your Maltese’s little mouth. It is also cheap, contains chicken as its primary ingredient, and has a protein content of 26%.

Although most of the ingredients are considered good quality, split peas are the third ingredient, meaning that they make up a decent portion of the food. The only con with Nutro’s senior food is that it contains a decent amount of protein rather than it coming from more beneficial meat sources.


  • 26% protein is adequate
  • Inexpensive food
  • Main ingredients are chicken and chicken meal


  • Peas feature prominently in the ingredient list

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7. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Dry Food

Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Dry Food

Designed specifically for dogs with small mouths, Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Small Breed Adult Chicken & Brown Rice Recipe Dry Dog Food is also made from deboned chicken and chicken meal. The food is fortified with chelated minerals. In contrast to non-chelated minerals, chelated minerals are more easily digested and processed by the body.

Also included in the food are probiotics that fight bacteria in the gut, so that the digestive system can function better. When your Maltese scratches at his teary eyes, Omega 3 and 6 can help with his coat and skin, while glucosamine can help with joint health. Although this food is suitable for all adult dogs, it is especially beneficial for older and senior dogs.

Food is inexpensive and of good quality, but the ingredient list does include salt, and it is a very long list, making it difficult to track.


  • Inexpensive food
  • Primary ingredients are deboned chicken and chicken meal
  • 26% protein ratio is reasonable


  • Ingredients list includes salt
  • Very long list of ingredients

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8. The Honest Kitchen Small Breed Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Small Breed Dog Food

A small-kibble dry dog food made from whole grain chicken & oats from The Honest Kitchen is made with human-quality ingredients and meets FDA human safety standards.

This food is primarily made with chicken, but it also contains carrots, flaxseeds, broccoli, pumpkins, apples, and other natural ingredients. In addition to being fortified with vitamins and minerals to ensure that it is a complete diet, it contains no artificial flavors or preservatives.

With 462 calories per cup of food, the food is expensive and high in calories, but it contains decent quality ingredients and meets a dog’s nutritional needs without artificial chemicals.


  • Free from artificial colors and preservatives
  • Primary ingredient is chicken
  • Small kibble is suitable for Maltese dogs


  • Expensive
  • High in calories

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9. Halo Holistic Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Halo Holistic Small Breed Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

There are salmon and whitefish as the primary ingredients in Halo Holistic Healthy Weight Small Breed Grain-Free Wild Salmon & Whitefish Dry Dog Food. In addition to a variety of fruits and vegetables, it is fortified with taurine and L-Carnitine, vitamins and minerals. Although there are foods with lower calorie contents, this food has a 27% protein ratio, which is considered ideal.

Having grains in the diet can be beneficial to healthy dogs, but if your vet has indicated that your dog is allergic or sensitive to certain grains, a grain-free recipe may be helpful. It is a pricey food, and the salmon and whitefish recipe has a strong smell that may put some owners off living with it.


  • 27% protein ratio is ideal
  • Primary ingredients are salmon and whitefish
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives


  • Expensive
  • Strong smell

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10. Wellness Complete Health Canned Dog Food

Wellness Complete Health Canned Dog Food

The Wellness Complete Health Chicken & Sweet Potato Formula Canned Dog Food consists primarily of chicken, chicken broth, and chicken liver as its primary ingredients. As well as vegetables, the food is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. It is a wet food and has a pate-like texture.

Since Wellness Complete comes in 12.5-ounce cans, and Maltese won’t eat a full can every day, you will have to store half cans of food in the refrigerator until they finish them.


  • Wet food can be more palatable to some dogs
  • Primary ingredients are chicken based


  • Expensive
  • Need to store open cans in fridge

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Buyer’s Guide for the Best Dog Food for Maltese Tear Stains

Some dog owners feel as though tear stains are an inevitable part of dog ownership. This is especially true for dogs like the Bichon Frise and Maltese: breeds with natural light colors. When red blood cells are broken down, tears are a by-product. In epiphora, tears do not drain into the nasolacrimal duct or too many tears form, causing excess liquid to pour from the eyes and onto the area below the eyes.

Epiphora: What causes it?

Epiphora can be caused by a blockage or malformation of the nasolacrimal duct or poor eyelid function, and may also be caused by health issues such as conjunctivitis, which causes excessive tear production. You should have your vet examine your pet thoroughly to determine if there’s an underlying cause, such as an ingrown hair or glaucoma.

The dog’s diet can also play a role in excess tear formation and blocked tear ducts. For example, it may be caused by low-quality food that contains chemical additives or too much protein or fat.

Is Epiphora Painful?

