Grooming a Maltese Dog : How To Groom Complete Guide

Maltese dog running in the grass

Grooming a Maltese dog can have them looking their best and will keep them in good health. Grooming Maltese Dogs requires much more than a simple brush of the coat or giving them a bath. Maltese dog grooming will involve removing tangled hair, cutting out matted hair, cleaning out your Maltese dogs ears, trimming the hair around their feet and cutting their nails, giving them a bath and brushing their teeth. As you can see there are a lot of steps involved to give you Maltese dog a complete grooming session but do not despair as these are not required every day and there is always the option of hiring a dog groomer.

Grooming from an Early Age for your Maltese Puppy

The best time to start grooming your Maltese puppy is as soon as possible. If you establish a grooming routine for your Maltese puppy they will just think it is a normal part of their life and they will quickly learn what they need to do during a grooming session. Grooming a Maltese puppy when they are young allows them to learn the commands which are required while grooming and also acclimatizes the Maltese puppy to being handled and moved into the different positions required. If you start the grooming late and your Maltese dog hates to be groomed then you should use slow, positive reinforcement just like you would with a puppy till they learn what is expected from them. Remember whether your teaching a young puppy or an older Maltese dog to be groomed, it will take time and patience on your part.

Some Quick Tips on a Grooming Routine.

The following tips will help you get a grooming routine which makes grooming your Maltese puppy much easier over time. The tips are focused on two central concepts. Consistency and Positive Reinforcement. The best tips for grooming a Maltese dog are:

  • Using the same commands when grooming such as “sit” and “stay”. Keep the commands simple and easy for your Maltese puppy to learn.
  • Follow the same grooming routine. Keeping the routine the same will make it easier for your Maltese puppy to learn what you need from them. Start with brushing, then ears, then feet and finally their teeth. Bathing can be done as a separate grooming routine.
  • Do your grooming in the same place. This may be on a grooming table or in a certain spot outside. Keep the same spot for grooming and do not change locations unless absolutely necessary. Consistency is a key requirement to get the grooming routine in place and to make it easier for you and your Maltese dog.
  • Teach them when they are young puppies. The earlier you start grooming your Maltese dog the quicker they will learn this is a natural thing which will happen often.
  • Be Calm. Never yell at your Maltese puppy and create a aggressive atmosphere. You need to be calm so that your Maltese dog can also be calm. If you are anxious they will pick up on the subtle signs and be anxious as well.
  • Use Positive Reinforcement. Treats, pats and praises will help your Maltese puppy to learn what is acceptable during grooming. Give them a treat when they obey your commands of “sit” and “stay” and give them lots of pats and praise while brushing them so they learn its a positive experience to be groomed.

If you follow the tips outlined above then the grooming sessions should get easier over time. Don’t expect them to be perfect the first time, but keep at it and if needed do it more often so that the positive reinforcement and consistency can work their magic for your Maltese dog.

What is the Best Equipment for Grooming a Maltese Dog?

There are several pieces of equipment you will need to purchases in order to make grooming your Maltese easier and efficient. Ensure you have these items setup and ready to go so that grooming can be done quickly and effortlessly for your Maltese dog. The equipment you need for grooming a Maltese dog includes:

  • Scissors
  • Pin Brush
  • Deshedding Brush
  • Nail clippers
  • Cotton Wool buds
  • Dog tooth brush and Dog tooth paste
Maltese Dog

What are the Steps to Grooming a Maltese Puppy?

A grooming routine for your Maltese puppy will allow them to learn what is expected of them when they are being groomed. If you follow the same routine each time they will quickly learn what is coming next and this will reduce any anxiety and will allow them to settle and be calm. Your grooming routine for your Maltese dog can go in whatever order you want to follow but the major steps and the order which I would suggest is:

  • Checking for matted hair and Tangled hair
  • Brushing your Maltese dog
  • Inspect and clean your Maltese dogs ears
  • Inspect their paws and trim their nails
  • Inspect and clean their teeth

You will notice I did not put a bath into the routine as this will be more infrequent. You should have a separate routine for your bathing of your Maltese dog.

How to Groom a Maltese Dog With Matted Hair and Tangled Hair?

The first step in grooming is to find the matted hair and the tangled hair and try to brush it out. The first few times grooming a Maltese dog may result in finding a higher number of spots with matted hair or tangled hair but over time with regular grooming there should be less instances of tangled hair and matted hair on your Maltese dog.

You will find that recent matted hair and tangles can be brushed out with a little bit of effort but those which have been there for a while will need scissors to cut them out. Do not worry about cutting out matted hair and tangled hair as it will grow back and it is a lot less painful then trying to brush it out. If you do not want to cut the hair there is another option to try first. The scissors free option for Matted hair involves soaking the area affected with conditioner. The conditioner will cause the hair to become looser and smoother and this may allow you to slowly rub out the matted fur. Use you fingers and start from the edge and try to rub the matted hair back and forth till it gets less tangled. If this does not work your only option will be to the use scissors to cut out the matted hair. When using scissors ensure that you keep them parallel to your dogs body in case your dog moves as you do not want to stab them with the end of the scissors blade.

The best prevention for tangled fur on your Maltese dog is to ensure that you brush your Maltese often. Matted Hair occurs because Maltese dogs generally have long hair which trails close to the ground. it can pick up small debris and dirt and this can cause matted fur. Matted hair will also happen in the armpits, belly and behind the ears so pay particular attention to these areas for matted hair while its easy to brush out.

Brushing Your Maltese Dog

There are two types of brushes which you want to use on your Maltese Dog. The first is a deshedding brush which will thin out the coat and remove all of the excess dead hair. This hair which is being shed often contains allergens such as dead skin cells, dust and pollen which have been trapped in the hair. A deshedding comb will remove any extra hair and will help to distribute the natural oils from the body through to the tips of the hair. Distributing the natural oils in your Maltese dogs coat will help to keep it shiny and soft. After you have used the deshedding brush you will want to use a pin brush. Pin brushes are good at removing fine tangles and ensuring that the coat is kept looking its best. See our recommended products page for both our recommended deshedding brush and our recommended pin brush for your Maltese dog.

Brushing should be done in a routine fashion and follow the same process which should start with the back, move to the tail then underbelly and feet and then finally under the neck and the face. Each area needs to be treated differently. The tips for brushing your Maltese dog for each are of their body are:

  • Back: The first section to start with is the back and sides. Comb upwards from the belly looking for matted hair and tangled hair. Do this first on one side and then the other side. Once you have combed up do the same brushing but in the opposite direction (down). Finally do a brush from the back of the neck right through to the tail. Usually the hind area will have a lot of hair which is being shed and this is where you want to ensure that your deshedding comb gets a thorough working out.
  • Tail: Comb the top of the tail and then the underside of the tail. The tail rarely has many matted hairs but it can have some small tangles so be careful. The tail usually does not need an extensive brush and a quick few run through will help to straighten it out.
  • Legs: Comb down each leg being careful not to hit any bones in the knees and ankles. Legs can be a bit of a problem area for matted hair especially in the paws. Once you have combed down the legs turn your dog over so that you can attend to the paws. See the section below on Grooming Maltese dogs paws and nails for what to look for while brushing this area.
  • Belly: The belly requires a sensitive brushing and try to use a soft brush. Give your Maltese dog a scratch at this point and tell them how good they are doing. Brush under the arm pits and around the belly to make sure there are no tangles.
  • Mane/Neck: Move to the neck and brush from the mouth downwards. This is another area that can get matted by small debris such as food and it gets wet often when your Maltese puppy is drinking. Ensure that you give it a solid brushing first in the middle and then the sides of the head down to the belly.
  • Face and Ears: The face and ears needs to be carefully done and you will need your Maltese to sit still. Use a soft brush just in case they move quickly as you do not want to poke them in the eye with a pin brush. brush around the nose and eyes slowly and carefully. then move to the top of the head and the ears. Look for matted hair under the ears and behind the ears of your Maltese dog.

If you follow this process with brushing you will have covered all of the areas on your Maltese dog and it should reduce matted hair and it should distribute natural oils around the Maltese dogs coat so that it stays looking shiny, soft and clean.

If your Maltese dog hates to be brushed then check out this article :

Maltese puppy

Grooming a Maltese Dogs Ears

If you want to keep your Maltese dogs ears clean and stop infections you will need to ensure that the ears do not have excessive hairs growing inside them. To ensure there is not excessive hair, you need to inspect the ears and if there is a lot of extra hair you may need to cut it out with scissors or pluck them. By removing the excessive ear hair, you will prevent them from being filled with wax. Cotton swabs can be used to clean the outside of your Maltese dog’s ear but they should not be used deep in the ear as this can actually push the dirt and wax further into the ear which can cause infections.

