6 Tips for Bathing a Maltese Puppy

Bathing your pet Maltese dog is a common task which must be undertaken as part of pet ownership. This time with your pet can be a wonderful bonding opportunity and can allow for some fun time to be spent together. When bathing your Maltese the frequency in which you bathe them, and the products that you use in this process, will make a substantial difference to the look and quality of your dogs coat.

This article will give you the best tips on getting the best results for your Maltese dogs coat and have it shiny and healthy.

When bathing your Maltese it is important to know the time frame between bathing sessions which should be ideally taking place. To ensure the dogs skin is not irritated by frequent bathing it is recommended that you bathe your Maltese once every 3 weeks. This rule applies to both adult dogs and puppies.

This frequency of a 3 week gap is recommended because your dogs body is constantly producing oils and these oils are required by your dog to keep their coat and skin hydrated and moisturized. These oils provide a natural barrier of protection for your dog and if you bathe your dog more frequently you will jeopardize the benefits of the oils. The purpose of these oils is about being able to penetrate into your dogs skin and coat.

Issues with bathing too frequently (more than once every 3 weeks)

Frequent bathing will strip the hair and skin of these oils and will have a negative effect on your dogs skin and coat.

Even using high quality shampoo and conditioner will strip and skin and coat of these oils and will make the dogs coat and skin become dry. Too much bathing combined with environmental factors such as cold weather can cause chapping and peeling and because the oils have been stripped they are not present to protect the skin and coat effectively.

Issues with not bathing frequently enough (more than once every 4 weeks)

While too frequently bathing a Maltese is an issue, more issues also occur if you leave your Maltese too long in between bathing. When bathing is too infrequent the body oils on the dog will begin to accumulate. When this happens the oils form a heavy layer on the skin and can begin to have negative effects. This can include blocking of the dogs pores and can also inhibit the air circulation on the skin, which can contribute to the oils transferring to the hair follicles which can then be attributed to the dogs coat becoming flat and greasy. It can also lead the dog to exhibit a negative odor. Most dog owners tend to leave it too long between baths especially in the colder months of Autumn and Winter.

Maltese Bathing
A freshly bathed Maltese puppy enjoying the country air

Our Six Best Tips for Bathing a Maltese Puppy

Bathing your Maltese puppy should be an enjoyable experience and it is a chance for you to bond with your dog. If you have a set of good guidelines to follow then you will find this can be an easy and enjoyable task for you both.

Some tips which may make bath time enjoyable for you and your dog are as follows:

  1. The size of the bathing area is very important. Small dogs can feel very overwhelmed in a big area such as a bath tub. It is more advisable to bathe your Maltese in a small area like a kitchen sink, laundry tub or baby bath on a counter. This smaller space will be less overwhelming and more comfortable for the dog. It will also make it easier for you to wash them as being in a smaller space makes it much easier to handle the dog and also being in a elevated space will be much easier on your back and require much less bending.
  2. Make sure you are working in a clean space. Be sure that the area is free from any residue such as dish soap or hand soap. It is important that the water you fill the space with is not diluted with any other soaps or chemicals.
  3. Make sure that all the the supplies you will need to bathe your Maltese are close by, ideally on the right side of your dominant hand for easy access. This will mean you will not have to worry about not having what you need and are prepared.
  4. Using a small washcloth, towel or no slip mat in the base of the sink or bath will help to prevent your dog from slipping and will make them feel more secure.
  5. If you are able to, use a spray nozzle attached to your hose. This makes it much easier to rinse the dog thoroughly.
  6. It is important to have a few inches of water already in the sink or bath before placing your Maltese in. If you place your dog in an empty sink or bath and then start the running water this can startle them. Once they are stressed it makes it much harder to bathe them so making sure they are as relaxed as possible is important

An Extra Two Tips for Preparation

Now that you have some tips for bathing a Maltese it is important to know how to prepare them for the bath. These tips are important and make the bathing process much easier and quicker.

