The Maltese is a small toy dog that has its heritage in the Central Mediterranean Area and Malta in particular – hence the name. This dog was well documented throughout the history of the Roman Empire. If you think modern Americans are the first culture to be smitten by small breed dogs, you are mistaken. The Romans doted on these beauties and the aristocracy carried them around in way that would have made Paris Hilton jealous. Even the New Testament references this regal breed, for the Roman dignitary Publius gifted a Maltese to the Apostle Paul.
Maltese dogs have long, shaggy hair, that is often either white or brown. They only grow to roughly 7-10 inches tall, and they have a stare known to melt hearts around the globe. Maltese shed very little and are extremely friendly dogs, making them pretty good pets despite a well-documented stubbornness.
Maltese Food and Health
If you have any interest in health and fitness, then you may have come across the ‘Paleo diet’. This is a diet that encourages us to eat only what our ancestors would have eaten during the Palaeolithic era. This is one of the less controversial types of diet and is generally thought to help make us healthier and fitter. And guess what? The best diet for the Maltese is a similar concept!
The difference is that they need to eat what their ancestors ate – what wolves are still eating today. While your Maltese might look pretty different from a wolf, in terms of evolution and biology they are still closely related.Guess what wolves didn’t eat? A bunch of processed dog food!
They also didn’t eat grains or wheats, or refined sugars. And that’s why the best natural dog food for puppies doesn’t include those things. This becomes even more important for small dogs and puppies too – because they are so much more sensitive to toxins in their diet.
If you have a small dog and you give them a chocolate bar, then they could die from the sugar overdose. That should instantly tell you something about what that kind of food is doing to your own health. But it also demonstrates just what a concern it should be that so many dog food products include added sugar. Here’s the problem: dog food manufacturers want you to buy their products. That’s understandable. And seeing as most of us don’t do all that much research on the top dog foods for puppies, we don’t have much information to go on. So how do we decide if we should order more of the dog food we bought last?
Nutrients for your Maltese
So now you know how to feed your dog generally and you know why it becomes even more important to avoid sugars and other harmful ingredients when you’re feeding up a smaller dog.
When your Maltese is very young for instance, then you may wish to consider a training collar. These deliver a very small shock when your dog misbehaves, making it much easier for you to get them to behave appropriately. That said though, some people find the idea of a training collar to be cruel and so would rather stay away from it – friendlier alternative is the clicker, which we will discuss further in this post.
Even if you opt against a training collar, you should use a regular dog collar rather than a dog harness while training. This allows you to provide more immediate feedback and thus will ultimately be safer for your dog and lead to them being happier much sooner.
Once your dog has become acclimatized to walking, you may then choose to switch to a harness. This wraps around your dog’s chest and torso rather than their neck, and in doing so is much more comfortable and less likely to dig into their neck.
That said, a regular collar is likely to be fine too, owing to the small size of the Maltese. As a toy breed, they don’t have the size or strength to pull hard against the collar, meaning that they won’t inadvertently choke themselves!
When choosing the collar, make sure that it is tight enough that you can’t fit a whole finger between it and your dog’s neck. That might sound less comfortable, but in fact it means that your dog isn’t going to run and then ‘hit’ the collar with their neck and creating a jolting effect that can be painful. Tighter = more comfortable. Make sure then that you can find a collar small enough for your Maltese – and that it has enough holes in order to adjust the collar small enough.
Think too about aesthetics. What look will suit your pup?
Best Crates, Beds, and Doghouses for Maltese
Just take a look at the luxurious coat of your Maltese and you should be able to tell right away that these are not dogs that should be kept in the garden! Dogs are social animals and they are not happy when left outside for long periods – don’t use their dog house as their home.
Rather, the purpose of a dog house is to give your dog somewhere to hide from bad weather or the shade when they are outside playing, or outside for short periods of time when you need quiet. This is a temporary outhouse or summerhouse, not a permanent residence!
With that in mind, your dog house just needs to provide a little shelter and dryness while your pup is outdoors. It also needs to be big enough to house your dog of course, but seeing as Maltese are very small, this is usually fairly simple to accomplish.
Dog beds are for indoor use and give your dog somewhere to sit in the house that they will be comfortable and that is their own. A dog bed like foam waterproof dog beds should be padded and comfortable and big enough for your Maltese to stretch out. You may also think of looking for a bed that has space for some of their toys. This is another way they can make it their own and bring their scent here – which will make them comfier and happier. That means more peace and quiet for you!
