Maltese dogs make the perfect companions for people from all walks of life thanks to their adaptability and often friendly, playful natures. That said, caring for a Maltese over the course of their estimated 12–15-year lifespan can add up to a pretty hefty financial commitment. They can range from anywhere between $50-$700 if you adopt or $500-$2000 from a breeder.
Not only are there the one-time costs and basic supplies (like food) to consider, but there are also extras like potential vet visit fees, procedures like spaying/neutering, medication, pet insurance, and grooming. Though you may not need to pay for these services on a consistent basis, certain costs could always crop up unexpectedly, so it’s good to be prepared.
In this guide, we’ll break down all the basic and potential costs to help you decide whether or not Maltese parenting would be right for you at this point in time.
Bringing Home a New Maltese: One-Time Costs
If you opt to acquire your Maltese from a reputable breeder, we’ll make no bones about it; you’re likely going to have to cough up a lot for the privilege. Other options include looking for Maltese needing rehoming or up for adoption. Let’s look at the average initial costs of bringing home a Maltese dog.
Some people make the heartbreaking decision to rehome their dogs due to no longer being able to provide them with the care they need but are happy to send them to a loving new home for free. Your best chance of getting a Maltese for free is to check out rehoming websites and social media groups.
Shelters and rescue organizations typically have adoption fees in place to help cover the general care and medical costs of the dog, and to prevent those with ill intentions from getting their hands on an animal. Adoption fees can be as little as $50 all the way up to hundreds of dollars depending on the dog’s age and needs. Puppies under 6 months of age tend to be the most expensive.
From our research, the majority of Maltese puppies sold by breeders fall between $800 and $2,000 each. Maltese mixes tend to be a little less expensive, with prices starting from around $500. If you choose to buy from a breeder, always go for an experienced and reputable one that conducts health screenings and has high standards of welfare.
Initial Setup and Supplies
Important procedures like microchipping, vaccinations, and spaying/neutering will vary in price depending on your location and where you have the procedure or service conducted. For example, some non-profit organizations offer these services at a reduced cost for pet owners experiencing financial difficulty.
The lower figures listed for these procedures below are the estimated costs for non-profit or reduced-fee organizations.
List of Maltese Care Supplies and Costs
|ID tag and collar
|Schedule of vaccinations
|Double-sided pin brush
|Pack of toys
|Food and Water Bowls
|Coat detangling spray (optional)
How Much Does a Maltese Cost Per Month?
The most basic costs are food, and heartworm, flea, and tick preventatives, but these costs can go up if you opt for pet insurance, need to buy replacement items like chew toys, are signed up for a food or toy subscription delivery service, or your Maltese needs emergency veterinary treatment.
Health care for dogs is about more than just going to the vet. A big part of keeping your Maltese healthy will involve choosing a high-quality, complete, and balanced food formula suitable for their age.
If you add pet insurance, this will further increase the overall monthly cost. Not everyone chooses to get pet insurance, but it’s worth at least thinking about it if, like most of us, you’re worried about potentially large treatment costs somewhere along the time.
A bag of high-quality dog food for small breeds that can last for around a month typically costs between $20 and $50 depending on the brand. High-quality wet food is often more expensive (for example, around $40 for a pack of 12 cans), so, if you’re on a budget, you might want to go for a big bag of dry food to save money.
Grooming is very important for Maltese dogs—especially those with long coats. A full grooming session for a Maltese dog by a professional groomer typically costs around $50, but this can be more or less depending on where you are. A nail trim costs around $10–$15, and the same goes for tooth cleaning. The most economical option is to groom your Maltese yourself.
Medications and Vet Visits
You’ll need to give your Maltese flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives every month or as often as your vet has advised. Treatments typically come in a box of six, which averages out to around $6 per month per treatment. If no vet visits or other treatments are necessary that month, this $6 could be your only expenditure.
If your Maltese needs to have a vet checkup with basic treatment, this could cost anywhere from around $30 to $100+. If you’re very unlucky and your Maltese needs emergency surgery or a special kind of treatment, you could end up spending a lot more, sometimes upwards of $1,000, which brings us to our next factor—pet insurance.
We got some pet insurance quotes for a 5-year-old purebred Maltese and found that the monthly cost is usually between $25 and $60 depending on the parameters you set in terms of the reimbursement rate, annual limit, and deductibles.
Optional add-ons like wellness plans and vet exam fee coverage (these vary depending on the provider) will increase the monthly premium, as will your Maltese’s age. Older dogs cost more to insure.
If you don’t get pet insurance, you won’t have to pay anything at all, but this could mean the full burden of expensive surgery or treatment falls on you at some point.
If you’re not using puppy pads to house-train your Maltese puppy, your monthly environmental maintenance cost should be just the poop bags necessary for picking up after your dog on walks. It’s best to buy a multi-pack of these to save money.
|Large pack of puppy pads (optional, around 40 pads in the pack)
|Pack of waste bags
If your Maltese already has some pretty solid toys, you may not need to replace these for a long time. You can find some sturdy and durable chew toys, balls, and obstacle feeders that can keep a dog entertained for months, and you can even have a go at DIYing your own toys to save money.
In addition to toys, your Maltese will go for a few daily walks, which is a crucial part of keeping them entertained, happy, and healthy. Luckily, this doesn’t cost a thing.
On the other hand, some choose to subscribe to dog toy box subscription services, which send you a pack of new toys (and sometimes treats) every month or so. These cost around $15–$35 per month depending on the service you choose. Some are even pricier.
Total Monthly Cost of Owning a Maltese
These figures factor in health care, entertainment, and environmental maintenance. The lowest figure ($31) is for the very basics like food, flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives, and waste bags. The higher figure ($375+) factors in extras like pet insurance, vet checkups, potential treatments and surgeries, replacement toys, and professional grooming services.
Additional Costs to Factor In
In addition to all the basics and the potential extra or one-off costs, you may, at some point, need to think about arrangements for your Maltese when you go on holiday. If you plan to travel with your dog, there’s the extra cost of a plane or train ticket for your dog to consider.
On the other hand, if you won’t be traveling with your dog but aren’t lucky enough to have a friend or family member who can look after them for free, you’ll need to consider boarding or pet sitting. Options include having a pet sitter stay at your home, sending your dog to a sitter’s home, or boarding your dog at a dog boarding facility.
Owning a Maltese on a Budget
Parenting a dog is always going to cost money, but there are certainly ways to budget and bring those costs down.
Saving Money on Maltese Care
You can save money on general care by grooming your Maltese at home instead of sending them to a groomer. It’s a bit trickier when it comes to vet bills, but, if you’re worried about not being able to cover medical costs, here are some options:
To recap, the first-time costs of buying a Maltese range massively depending on where you get the dog from. Rehoming and adoption are the most budget-friendly options, whereas buying from a breeder can cost hundreds or even thousands.
The initial cost for supplies like beds and food bowls and procedures like vaccinations can range from a couple of hundred to several hundred dollars. When it comes to ongoing general care, if you just get the basics every month and don’t need to replace anything, you may be able to get away with spending around $30 a month.
However, if your Maltese needs to see a vet, requires treatment for a condition, or you opt for extras like groomers and pet insurance, you could pay hundreds or, worst case, even thousands if expensive surgery or special treatment is required.
The truth is, it’s very hard to predict how much your Maltese could cost you over the course of their lifetime because, sometimes, quite simply, the unexpected happens. You could spend very little one month, then, the next, be hit with an unexpected vet bill. For this reason, it’s important to always be prepared for all possibilities.
Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock