Owning any pet is a commitment, and owning one like Maltese that lives quite long in dog years is definitely a huge commitment that shouldn’t be taken in a hurry.
The important things involved in caring for your Maltese are making arrangements for good health care, providing adequate living quarters, proper feeding, regular grooming, excellent training, and regular exercise.
Let us take an in-depth look into what it takes to properly care for a Maltese from puppyhood until the end of her life.
From the moment you get your Maltese until the end, you assume responsibility for her health and wellbeing. This is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly as your Maltese health can mean the difference between a gorgeous little companion and a burden to be wary of.
Consider the following health care tips for a great Maltese pet:
Register with a vet
Immediately after acquiring your Maltese, the first step you can take to ensure you give her the best life possible is to secure the services of a go veterinary doctor.
A vet is even necessary to access your Maltese before you complete purchase, so you are sure you are getting a healthy puppy. A good vet will inform you of any health issues your pup may have been born with and if she’s worth the purchase.
Furthermore, a vet is going to inform you of the medical regulations and any possible canine disease(s) that may be prevalent in your environment, and how to prevent or manage them.
When you secure a vet for your Maltese, you can arrange for regular checkups and have a familiar place to return to in the case of a medical emergency.
Apart from checkups and medical emergencies, a vet is also in the best position to give you excellent personalized care tips for your Maltese.
Your vet can inform you of the most trusted nutritional formula for your Maltese, a personalized grooming schedule based on the medical condition of your Maltese, foods to avoid, exercises to avoid, and can sometimes offer therapeutic measures for a traumatized dog.
Neuter/Spay your Maltese
Neutering and spaying are the processes of removing the reproductive organs of a male and female dog, respectively. Most vets advise that this procedure be carried out when the puppy is about six months old, just before puberty kicks in.
However, some advice that any time after eight weeks will do just fine. In recent times, this procedure has become preferred to having a dog with a complete reproductive system.
The major reasons most dog owners have their dogs neutered or spayed are to prevent unwanted puppies and avoid secondary sexual behavior like humping and marking.
Neutering and spaying also avoid those extremely uncomfortable two periods yearly when it is heat period and dogs with complete reproductive systems create a lot of mess.
But apart from the above reasons, spaying or neutering your dog has other health benefits.
Neutering your male Maltese helps to prevent health issues like testicular cancer and prostate diseases while spaying your female Maltese helps to prevent breast cancer and uterine infections. These are important procedures to help your Maltese live a long, full, and healthy life.
Keeping up with up-to-date vaccinations
Some vaccinations are required by law in certain states and others that are necessary regardless of the breed of the dog.
For instance: rabies, canine hepatitis, and canine distemper are some of the most common diseases to vaccinate your Maltese against. Most other types of vaccinations depend on factors like the amount of exposure due to the environment.
Flea treatment and deworming your Maltese are also other illness prevention measures that should be taken regularly. It’s advised that you flea-treat and deworm your Maltese once every 3-4 months – about four times a year.
A Maltese puppy may need to be dewormed regularly after she is two weeks old, and once every two months until she’s over a year old.
I know they are cute, and you probably want them around you all the time, but your Maltese need to have her living quarters. An indoor dog pen or a small gated space within your apartment will suffice.
This is one of the first things to sort out to ensure your Maltese lives well from the beginning. Her living quarters should be furnished with the following:
Dog bed, beddings, and blankets
For your Maltese to be comfortable in her living quarters, you would need to provide a sleeping area with a comfy dog bed. The beddings need to be changed routinely as Maltese can be pretty conscious of cleanliness and avoid sleeping on a soiled bed.
Also, the bed will need to be replaced as your puppy matures into an adult Maltese, or if it becomes ruined.
Because Maltese dogs can be sensitive to extreme temperatures, you would need to provide blankets during cold seasons, but the sheets won’t be necessary for warmer temperatures.
There are various types of dog beds out there, and if you get a comfortable bed, your Maltese will do anything within her power not to potty on the bed.
Toys are essential for dog care. Providing toys will help to reduce the chances of your Maltese converting important household items like rugs, furniture, or anything within her reach into her playthings.
Maltese is a breed susceptible to separation anxiety. Toys can be helpful as they can help reduce the effect of your absence on your Maltese.
While potty training your Maltese puppy or in situations when you will be away from home for quite a while, it may be useful to have an indoor potty area within your dog’s living quarters – preferably at a far corner.
Most of these patches are scented and attract dogs to poop on them, thereby further reducing the likelihood of your dog soiling her living area.
It is said that smaller dogs have more significant health issues, whether this is accurate or not what is for sure is that if your Maltese don’t get the nutritional balance she needs, she would be more likely to develop health issues.
Good food helps to build stronger immunity against diseases, makes her coat shinier, and results in a more robust and vigorous Maltese dog.
What to feed your Maltese
Your Maltese will need a combination of whole meals and treats to meet her nutritional requirements.
- Protein-rich diet: The primary ingredient in your Maltese food should be protein, not grains, or anything else. Dogs need lots of amino acids in protein to grow muscles to function well. Whatever product you decide to feed your Maltese should have protein as the first ingredient, and should not be less than a 4-star food.
- Treats: Treats like fruits, some vegetables, and raw bones add specific vitamins and minerals to your dog’s diet. Apart from its nutritional advantage, raw bones also help to stimulate your dog’s mind, and the process of chewing on raw meaty bones helps to clean her teeth and prevent the formation of tartar.
Having a feeding schedule for your Maltese makes life a lot easier for you as you can better control her feeding habits.
A puppy would need to go to the bathroom 10-15 minutes after a meal, so always leaving food and water within her reach would be detrimental to her housebreaking process. Plus, you could end up with an overweight dog if she always has access to food.
The best practices for feeding your Maltese include:
- Feed your puppy small portions of food 2 – 3 times daily.
- Your adult Maltese only needs to be fed once or twice daily.
- Always give treats after a full meal, most especially raw bone treats.
Things to avoid
- It’s crucial that you steer clear of all cooked meals, or other types of meat and feeds with artificial preservatives, spices, or coloring.
- Never give cooked bones to your Maltese.
- Always supervise her while she’s chewing on a bone.
- Never have food available 24/7.
The white coat of Maltese dogs is no accident. They were selectively bred to achieve it and maintaining it requires deliberate actions too.
Apart from the coat, the teeth, the ears, and the area around the eyes also need regular cleaning for your Maltese to look good and healthy. Let us take a look at the most critical Maltese grooming activities.
Grooming Maltese hair
Instead of thick fur, Maltese dogs have flowing hair, which will need to be maintained regularly to avoid it getting tangled.
To keep your Maltese in top shape, you should:
- Choose a Maltese haircut that is convenient for you to maintain. Longer hairstyles will require more grooming time.
- Brush your Maltese hair as regularly as possible. This should be a daily routine if you can and also depending on how long her hair is. Doing this will ensure your Maltese hair doesn’t get entangled.
- If your Maltese haircut is long, you should use a comb. Also, a comb should always be used for Maltese face.
- You should bathe your Maltese 2-3 times weekly while carefully applying shampoo and conditioner. She might require a more frequent bathing schedule, depending on the environment and other circumstances.
- Trim the hair around the face, ear, and anus. Trimming the hair around the anus would prevent poop clinging to your Maltese, causing her to smell and also increase the likelihood of stain in the long run.
Maltese are prone to tear stains, which can alter their appearance. Other than tear stains, because Maltese are entirely white, they can easily get stained when playing or while eating.
To prevent these stains from making permanent marks, you should do the following:
- Wipe underneath and around the eyes with warm water and soft cloth two to three times every day.
- Apply Vaseline around the eyes after wiping to reduce further the chance of tear stain that may lead to discoloration
- Wipe the face with warm water and washcloth twice daily to clean off any stains that may occur during feeding. Concentrate on the chin and the area around the mouth.
Taking care of teeth
Like humans, a Maltese can develop dental problems if proper care is not taken. Bones and chew toys are not enough to clean your Maltese teeth and prevent the formation of tartar.
You should ensure you brush her teeth at least 2-3 times weekly using prescribed dog toothpaste and a small toothbrush. A proper 3-5 minute brushing should be okay for each session.
Training is the process of educating your Maltese on how to behave correctly or how to perform specific tasks. It’s a process that requires a lot of patience, and you can do it by yourself or employ the services of a professional dog trainer.
You can also explore the option of dog group training sessions, which can help your Maltese socialize early and not develop shy behavior.
A few of the most popular types of training methods are:
- Training with the aid of positive reinforcements.
- Electronic training using an electric collar.
- Clicker – uses a device to pass signals to the dog.
Training is very crucial to have a great pet. You can train your dog to do an unbelievable amount of things. Still, the most common is training to walk on a leash, potty training, obedience, agility, behavior, and skill training.
Exercise is essential in the care for your dog and helps to reduce her chances of having a cardiovascular disease. It ensures your Maltese dog is in top shape, which can cause her to live a longer and healthier life.
Maltese puppies should get a 10-minute walk daily, while an adult Maltese should get a 20-minute walk or two 10 minute walk daily, covering a total distance of at least 1.2 kilometers.
This walk should be at a brisk pace that is not too fast for your dog to start running but quick enough for her to be panting by the end.
An occasional run is right for your Maltese, maybe when playing catch, tag, or only racing down a short distance. Most exercises like these not only make your Maltese healthier but also make her happier and help create stronger bonds.
If you apply the above care tips, your Maltese stands a better chance of living a long, healthy, and fulfilling life. You will also spend lesser amounts of money on illnesses, therapy, or other issues that might come up as a result of not applying one or more of the above.