Maltese pups enjoy playing and are very social. They are also relatively small with weaker jaws compared with large dogs though, so keep this in mind when getting them dog toys to chew like this highly recommended dog chew toy.
Dogs enjoy chewing not only for fun, but also partly in order to help their teeth. When they chew it can help them to clean their teeth as they produce more saliva – which is disinfectant – and as they strengthen their jaws. It can also help to clear and remove plaque.
This is particularly important when your Maltese is a puppy, as they will be teething. Look for a toy that is the right size and toughness for them to dig their teeth into – such as a KONG extreme dog toy. Kong’s are coded for different sized dogs, and are made from a material that is ideal for chewing.
Dogs like Maltese also love playing with humans. A great toy for your pooch then is anything that you can play with together: such as a piece of rope that they can use in a tug of war.
Beware of spending a lot of money on expensive toys. You can actually make your own very easily, or keep your dog happy with a range of cheaper alternatives. For instance, go to your local charity shop and pick up a second-hand kids’ toy and they’ll love pulling them apart and removing stuffing. Just make sure they are safe with no small/hard parts.
Likewise, many dogs will really enjoy a plastic bottle. Remove the lid so that they can’t hurt themselves and then watch as they enjoy the scrunching noise it makes!
Grooming Insights for Maltese owners
One of the big advantages of the Maltese breed is that they don’t shed fur. That means that they are hypoallergenic and it means that you aren’t going to be constantly sneezing whenever you’re in their presence! It also means they don’t malt too much, which in turn means you aren’t going to have hairs all over the carpet and all over your clothes. All good things!
That said, this does mean that you will need to take your Maltese to be professionally groomed. It is important that you do this, as the process will help to remove loose hairs and dead skin, which can otherwise cause issues such as infection. Likewise, if you don’t groom your Maltese regularly, then it can experience knotting and other issues! This is the price of such a beautiful coat…
You’ll want to take your dog to be professionally groomed then about once every four to six weeks. On top of that, you should also groom your dog yourself which means regularly brushing them. This is particularly important when they are puppies, as it will help to get them used to the experience.
Grooming your dog and brushing them is the perfect time to look out for ticks and fleas. Neither is very welcome, but ticks are particularly troublesome. The best method for removing ticks is to pull them very gently from the body. Try not to apply enough force in order to burst or kill the tick. If you do this, then you will actually risk removing the body of the tick while leaving the legs embedded in your dog – which can lead to infections and other problems.
Related Post: Flea Combs for Dogs
You can also find tick removing tools, which you can scoop under the tick and then twist in order to remove them without the risk of infection.
If you find fleas, then you should use a flea product and fine comb like the ever popular FURminator to remove and kill as many as possible. It’s also important to put your dog bed through the wash on high heat, and to thoroughly wash the carpet – this will help to prevent re-infestation.
When having your dog groomed, there are plenty of options for how you want to have them cut. Some Maltese will have very long, luscious fur that drags along the ground as they walk. Others will have much shorter fur that can leave them looking like teddy bears. Arguably the shorter fur is a little easier to take care of, though it can actually create more issues with the hair digging into the ears etc.
There are many accessories that can help to make looking after your Maltese easier, while at the same time creating more fun activities for you to enjoy together!
A great tool to help you train your Maltese is something called a ‘clicker’. This is a device that you click as a ‘reward’ sign to your dog, to help them know when they’re doing the right thing.
When you first introduce the device, try to take careful note of how your dog is responding to it. Sometimes, a clicker will be too loud or piercing and this can actually scare the dog – which as you can imagine is rather counterproductive! If this is the case, then try wrapping your clicker in a cloth to soften the noise, or consider replacing it altogether.
Once you begin the dog clicker training proper, spend some time to first establish the link between the clicker and the reward. Make sure that the treat always follows the clicker immediately. Then make sure that you are quick to use the clicker so that the connection comes at the moment that the dog begins the correct behavior.
Another tip is not to use the clicker for anything else, other than clicker training. Don’t use the clicker to get the dog’s attention or when playing – this will only confuse them and hurt the effectiveness of the treat. What you can do though, is to establish a reward word that you can use alongside the clicker. This can be useful for when you don’t have the clicker to hand, though it still won’t be quite as effective as the quick, sharp clicker.
Dog Coats and Clothes
You can get dog coats for Maltese to help keep them warm in the colder weather. This is a great idea if you live in a colder climate but it can also just be very cute: there are plenty of dog costumes out there that are aimed at Maltese and other toy breeds. These look hilarious and can be very cute – while also keeping your dog warm!