Maltese enjoy a regular walk or playing outside. They often remain playful well into old age. Because they are active indoors and don’t require a great deal of exercise, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to keep them in good shape.
As a rule of thumb, wait until your Maltese puppy is 8 months old to walk very far with him, because his bones are still developing. Let your puppy play at his own pace in your fenced yard until he is mature, and then take him to your vet for a checkup before embarking upon a regimented exercise program.
Maltese definitely are housedogs and don’t tolerate extreme heat or cold well. Many people paper train their Maltese so they don’t have to take them outdoors when the weather is too hot or cold.
Recommended daily amount: 1/4 to 1/2 cup of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
Keep your Maltese from getting fat by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day instead of leaving food out all the time. You can tell if he’s getting overweight by giving him the hands-on test.
Place your hands on his body, thumbs along the spine and fingers spread out over his sides. If you can feel his ribs, he’s in good condition, but if they’re buried beneath a layer of fat, it’s time to put him on a diet and cut back on the amount of treats you’re giving.
Some Maltese have delicate digestive systems and may be picky eaters. Eating problems can occur if your Maltese has teeth or gum problems as well. If your Maltese is showing discomfort when eating or after eating, take him to the vet for a checkup.
Note: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference — the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you’ll need to shake into your dog’s bowl.
For more on feeding your Maltese, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.
Coat Color And Grooming
The stunning Maltese coat is pure white, silky, and straight, reaching all the way to the ground. Maltese don’t have the undercoat typical to many breeds and don’t shed much.
On the down side, Maltese coats mat easily and become dirty. In addition, Maltese are prone to unsightly tear stains on their faces.
Gently brush and comb the coat of your Maltese daily, even if he has a sporty short trim. This helps to prevent mats and keep him clean. Beautiful though they may be, Maltese become dirty easily and usually must be bathed weekly.
If your Maltese has long hair and develops mats, first try to work out the mat gently with your fingers, using a detangler spray or a coat conditioning oil. After you’ve pulled the mat apart as much as you can with your fingers, use the end tooth of the comb to loosen individual hairs. Never try to pull the entire mat out at once with the comb or brush, and make sure all mats are removed prior to bathing your Maltese as mats tend to get tighter when wet.
You should check your Maltese’s ears at least once a week. If they seem sensitive or have a bad odor, take him to the vet for a checkup. Also, Maltese grow a lot of hair in their ears that needs to be removed. Ask your groomer or vet to do this or to show you how to pluck the hair at home.
Trim his nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you’re not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers.
Tear and face staining are big problems for most Maltese owners. You should expect tear staining to begin when your puppy is four to five months old (that’s the age that their adult teeth are coming in). To prevent or lessen tear- and face-staining of your adult Maltese, follow these steps:
- Clean the eyes daily with warm water to prevent tear stains, and wash your Maltese’s beard after meals.
- Teach your dog to drink from a water bottle. Water that has a high mineral content can cause staining, so consider purchasing purified bottled water for your Maltese.
- Feed your Maltese from a stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowl, not a plastic one. Be sure to wash your dog’s bowl between feedings.
If these measures don’t clear up the tear stains, consult your veterinarian. Your Maltese could have clogged tear ducts, allergies, or other health problems that are causing the excessive tearing.
While there are many products on the market to whiten your dog’s hair, be very careful if using them or any home remedies. Many of them can damage your dog’s hair, and never, never allow any products or foreign substances to get in your dogs’ eyes.
Many people put the hair on the top of their Maltese’s head into a topknot to keep it away from the eyes. If you decide to do this, be sure to use coated bands that won’t break the hair. Some people clip their dog’s hair short, on its head or all over, so grooming is easier.
Brush your Maltese’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
If you notice that your Maltese’s cute black nose is turning pink, he might not be getting enough sunshine. Take him outside on a sunny day, or if it’s too cold to do that, take him for a car ride. The type of bowl that he’s eating and drinking from could also cause the pigmentation change. If it’s plastic, pitch it. When a female is in heat, her nose can turn pink also.
Begin accustoming your Maltese to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Children And Other Pets
Most Maltese breeders will not sell puppies to families with young children. It’s just too easy for a toddler to injure a tiny Maltese by dropping him, stepping on him, or holding him too tightly. He does much better in a home with quiet older children or adults only who will treat him with the care he needs.
Maltese can get along with other dogs and cats if they are socialized to them at an early age. They’re unaware of their tiny size, however, and must be protected from taking on dogs that are ten or twenty times their size.
This article was originally published by Dogtime.com (source)
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