The Maltese breed has been around for centuries but has only recently become a very popular pet for the average pet owner. Maltese are renowned for their small size, gentle nature, and their long silky hair that covers their body from head to toe. Because of this luxurious hair coat, the Maltese can require some extra care and there are some specific tips for grooming your Maltese that every owner should be aware of.
Caring for Silky Hair Coat
The long silky coat of hair is the logical place to start when caring for your Maltese. Keeping the coat brushed on a regular basis, at least every other day, is essential to avoid problems such as mats from developing. Once mats develop in the coat, they can be difficult to remove without pulling out the hair. Try and untangle the mat by hand first and then loosen with a comb. If all else fails then the only solution is to cut the mat out. Regular coat maintenance will result in good coat condition and the avoidance of mat problems.
Tips for Handling Ears
An extremely important area where many Maltese have problems is the ears. The long silky coat that the Maltese is known for, also causes problems in the ears. The breed has the disadvantage of having droopy ears and lots of hair in the ears. This can lead to numerous problems and infections. The extra hair in the ears causes a buildup of wax which can lead to irritation and the dogs further aggravation of the situation by scratching at the ear.
Checking the ears at least once a week is recommended by most veterinarians to inspect for wax buildup or irritation. If there is a lot of hair in the ear then trimming carefully with some blunt end scissors is the best way to remove it. Should there be wax buildup, then using a dry Q-tip to remove it should be done promptly. Any strong odors or inflammation in the ear should be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. Grooming your Maltese on a regular basis should help avoid problems in the ears.
Trimming Those Toenails
Trimming the toenails on your Maltese should be done every time you plan on grooming your Maltese. The nails on this breed tend to grow quickly. Many Maltese are indoor pets and thus have very little opportunity to wear down their nails on hard outdoor surfaces. Not trimming the nails can lead to your dogs injuring themselves by scratching or resulting in foot problems due to ingrown nails.
Avoiding these problems is easy as long as the nails are trimmed every two weeks or so. Using a pair of good quality dog nail clippers, clip perpendicular to the nail just in front of the quick. In most dogs, the quick is where the blood supply to the nail ceases and this can be seen as a color change in the nail. In dogs with black nails, use caution and trim only a little bit of the nail at a time until you start to see a little pink color. Then it is time to stop.
Grooming your Maltese on a regular basis will help you dog avoid common health problems that often have to be treated by a veterinarian. Make sure that you pay close attention to the condition of your Maltese’s ears and nails. Combing and bathing on a regular basis will keep their coats shiny and white. Take care of your Maltese, and your Maltese will return the favor by being a wonderful companion animal for many years to come.