Monday, August 11, 2014

How to Groom a Maltese With a Top Knot

Daily and full grooming instructions for Maltese dog owners. Keeping your Maltese's coat white and flowing is easy if you comb her daily. Full grooming is suggested about every three to four months. Print out these instructions.

The Maltese is such a beautiful little dog with pure white angel-like hair that flows to the ground if you let it. Having a pure white long haired dog may seem a little overwhelming to new pet owners. Grooming is required, but does not take very long if you keep up with it daily.
Grooming Tools Needed

Slicker brush, fine toothed steel comb, small mat breaker, protein shampoo, small toenail clippers, styptic powder, hydrogen peroxide, cotton balls and swabs, towels, blow dryer, ear cleaner, ear drying powder, tear stain remover, grooming scissors, grooming clippers, #9 or #10 blades.

Optional for top knots: small rubber bands , bows, or barrettes

*Look in the dental section at the supermarket for tiny rubber bands made for braces to secure the top knot..

Grooming the Maltese

1.Brush and comb through the entire Maltese's coat. Remove small mats with the mat breaker. Use scissors to carefully split larger mats. Lift the hair above extreme matting and shave them off, letting the longer hair above fall over the shaved area. Comb through the Maltese daily to avoid mats.

2. Clip the toenails even with the floor, careful not to trim too close to the quick. Use the styptic powder on any nails cut to short. Use hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball to remove any blood from the white fur of the Maltese.

3. Clean the area under the eyes with the tear stain remover on a cotton ball. Report any excessive staining, in color or odor, to your veterinarian.

4. Use the ear cleaner on a cotton ball to clean the Maltese's ears. Use cotton swabs to remove the dirt in the small creases of the ears. Don't insert the swab into the ear canal. Place a small amount of drying powder in each ear after cleaning. Remove any hair in the ear canals with your fingers. Do not use any tools inside the ear canal unless you are a professional. Report any excessive dirt or hair to your veterinarian.

5. With the Maltese on a stable grooming table, lift one back leg and shave the area from the navel to the groin with the #9 or #10 blade. Some pet owners may want to remove some of the hair on the inside of the back legs, or may prefer to shave the entire belly for cleanliness.

6. Remove any rubber bands or hair clips, grab the towels and head to the bathing area. Maltese are small enough to be bathed in a large kitchen sink, but make sure to cover any large drain or disposal holes so they don't hurt their feet.

7. Bathe the Maltese in a diluted protein shampoo. Always dilute shampoo according to the package label or dilution bottle directions before putting it on the dog. Rinse the dog until the water runs completely clean of soap. See picture above.

8. Use towels to dry the dog while in the tub and keep the dog warm while you set up the drying area. Blow dry the dog on a stable grooming table while combing through with the steal comb. Do not use high heat on the dryer.

9. Repeat step one above.

10. With the comb part the hair from the back of the neck to the tail, straight down the middle. Comb down each side even with the floor. Trim any stray hair in an even line with the floor or to the owner's request.

11. Scissor trim the hair between the pads of the dog's feet. Trim the hair on the top of the foot for a rounded appearance. Do not remove the hair between the toes on the top of the foot, just blend them in. Report any injuries to the dog's pad or any staining on the top of the foot to the veterinarian.

12. Comb through the hair on the legs straight down to the floor. Trim away any stray hairs.

Optional Top Knot Instructions for a Maltese

1. Comb the hair straight up from the center of each eye to between the ears and hold it there. Comb the hair from the back of the ears straight up to meet the front half. Comb both sections together to make one nice ponytail.

2. Secure the ponytail with the tiny rubber band. Spread the hair on top to help pull the rubber band down tight to the head. Trim away any stray hairs.

3. Place a barrette type hair clip in the top knot, instead of a rubber band, by gathering the hair then giving it one twist. Fasten the barrette as close to the dog's head as possible. Spread the hair on top to help pull it down close and straighten it as needed.

Notice there is no need for cream rinse on a Maltese during the bathing process. The hair is so fine on this breed that it's not suggested. Using cream rinse will create a build up on the fur and it won't sway as nicely.

Daily combing is all the Maltese needs to keep its coat in great shape. Pet owners that don't want to comb through that much hair every day should consider a teddy bear clip or even a field clip for their Maltese. Remember to dress your dog for the appropriate weather conditions if you choose a short clip.

Top photo credit: By SheltieBoy (Flickr: AKC Fall Dog Show 2013) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

2nd photo credit: Christine Cameron

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