Maltese Dog Care

Maltese dogs make great pets, especially if you're looking for a lap dog, but if you don't enjoy grooming, they may not be the right choose for you. Because of their long, white coats, they require more grooming than most breeds.

Bathing and Grooming

Maltese dogs are known for their beautiful, long white coats, so if you choose to adopt a maltese, you're responsible for keeping that coat clean and free of mats. To properly care for your maltese, you need to brush your dog daily. Without this daily brushing, dirt can accumulate and mats can form.

When you first bring your dog home, you should teach him to tolerate brushing by making it very positive. When you first begin, don't plan to perform a complete grooming session. Instead, brush for only a few seconds while rewarding with treats. This often works best by smearing peanut butter or liver paste in a bowl and letting your dog lick during grooming.

Your maltese will also need to be trimmed occasionally, so a monthly trip to the groomer may be in order.

You will also need to bath your maltese monthly to clean the white coat. However, you don't want to bathe too often as it will destroy your dog's natural skin oils, making skin red and itchy. By brushing daily, you clean out most dirt as well as stimulate the natural oils. This reduces the need for frequent bathing.

Teeth Care for Maltese Dogs

While maltese dogs are not prone to many genetic diseases, they often have poor tooth and gum health. To avoid this, make regular teeth brushing a part of your grooming routine.

Again, expose your dog to the toothbrush in small doses with lots of reward. Don't expect to brush the whole mouth while allowing your dog to become accustomed to this practice. Instead, reward for just brushing a couple of teeth and end the training session.

Reducing Allergies for a Maltese

Dogs with white fur are often prone to skin irritation and allergies, but there are a few things you can do to reduce your dog's irritation. First of all, when bathing, use a shampoo with oatmeal or aloe vera, which tend to be easier on your dog's skin.

In addition, feed your maltese a high quality food. Often, skin problems and allergies can be triggered by ingredients in low quality food, such as corn, wheat, preservatives, dyes and meat byproduct. If your dog seems to struggle on a certain food, try another protein source. The proper diet will help tremendously.

Proper Maltese Exercise

Just because a maltese is a lap dog doesn't mean they don't require exercise. Though they don't require as much as many breeds, they should still get a daily walk for mental stimulation and socialization. In addition, many enjoy games of fetch that can provide additional exercise.

However, be careful with allowing your maltese to run and jump excessively. Because they are small, jumping on and off furniture and in and out of cars can take a toll. Think about providing your dog with ramps so he can preserve his joints and bone structure well into old age.