Grooming Your Maltese Dog
Brushing:With a short hair style (like a puppy cut) you can groom your Maltese less often (about once a week), so most pet owners prefer to give their dog a puppy cut. With a full length coat, you may have to spend 20-30 minutes on brushing daily, depending on how active your Maltese is. The basic rule is to not allow the hair to be matted. :-) Spray some water or leave-in conditioner on the hair and use a slicker brush all over the entire coat to remove loose hair and then use a comb to "find" any matted hair.
Tools we like: comb - especially Greyhound Comb (reach deep into coat - for lightly to moderately matted hair), flea comb (great for combing off eye boggies and reduce eye stain), Slicker Brush (for smoothing coats and/or removal of loose hair)
Products we like: Diamond Eye (cleans tear stains), PetSilk Leave-in Conditioner (helps reduce static in the hair), PetSilk Liquid Silk (gives silky coat), and Crown Royale Magic Touch grooming spray (Formula 1 is best for Maltese's fine coat).
Bathing:Bath your Maltese only with top quality gentle shampoo and conditioner for dogs (never use the products for humans - they have different pH values)! I bath my dogs whenever they are dirty - it ranges from once a week to once every other month - more often during summer, less often during winter and also depending on their activity level. Bathing too often you may over-dry the skin and hair. Using a moisturizing formula shampoo and conditioner and leave-in conditioner during winter helps reduce the static. Always blow dry your Maltese following his/her bath and never use the high heat setting because it could ruin the hair by causing it to break more readily and causing your fur-baby to be too hot!
Products we like - and many show dogs use these products too:
1. We can't live without Pet Silk liquid silk (leave-in conditioner) - http://www.petsilk.com/
2. We use a few different kind of pet shampoo (pH-balanced just for dogs) right now - taking turns with them: Crown Royale BioVite (Formula 1) shampoo, PetSilk shampoo, Summerwinds, E-Z Groom Crystal White Shampoo, #1 All Systems
3. Love this Fine-L-Shine - Creme Rinse Conditioner from http://www.summerwinds.com/CoatCare.html
Tear Stain:See Tear Stain page
Haircut:Find a good groomer who handle dogs in a gentle manner and has a clean environment with well circulated air, and has enough helpers in the shop. Ask for hand dried (not just a blower set beside a cage to dry the wet dog) grooming. Get a haircut style that suits your lifestyle - if you have lots of time grooming your dog then get a medium to long length trim, or else just get him a puppy cut! It is better to have a cute short haired Maltese than a matted long hair Maltese! Matted hair makes a dog very uncomfortable.
Trimming:Toenails, and some fur between the toes (on the paw) and around the eyes need to be trimmed off weekly. So, you can ask the groomer or vet to teach you how to do that between major grooming appointments
Ear Care:Maltese are drop-eared dogs with excessive hair in their ears. You should have the hair removed to allow air to circulate and avoid ear problems. This can be done when a dog is professionally groomed, but also can be done at home - use ear powder (can be purchased at Pet Food and Supply Store), sprinkle a small amount on the ear canal making sure to cover the ear hair. Holding the ear flap up with one hand, use your fingers to gently pluck out the hairs growing in the ear canal. If you still don't feel comfortable doing so, ask the groomer or the vet to show you how easily it can be done. Note: regular ear checks are important for Maltese. If there's any indication of ear problem, like: head and ear is sensitivity to touch, heavy wax buildup inside, debris, inflammation, strong odour, shaking or scratching the ears or tilting the head to the side, TAKE your Maltese to see the vet immediately!
Dental Care:Brush your Maltese's teeth at least once a week with doggie toothpaste and brush (I actually prefer using the human babies' tooth brush because they are very small and soft.) to avoid bad teeth and breath! Dental chews also help, but too much can lead to diarrhea. If your Maltese's gum is red (or dark pink) and the teeth has tartar buildup or he's pawing the face constantly, take him to the vet!
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Published on 2004-01-07 and updated on 2009-02-22