Text Box: Maltese Ears Your Maltese will get excessive hair in and around the ear canal. You should have the hair removed to allow air to circulate. This can be done when a dog is professionally groomed, but may also be done at home, check your Maltese ears on a weekly basis. This is especially important because your Maltese is a drop-eared dog with excessive hair in their ears. Indications of ear problems are sensitivity to touch, debris, inflammation, strong odor, shaking or scratching the ears or tilting the head to the side. These are conditions that require a visit to your veterinarian. To remove the hair, sprinkle baking soda on your fingers (be careful not to get it in the ear canal!) or use ear powder, available at pet supply stores. If you use ear powder, sprinkle a small amount on the ear canal making sure to cover the ear hair. Holding the earflap up with one hand, use your fingers to gently pluck out the hairs growing in the ear canal. Most Maltese will not mind this because it does not hurt. Don't pull any hairs on the inside of the earflap. 
Toenail Care Clip your Maltese nails under good lighting. Most Maltese nails are white or light colored, and the darker area of the quick is unmistakable. However, some Maltese have dark nails and the quick is not visible. In this case, clip only the ends of the nails. You may have to cut them more frequently to achieve a proper length. Cut at a perpendicular (90 degrees) angle to the nail. Remember to also clip the nail of the dewclaws (if your Maltese has not had them removed as a puppy), the fifth nail on the upper inside of its ankle. Maltese have dewclaws only on the front feet. After you clip them, filing the nails with a human or dog nail file helps to smooth the sharp edges.
 Removing Mats  Its inevitable that at some point your Maltese will develop mats in his or her coat. Some coat textures more than others will be a problem. If you find a mat, Pull the mat apart as much as possible with your fingers; then use the end tooth of the comb to loosen the individual hairs. This can be tedious process but hopefully it will work for you and eliminate the need to have to cut the mat out leaving a hole in the coat. Alternate between separating the mat with your fingers and separating it with the end tooth of your comb. Never try to pull the entire mat out at once with the comb or brush. Make sure all mats are removed prior to bathing your Maltese as mats tend to get worse (tighter) when set in water.
Bathing your Maltese Before beginning, brush and comb your Maltese thoroughly to eliminate dead hair, knots and mats (as described above). Have everything necessary towels, shampoo, conditioner etc. ready before you put your puppy in the tub. Clean your puppy's ears if necessary and place a small ball of cotton in the ears to soak up any water accidentally entering the ear canal (a common cause of infection). Make sure your Maltese is completely wet to the skin before applying shampoo. Apply dabs of shampoo to the back, each leg and under the tail of your puppy. Work up a good lather down to the skin, proceeding from back to front. Take special care to clean the anal area and paw pads. Rinse the coat thoroughly. At this point, you may add a conditioner. Work it into the coat well. At this time, any minor knots can be relaxed with a little extra conditioner. Using your hands, squeeze the excess water from the puppy, paying particular attention to ears, tail and legs. Run your hands down your puppy's body to "squeegee" water from the rest of the coat. Cover your Maltese with a towel. Use as many towels as are needed to get your dog to the "damp-dry" stage. During colder weather, you may want to dry your puppy in a small room (bathroom or laundry room) with a space heater. Make sure your puppy does not get chilled and is perfectly dry before you let him outside in cool or cold weather. You might want to use a hand held dryer. Make sure the dryer is not too close to your puppy and temp is set on WARM and the dryer temperature is NOT TOO HOT. Using a pin brush, brush the coat carefully in the direction the coat grows while blowing in order to straighten any waves or kinks and reach all layers of the coat. Do small sections at a time, making sure each section is dry before continuing on to another. Continue brushing and blow-drying the whole body, taking special care to completely dry ears, and feet.                                                     
 Teeth Cleaning  Your Maltese should have their teeth brushed each day (which is rarely done) especially older dogs, which are more likely to have plaque buildup. Do not use toothpaste made for humans as it may contain ingredients that can cause your Maltese to have an upset stomach. All good pet supply stores sell toothpaste made for dogs. You need to get your Maltese teeth off to a good start by learning proper techniques for brushing and brushing the teeth regularly, beginning when your Maltese is a puppy. Puppies are open to new experiences, so they are more likely to accept brushing than older dogs and will continue to do so into their adult lives.

Grooming Tips