Taking care of your dog consists of a number of different tasks that need to be performed. But how do you make sure you’re doing everything right?
You’re likely going to need some help and at least a bit of advice to help you along. That goes for everything from bathing and feeding to exercise and play.
But what about how to groom a Maltese? Do you know how to take care of this extremely important need for your dog?
Put it on the Daily Schedule
The first thing that you need to know about grooming your Maltese is that it should be routine. Each day you should be going through certain steps to make sure that they’re taken care of and that they’re looking their best.
The first part is wiping their eyes, which can easily get stains or which may leak fluids if they’re sick. You want to know if there’s anything there so you can take care of them. So, use a cotton ball or a washcloth soaked in just a little warm water, then use a little Vaseline to coat the area. Make sure you use a different cloth for each eye to avoid transferring a potential infection from one eye to the other.
Next up, you’ll need to brush out their fur. By doing this every day you’re going to reduce the chances of those thick matts and tangles that are nearly impossible to get out. All you need to do is use a detangling spray to smooth out the fur and then use a brush to comb it out. A slicker brush, pin brush or metal comb is best for a Maltese but not a natural fiber brush.
Finally, check over your dogs skin to see if hair is growing where it shouldn’t. They shouldn’t have too much hair around their ears or their paws, for example. You also want to make sure hair isn’t growing too thick or too long around their bottoms as this could cause problems when they have bowel movements.
Follow a Weekly Routine
Every week you should be going through a special routine as well. This routine is going to be a little more in-depth than your daily routine, and it includes washing your dog thoroughly to keep them looking their best.
The first part is brushing them thoroughly like you do daily. So, on bathing day you would start with combing out their fur and carefully working out any matts that do occur. Don’t try to comb out a matt as this could pull at their fur and their skin causing injury or making the situation even worse. You also want to remove the matt before you bathe them.
When you’re ready to give a bath with a best Maltese shampoo make sure you use a dog shampoo and conditioner rather than a product designed for humans. The pH balance of human shampoos is not designed for your dogs skin and could harm them. You want to soak your dog completely then put the shampoo onto their back in a straight line. Work it in from there and then rinse it out thoroughly. You can do the same with the conditioner.
Make sure that you dry your dog off when you get them out of the bath. You want to use a soft towel to pat them down but don’t rub the towel over their fur or remove too much moisture. If you want you can use a blow dryer or a hands free dryer to gently dry their fur over a low or medium heat while you’re brushing them. Don’t let their fur get too dry before you start brushing them.
Brush your Maltese’s fur from top to bottom after their bath and while their fur is still slightly damp. You want to start with the undercoat and then work your way up so you’re getting all of the fur and not leaving tangles behind. Work with the main part of your dog’s body first and then move to their face. If you notice long hairs where they shouldn’t be then trim them.
Next, get their nails trimmed but be careful with this process. You don’t want to cut too deep, which can cause extreme pain for your dog. You can use nail clippers to trim just the edge of the nail. Also, trim off any hair that might be growing in between their toes. This you can cut closer, just be careful not to nick the skin in the process.
Your Bi-Weekly Plan
Twice a week you’re going to need to go through a couple additional steps. This is where you’re going to brush their teeth to make sure they keep their mouth clean. If you can, brushing their teeth every day is a good idea. If you can’t then you should be brushing their teeth at least a couple times a week to keep them clean and healthy. You can do this with a baby toothbrush or a dog toothbrush and make sure that you use a dog toothpaste.
When you brush use only a small amount of toothpaste and rub it gently over the front of their teeth. This is going to help protect your dog from some of the more common types of tooth problems, like gingivitis, tooth loss, gum disease and tartar buildup. These are especially common with smaller dogs.
This is also a good time to clean their ears which you should do with a cotton ball. Make sure you use a separate cotton ball for each ear and soak it in an alcohol-based ear solution. Wipe the inside of the ear until it’s completely clean, this might take more than one cotton ball or it might even require an ear cleaning solution meant for dogs.
Additional Grooming Procedures
You want to make sure that whatever hairstyle your dog has it’s something you can keep up. Remember, you’ll need to spend a whole lot more time grooming them if their fur is long or if you get a more intense cut. If you’re not going to be able to take them to the groomers or trim them frequently you may want to opt for something simple.
Maltese can also experience tear stains under their eyes. If your dog has this you may need a tear stain remover to help remove them. This requires wetting the area under the eye with water and then using a cloth to apply the stain remover before rinsing it off again. Make sure you read the specific instructions for the product that you use and use it according to the instructions of your veterinarian as well.
Next, talk with your vet about any questions or concerns you might have about the way your dog looks (including staining) or how they’re acting. There could be a number of different reasons for these things including infections, illness or diet. Your veterinarian will be able to help you figure out what’s going on.
Your Maltese will generally have a good amount of hair growing in and around their ears as well. This happens naturally but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Instead, you want to pluck hairs that grow in their ears but do it carefully. Use an ear powder on the ear canal and the hair itself and gently pluck them out with your fingers to make it as easy as possible for your dog.
As you get into the process of grooming your dog regularly you and they will get more comfortable with it. This is important because it keeps your dog healthier and happier. So, if your dog isn’t thrilled about the grooming process give them a reward after and then keep at it regularly. They will gradually get used to it and be better willing to accept the process. You may also want to start out by doing short sessions so that they can get used to it before working up to full grooming.