Ensure that the ears are kept dry and clean by using an ear cleaning liquid which can be bought at pet shops. This cleaning solution for your Maltese dogs ears requires a few drops to be put into the ear and massaged around. This solution and massaging action will remove ear wax and dirt so that your Maltese dogs ears stay clean. If you notice your Maltese dog shaking their head frequently or they are scratching at the ears then it is likely they have an ear infection. The best way to check for an ear infection in your Maltese dogs ears is to look in the ear and smell the ear. If there is any redness or a smell then it is likely an ear infection has taken hold. Consult your vet so that they can do a thorough examination and confirm if an infection is present. They will be able to prescribe antibiotics if needed to heal the infection.

Extra information on ear care is available in detail in this article:

Grooming Maltese Dogs Paws and Nails

There are two things which need to be looked at when grooming a Maltese dog’s paws. These two things are ensuring you clip the hair between the pads and clipping your Maltese dogs toenails.

The hair between your Maltese dogs paws can become tangled and matted very easily as they are walking on them so often. They will need to be trimmed with scissors to ensure they are not too long and getting under the paws. Maltese dogs which have excess fur between their paw pads usually have issues walking on slippery surfaces such as wooden floors as the hair makes them slip. Check each paw and trim the hair so that when your Maltese dog is standing none of the hair between the pads would be touching the floor. This is also a good time to check in between the paw pads for mites and ticks.

Trimming a dogs nails needs to be done on a regular basis as long nails can scratch people and can also get caught in fabric and clothing. A nail which gets caught in something can be painful for your Maltese dog. Maltese dogs are particularly prone to having longer tails as they do not weight a lot and therefore they do not get worm down by running around. Also a lot of Maltese dogs are inside dogs and they do not get the extra time on hard surfaces such as concrete and bitumen to wear down the nails. As a general guideline the nails need to level with the side of the paw. Clipping a dogs nails can be a confronting process and they can bleed if it is not done right. If you are unsure how to do ti then ask a dog groomer to do it or get your vet to do it on your next checkup. The process for clipping a nail is from beneath the pad. The toe nails on dogs have a “quick” which is a vein in the dogs nail. if you clip off too much this vein will bleed. In a lightly colored nail the vein will be obvious and can be avoided but most Maltese dogs have darker nails so it may be hard to see. You never want to clip as far as the vein as they will bleed and can be painful for your Maltese puppy. An alternative to clipping nails is to file them down but then can take a lot longer. You can use a nail file or an electric nail file to slowly work away at the nail until it is the right length. This is much easier to do if you keep up a regular grooming routine. Finally the claw on the side of your Maltese dogs foot known as the dew claw or fifth claw needs to be clipped or filed down as well. If you find that the nails are brittle then the best time to clip the nails is after a bath as the moisture will help.

If you are interested in further information on paw problems and prevention check out this article :

Cleaning Your Maltese Dogs Teeth

Maltese dogs are known for having rotten teeth as they age because they prefer to eat softer food than hard kibble. Its important to ensure that you keep your Maltese dogs teeth and brushing their teeth using a dogs toothbrush should be an essential part of the routine. Another side effect of not brushing their teeth is bad breath. There are specifically designed toothpastes for dogs and tooth brushes which will can be purchased from your pet shop or online.

I have written a dental checkup list for your Maltese dog in the post here :

Bathing Your Maltese Dog

Bathing is a necessary part of Maltese dog ownership and there is a vast amount of detail which needs to be provide for this once a month routine. I have written an in depth article on bathing your Maltese which can be very helpful with this particular aspect your Maltese dogs grooming process. Rather than repeat everything in this article I suggest jumping across to this article and having a read:

Maltese Puppy

Did We Answer All Your Questions on Grooming Your Maltese Dog?

How did we go at answering your questions on Maltese dog grooming ? Did you find the answers you were looking for? Do you have any other tips for grooming a Maltese dog? Leave us a comment so that we can improve the article and provide the most comprehensive information for Maltese dog owners.


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