  1. Prepare their coat first. This is as simple as brushing or combing the fur to remove any knots or matting of the fur. It is important to remove these knots and make sure all the hairs are separated and untangled. If your dog has a short coat is it still advisable to brush the coat anyway just to remove any loose hairs or dead skin cells.
  2. Put pieces of cotton wool in the ears of the Maltese. This is needed as water is very easy to get into the dogs ears. If water enters the dogs ear canals they are then susceptible to getting an ear infection. By placing cotton wool in the entry to the ears, not too deep, it will act as a barrier to keep any water from getting into the Maltese ear. Maltese ear infections are not nice for the dog so its best to take precautions.
A clean Maltese puppy
A clean Maltese puppy

How to Bath a Maltese in Detailed Instructions

  1. Begin by filling the sink with 2 to 3 inches of warm water. It is important to check the temperature to make sure it is not too hot or too cold. You can use your inner wrist to check the temperature is correct.
  2. Making sure you have all the products you need including a towel or non slip mat in the bottom of the sink or the bath pick up your Maltese with both hands and place gently in the sink or bath.
  3. Start wetting the dogs coat. Ideally this can be done with a gentle spay nozzle but if that is not available then you can also use a cup to pour the water over the body. You want to make sure all areas of the dog are thoroughly saturated.
  4. Apply a generous amount of shampoo. You want all areas of the dogs body covered and to be getting a good lather. Be gentle when lathering as Maltese dogs are only small and can be fragile which is why it is advised to use your hands to lather and not any kind of bath brush as they can be too rough.
  5. Using a shampoo which is natural is advised. You do not want harmful chemicals on the skin and coat of your dog, especially as dogs groom themselves by licking and you do not want them ingesting anything that could be harmful.
  6. Lather the shampoo and massage all the areas of the dogs body except for the face for 3-5 minutes. This will ensure the body is thoroughly cleaned and all areas except the face are cleaned.
  7. For the face it is advisable to take a small wash cloth with some bath water (which will contain traces of the shampoo) and wring this out to remove any extra water. Then use this damp cloth to clean the Maltese’s face. Once you get to the eye area, make sure you are wiping away from the inner eye and down underneath the eye, then go from above the inner eye up and over their eye brow area. This will ensure that the shampoo is kept away from the dogs eyes to avoid irritation and stinging.
  8. When you feel as though you are done with shampooing the dog it is time to rinse. Again ideally using the spray nozzle, rinse the dogs coat thoroughly, making sure to wash out all excess shampoo. It is important to make sure all the shampoo is removed as to not block or clog the dogs pores or to prevent the hair from being able to absorb the conditioner which is following the shampoo.
  9. This is the time to add the conditioner to your dogs coat. It is ideal to find a conditioner which is not too thick or includes heavy oils. Heavy oils are very hard to rinse from the dogs hair and will leave behind a residue which will leave hair oily and flat and can also block their skins pores. Try and find a conditioner which has nourishing nutrients but is not too thick or heavy. Use a good amount of conditioner on your Maltese. Ideally the conditioner should be covering every hair from the root to the tip. If you find that you are not able to access the under area of your dog or legs due to the water in the sink then drain the water to leave 2-3 inches in the bottom.
  10. Work the conditioner into the dogs coat for 3 minutes at least. People assume conditioner needs to be left on the hair for a long period to be beneficial but it has been shown that 3 minutes is all it takes and longer does not have any additional benefits.
  11. Rinse out the dogs conditioner. Please be sure to rinse thoroughly and ensure that there is no conditioner left behind. Some people assume it is a good idea to leave some conditioner on but this is not a good idea. Any extra conditioner left on will make the coat flat and heavy and can block the pores of the skin so please ensure you rinse your Maltese thoroughly.
  12. Now it is time to dry your Maltese. With a towel ready, with two hands lift your Maltese puppy out of the sink or bath and place onto a towel. Dogs will instinctively want to shake the water off their coat so allow the dog to do that and then wrap the dog in the towel to stay warm. When drying the dog you want to be sure to dab and blot the coat. Please do not rub the coat and do any vigorous motions. This can cause the hairs to get damaged and can also cause matting and knots to form. Air drying is best for the dogs coat but if you do need to dry the dog quickly you can use a blow dryer on a low setting if you feel it is required and if your Maltese will allow. Please be aware that blow dryers are loud and can be scary to some Maltese, especially puppies, so please keep this in mind. It is also advisable to keep the blow dryer 5-6 inches away from the hair when drying it.
  13. If you dog has a medium to long coat be sure to comb the hair to ensure no knots, matting or tangles occur and you may then choose to you a leave in spray conditioner if you like. It is advisable to comb the leave in conditioner through on medium to long haired dogs to ensure coverage. For shorter coats you may still use a “leave in” spray conditioner just make sure to smooth it over the coat with your hands to ensure the coat is covered.

Summing it up and feedback

Hopefully these tips have given you some great ideas for bathing your Maltese puppy. If you have any more tips which you think are worthwhile for other Maltese dog owners to know about then please leave a comment and we will add them to our article.