Total Grooming Guide for your Maltese Dog

Here is the following equipment required for this guide:
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Cotton wool buds
Thornit powder
Teeth comb with metal handle (small)
Oster grooming comb with handle – great for removing tangles and dead coat
Rounded teeth prevent irritation
Metal forceps
Serrated jaws with lock
Nail clippers




Matts and Tangles

The Maltese needs to be thoroughly combed and brushed before bathing. Regular brushing and combing are necessary to prevent the coat from matting.

Matts and tangles may form very quickly if left unattended for just a few days, they will be impossible to eliminate with simple combing or brushing. Removing matts is very painful for the dog, and the torn out hair will hardly grow back. Regular care is therefore more preferable.

If matts do form, scissors are not necessarily the only option. The affected patches of coat can be soaked with a conditioning lotion and the matts/knots carefully plucked apart with your fingers.

Care has to be taken to reach all parts of the body in order to prevent matts/knots from forming and spoiling the coat.

Comb through with a metal comb specifically designed for matt prevention by working in layers from the belly upwards. First on one side and then the other.

Then comb the tail from the tip to the tail. Combing is done from the tips of the hair to the body, otherwise too much of the precious covering coat will be lost and your Maltese will look like a plucked chicken.

Once the work on the body has been completed the dog is made to sit facing you so you can attend to the beard and head. Extra care must be taken around the eyes.




 It is necessary to accustom your Maltese to the grooming routine when still a puppy.

A young dog that becomes accustomed to the caring hands of a human will remain easy to handle and willing throughout his life. Who would want every grooming session with their dog not to be a struggle, even if the dog is small?

Put your Maltese onto a grooming surface, preferably a grooming table and give him the command “stand”. A dog that is nervous on the grooming table sits down over and over again, fidgets about continuously or simply does not do what he is supposed to do is no fun to groom.

You need calm and obedient behaviour from your Maltese during grooming sessions. You have to be careful to prevent your dog from jumping or falling off the table as it would be easy to injure from such a fall.

If grooming is done regularly your dog learns to accept grooming and will relax and go to sleep and it becomes a pleasure for both of you.



Care of the Ears

In order to keep the ears clean and prevent inflammation, you must pluck the hair growing inside the ears at regular intervals. This aids in preventing the ears from being clogged up with wax. Cleaning the ears must never be attempted with cotton swabs since this may actually push dirt deeper into the auditory canal. Pet shops and vets offer liquid ear cleaning solutions, which can be applied by putting a few drops into the ear and massaging the ear so that the deposits of ear wax and dirt are loosened. The outer part of the ear is then carefully wiped clean with cotton wool. When the cleaning regime of the ears is complete, to prevent your dog getting ear mites “Thornet – Canker Powder” can be put in both ears using a cotton wool bud.

If your Maltese shakes his head frequently or scratches at his ears you should take him to the vet.



Care Of The Feet

The length of your Maltese’s toe nails should be checked on a regular basis. Since your Maltese is light on his feet, his nails are not worn down to a proper length through walking.

As a rule the nails should be level with the outline of the paw. They must never be clipped right from the front, but rather from beneath towards the pad. In the case of light coloured nails, it is relatively easy to determine where the “quick” (the vein that runs through each nail) ends, but this is not so obvious in the case of dark coloured nails.

Clipping dark nails requires a very careful approach to avoid cutting into the quick which would be very painful to the dog and result in bleeding. Just in case, you should have some“Trimmex” which stops the bleeding. If you are worried about using nail clippers you could use a file or electric nail grinder.

The fifth claw (dew claw) on the forefeet must not be overlooked; if neglected, it might eventually grow inward and cut into the leg. If the dog has very brittle, hard nails, trim the nails after a bath. Trim with care all the hair between the pads.




Despite his white coat, bathing your Maltese is actually only necessary if he is very dirty or in preparation for a show. Bathing too frequently can have negative effects on the skin and the coat, removing natural oils and causing dryness.

Most dogs don’t naturally enjoy their bath but you at least want yours to cooperate with you. Before bathing the dog, have the items you’ll need within reach so you don’t have to leave the dog unattended. First decide where you will bath the dog. Care should be taken that the surfaces are non slip.

Wet the coat thoroughly using a shower spray, a hose or a jug. Dilute the shampoo using only shampoo designed for dogs. Human shampoos are too harsh for dog coats and will dry them out.

Begin bathing by wetting the coat all the way down to the skin. Massage in the shampoo, keeping it away from his face and eyes. Rinse him thoroughly, again avoiding the eyes and ears, as you don’t want to get water in the ear canals. A thorough rinsing is important as shampoo residue is drying and itchy to the dogs.

After rinsing, wrap him in a towel to absorb the initial moisture. A high quality hair dryer with temperature control helps to prevent the hair from breaking and splitting. Use a warm setting.



Care of the Teeth

Some maintenance is required in order to keep the teeth healthy. Deposits of calcium salts contained in the saliva, in conjunction with food particles may show as brown deposits at the bases of the teeth, commonly known as “tartar” – this appears to be particularly common in young as well as older dogs.

Bleeding and inflamed gums can lead to tooth loss and bad breath. Regular brushing of the teeth is important and toothbrushes and toothpaste for dogs are readily available. Resistant tartar can only be removed by a vet who will use ultrasound to remove the deposits.



Credit to Stacey Curtis & Angela Short for images  Bitch  – Callucci’s Pearls Legacy