New Maltese puppy? What to do next! Home
If you feel that you don't have the energy for a puppy, consider an older Maltese.
Older Maltese are very adaptable to new environments and quickly make themselves part of their new family, allowing those of us who could not raise a young puppy to have the company of a Maltese.

There are many Maltese Rescue Organizations that have older Maltese ready for placement.

Crate Training - What it's all about!
Most experienced dog people are advocates of crate training - a method of dog management which involves keeping the dog confined in a crate. Crating is especially appropriate for Maltese because they are small; they take well to crating and thus can avoid many risks.

Crating aids in housetraining! The fact that dogs are disinclined to relieve themselves where they have to sleep is an important factor in teaching toilet habits. A Maltese over 6 months old can usually "hold it" 8 hours is kept quiet in a crate while his owner is working or sleeping.

As an owner of a crated Maltese you will never come home to a potty mess on the rug, chewed electric cords or unraveled toilet paper! A crated Maltese is safer from burglars, service people, other dogs and visiting children. When the crated Maltese goes away from home, he's less likely to pick up germs or become lost, stolen, or hurt. Hotels are more likely to accept a dog they know will be confined to a crate.

When a Maltese is used to a crate, confinement at a veterinary hospital is not so bad. Likewise, the crate-trained Maltese is not overly stressed when he has to be confined for unusual situations like traveling, moving, boarding, when a female is in heat, or recuperation from an illness.

An investment in a crate is small compared to cleaning or replacing carpet or vet. bills for a broken leg. A crate or exercise pen approx. 2' x 3' is a good size to consider especially if the dog will be confined for several hours. For short term or for traveling, a lightweight Vari-Kennel #100 or #200 is a good choice. All things considered, a Maltese in a crate is a safe, and happy in thier own little "space".

Housebreaking Tips - Remember that a young puppy does not have complete control over its elimination - the smaller the breed, the more often they must go. Frequent trips to the yard (or papers if you want a paper-trained dog) are very necessary in the first weeks. Do not play or talk to the puppy on these outings; he is learning that this is the elimination time; not play time. Always take him to the same area for this purpose. When he goes, lavish praise to reinforce his behavior - and then allow him in to play. If, within a reasonable amount of time, he doesn't go, it's a good idea to put him back in his crate for a short time and then try again later.

Use frequent periods of crate time to advantage (young puppies need a lot of rest) to avoid mistakes in the house. The trick is to prevent mistakes from happening in the first place, so don't hesitate to confine him especially when you are unable to watch him. Your love and approval are necessary to your puppy and he will do anything to earn them.

Health and Feeding Requirements - The American Maltese Association highly recommends that you do not purchase a puppy under 12 weeks of age. A puppy under this age is subject to stress from conditions such as overhandling and not getting enough rest or refusing to eat due to changes in home and/or food. This stress can result in "hypoglycemia" - a condition in which the blood-sugar level drops causing seizures and possible coma and an emergency visit to the veterinarian. See our Health Issues page. Your puppy or adult should be accompanied with a veterinarian certificate stating the health and condition of the dog as well as a record of vaccinations. For the protection of the puppy, the seller and the buyer, the puppy should have received at least one inoculation against distemper, hepatitis and parvo virus before going to a new home.

The Maltese is basically a healthy dog and can live 12 or more years. To contribute to his longevity and health, your Maltese should have regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations, adequate exercise and a diet of premium dog food - no "generic" foods, please. Ask your breeder or veterinarian to recommend a good brand of food. Table scraps, especially bones, should not be fed and do not allow your Maltese to get overweight.

Care of Maltese

Teeth - Teeth of toy dogs are often a problem. Some dogs retain their baby teeth too long, particularly the canine teeth. In this case, duplicate sets of teeth may be seen at the age of about 6 mos. Retained baby teeth can cause malocclusion, since they prevent adult teeth from growing into their proper position. These baby teeth should be removed by a veterinarian. Teeth should be cleaned regularly. Gum (or periodontal) disease is one of the most common problems causing formation of tartar bad breath, receded gums, loose or infected teeth and their eventual loss. In severe cases, it can lead to serious generalized infections and heart and kidney on the market today. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the best method.

Ears - In drop-eared breeds such as Maltese, the ears should be kept clean and free of excess hair and debris. Your Maltese will alert you to problems by scratching or shaking his head and the ears will have a dark, smelly secretion. At this point, veterinarian care is advised.

Toe Nails - Toe nails should be kept short. A good time to trim toe nails is after a bath while the dog is still wet as the nail is softer and the quick is easier to see.

Tear Stains - Some Maltese tear and stain more than others and are more likely to stain as puppies when they are teething. Try to keep the hair under the eyes dry, use vaseline in this area on clean dry fur. Use a fine-tooth comb or soft toothbrush dipped in warm water to remove the matter at the corner of the eye. Check your water, I always use bottled water, that ensures that there are no contaminents. Check your food source for food dyes, grain and additives that could cause an allergic reation in your puppy. (Moisten a paper towel and place a piece of kibble or treat on it for 1 hour, if you have coloration on the towel, you have food dye present.) There are many products available for excessive tearing and stain, you may wish to consult with your breeder or veterinarian.

Grooming - Grooming the Maltese coat is a particular concern of every prospective owner. The Maltese coat is not difficult to care for if you do a daily once-over with a pin brush or steel-tooth comb to remove any matts that may be forming. If you neglect the coat for any length of time and allow matts to build up, a grooming session to remove them will be a miserable experience for you as well as your Maltese. If the dog becomes so matted you need to take it to a groomer, the groomer may have no choice but to cut the coat down very short.

For daily brushing, dilute some coat conditioner with water and lightly spray the coat as you brush to keep from breaking the hair and cut down static. Keep hair out of the eyes by either putting the hair in a single or double topknot, or keeping it trimmed over the eyes. The coat should be thoroughly brushed, with all matts removed, before bathing. For bathing, use a good quality shampoo designed for white dogs and a conditioner for long-haired breeds. After bathing, wrap the dog in a towel to remove excess water; then proceed to blow dry the coat, brushing the hair as it dries. Be sure your dryer is not too hot! Don't let your Maltese "air dry" - his coat will not look its best. Your Maltese can also be taken to a professional groomer.
Check out the Maltese Links page for grooming videos!

All Maltese look best in their long, flowing coat of white hair, but as a pet owner, you may not be able to or have the time to spend keeping the hair clean, brushed and matt free. You do have other options, ther are many adorable "puppy cuts" which can be done periodically by a groomer.

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