Learning how to groom a Maltese can be straight forward once you are pointed in the right direction.
Maltese is a breed of dog that belongs to the toy group. They are small fluffy dogs that are playfully cuddly and generally easy to train because of their love of food. The origin of their breed can be traced into the Mediterranean country of Malta, thus bearing the name Maltese. Owners of this breed need to learn how to groom a Maltese at home (bathing, brushing, teeth cleaning etc.) as well as how often to visit a dog grooming salon for clipping.
How to Groom a Maltese
Owning this breed carries with it the added responsibility of managing an ongoing Maltese grooming regime. There are a number of tasks that need to be done at home in between grooming salon visits for clipping.
Brushing Your Maltese
It goes without saying that brushing your pet’s coat should be done frequently, preferably daily if it is relatively long. A metal comb and a steel brush having balled ends are often recommended so that you can gently comb and brush the hair without pulling too much. Brushing regularly helps to keep your pet free from those tangled bits and will add to his overall hair health.
If you find that the odd knotted area has previously gone unnoticed, you will need to spend a little more time and patience in teasing them out. You can try using a finer brush to deal with it, but if that doesn’t work, you may need to carefully cut out the offending knot with a pair of scissors. I have had a lot of success with using a mat rake. This tool allows you to comb through the hair without pulling too much. Quite often the matted tufts come away quite easily after a session with the mat rake.
This is probably a good time to also mention the need for brushing dogs teeth. This is one task that dog owners often overlook, simply because it is not talked about as much. But if this is done regularly, and from an early age, then you can avoid hearing from your vet further down the track that some major plaque removal is necessary.
Trimming Hair around the Paws
If your Maltese is inclined to have any allergic reactions to foods or over heating in general, you may want to trim the hair around the feet. I find there is often a tendency to lick and chew the paws especially when the hair gets too long in that area.
Depending on your pet’s habits, you may want to trim a little around the butt area as well to aid in cleanliness.
Bathing your Maltese
After brushing, bathing is the next most frequent task you will need to undertake in your Maltese grooming routine. Depending on your dog and his doggy odors, you will probably find that you need to do this at least monthly and in some cases every couple of weeks. I have the cutest of little Maltese Shih Tzu dogs but he can have his bath one week and then be ready (doggy smell-wise) for another bath 7 to 10 days later, depending on the length of his coat. It is not recommended to bathe your pet too often otherwise you risk washing away some of his natural oils.
Unless it is an exceptionally sunny day, I prefer to dry off his coat, brushing it at the same time. This tends to reduce the number of matted knots. It also provides good quality time during which your pet can enjoy your company while you rub him down. I find now that my pet actually enjoys the luke-warm air flowing from the dryer, particularly in winter.
Maltese Ear Cleaning
Ear cleaning is usually taken care of each time you visit the groomer; this generally involves excess hair growing from inside the ears being gently plucked out. If you prefer to groom your own dog at home (clipping as well as brushing and bathing), then this is a skill you will need to learn. I say a skill, because unless done carefully, you will probably get a negative reaction from your pet.
Maltese Nail Trimming
Similarly, the nails will need to be trimmed every few months or so. If your dog is an outdoor pet, then he may be wearing down his nails in natural manner simply from running on hard surfaces. But if he is an indoor dog, as many Maltese are, then you will need to make up for the absence of natural filing surfaces by having his nails trimmed or by trimming them yourself. Again there is an art to doing this successfully and in a pain-free way, both for your dog and yourself. Check out our post on How to Clip Dog Nails for some step-by-step advice.
Avoiding Eye Irritation in your Maltese
I suspect that this is one breed that is more often than not taken to a professional groomer for attention every 6 to 8 weeks. However, even if you do attend a grooming salon regularly, you will still need to check on the hair around your Maltese’s eyes. Any hair growing into his eyes will be most uncomfortable and merely promote eye irritation adding to the possibility of tear stains beneath the eyes. If the latter happens anyway, you can attempt to remove some of the tear stains with a cotton bud moistened in water.
How to Clip a Maltese
If you would like to add clipping to your Maltese grooming skills (or if you are learning to be a groomer) then you will find the section on Dog Grooming Courses very useful, particularly the resources that offer videos. Alternatively, you can browse the Dog Grooming Books section to see if you can find the resource that you are looking for.
~ DGCO ~