Despite the fact that tear stains themselves do not cause pain, excess moisture can be irritating, just as the tears themselves do not cause pain. In addition to swelling caused by excess moisture, constant rubbing and scratching can cause further swelling and pain in the eyes.

Is It Dangerous?

Epiphora stains are not dangerous, but, depending on the cause of the problem, they may be dangerous. Likewise, excess tears and nasolacrimal duct problems can increase instances of infection, which can also be dangerous. Your veterinarian should be consulted if a diet change does not fix the problem.

Choosing the Best Dog Food for Tear Stains

When buying dog food and looking to combat tear stains, there are several things to consider when taking into account the various possible dietary causes of epiphora.

  • High-Quality Food With Natural Ingredients – Chemical additives and artificial flavorings in dog food are not desirable, even if they don’t cause tear stains. They tend to be harsh and can exacerbate stomach problems and staining from tears, as well as causing stomach and other problems. The dog does not have a preference for food color, so coloring is not necessary. Look for food that is free of artificial additives and certainly does not contain artificial coloring.
  • Suitable Protein and fat levels – In dog food, experts differ on the ideal ratios of protein and fat, but most agree that protein levels should be between 21 percent and 27 percent. Since small dogs receive relatively small portions, they will not receive enough protein and fat if they are not given higher protein and fat content. Dogs with tear staining may, however, indicate they are consuming too much protein or fat. Check your dog food packaging for current ratios. If they seem high, consider opting for a food with lower protein levels.
  • Avoid Allergens – As a general rule, dogs with allergies are more likely to have an environmental or seasonal allergy than a food allergy. However, food allergies do occur. Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your dog is allergic to something they are eating. It is also possible to change your dog’s diet so that they are eating different meat proteins—it is the meat proteins that they are most likely to be allergic to.

You may have a dog with a sensitivity to grains, gluten, lactose, or another type of food, even though this is rare. It is always a good idea to consult with your veterinarian before switching to a grain-free diet, but tear staining could be a symptom of your dog being prone to food sensitivity.

Other Factors to Consider When Buying Dog Food for Maltese Dogs

In addition to tear staining, you should also take into account the following factors when purchasing food:

  • Weight Management – Avoid foods that are too high in calories, especially if the majority of those calories come from fat rather than protein. The packaging of dog foods also contains nutritional information and calorific content, so they are suitable for weight management and diets. Dogs with a calorie intake of 400 or more per cup might be okay for puppies, but adult dogs might not be able to handle them. Around 350 calories per cup is suitable for adult dogs, and senior dogs should be consuming around 300 calories per cup, although active senior dogs may be able to eat more without putting on too much weight.
  • Kibble Size – Small breed and extra small breed dog foods not only have protein and nutrient levels that are appropriate for dogs of that size, they also tend to consist of smaller kibble pieces. If your Maltese’s bite, chew, and swallow large kibbles, it will be more challenging than it should be for them to enjoy mealtime.
  • Age Appropriate – Dogs have different nutritional requirements as they move from one stage of life to another, just like people. – There are foods that cater to adult dogs, puppies, and seniors. Young adults and puppies can consume more calories because they use more calories, so they are less likely to gain weight. A dog who is sedentary or does not move around as much should consume fewer calories or will gain weight too soon.

How to Clean Tear Stains

If you’re not comfortable cleaning tear stains yourself, ask a professional groomer to do it.

  • Clean the area carefully with a clean cloth dampened with warm water and using the corner of the cloth.
  • These wipes include natural cleaners that are sympathetic and won’t cause your dog any pain or health problems, but may be more effective than just warm water.
  • Your dog can also be given oral medications, but some are only available with a prescription, so check with your veterinarian first.
  • Try giving your dog filtered water instead of tap water if your tap water has high mineral content.
  • If you’re unsure, consult your veterinarian about which wipes or other products are best or if you can take other steps.

The Hepper Nom Nom Bowl is a top choice when it comes to providing your pet with top quality nutrition.

You can ensure your pet receives the best nutrition with these food-safe stainless steel bowls. Order them here.

Final thoughts

These are the 10 best dog foods for Maltese tears to reduce tear production and staining. They are also suitable for the Maltese brand.

The Hill’s Science Diet Small Paws is reasonably priced and free from artificial additives. Canidae All Life Stages Dry Dog Food is even more affordable and free from potentially damaging chemical additives. Although the Fresh Grain-Free Small Breed Adult Recipe is more expensive, it contains a lot of protein and vitamin E, which promotes good eye health. For puppies with sensitive stomachs or looking to eliminate certain proteins from their daily diets, we recommend Royal Canin X-Small Puppy Dry Dog Food.

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