Living With and Caring For a Maltese Dog
Maltese Puppy Fast Asleep
Meet our little Maltese, "Madamoiselle Coco Chanel", a.k.a. "C.C."
This is C.C. on the day we brought her home. She was 8-1/2 weeks old, weighed 1.3 pounds, and could be held in two hands cupped together. That day we began the wonderful experience of living with and caring for a Maltese dog. Her full name is a mouthfull, so she chose to go by her initials, "C.C." Like all babies, for the first few months, she kept a cycle of sleep, eat, potty, play; sleep, eat, potty, play.... I fell in love with her almost the minute I saw her, definitely the minute I first held her. She is truly a people dog. She loves people, and never meets a stranger. She is now 10 years old; we were told to expect to have her for 15 - 16 years.
The love of people is true of all the Maltese dogs I've ever known. They are excellent companion dogs. It seems to be a good thing that she is so friendly, but it also means she would go home with anyone, and has tried to do just that. She tried to go with the FedEx man, the UPS man, the HVAC repair guy, and she cries when any guest leaves. So we really have to watch her.
C.C., at Age 7
The Essential Maltese
This little paperback was a huge help to me in learning about this adorable breed of dogs.
I bought this little book when we first got C.C. It is a quick read, and taught me a lot about this adorable breed.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I AM a lapdog. That's my job." - C.C. takes this "lapdog" thing seriously.
This is a photo of her at 6-1/2 years old, and about 10 pounds. Funny, they told me she would grow only to somewhere between 4 and 6 pounds. So, as Malteses go, she's a whopper. She's happiest when she has a lap to lie on.
Let Sleeping Dogs Lie
The First Day in Her New Home
"Can't you people see I'm trying to sleep here?"
We were new doggie parents for the first time in many years. We had a lot to learn. This was a series of firsts for me:
- my first small dog
- my first indoor dog
- my first purebred dog
The Maltese has tiny delicate bones, and can easily be injured. Because of this, they don't make good pets around small children who don't understand this. When C.C. was about 4 pounds, our then-3-year-old next door neighbor tried to pick her up by her head. I had to intervene quickly and explain that this was not a stuffed animal toy, but a real dog.
Speaking of "toys" several people have asked me if she is a "Toy Maltese". There is no such animal. The Maltese is one of a breed group called Toy, so, in this respect, all Maltese are "toys", though they do vary in size.
C.C. Can Sing -- American Idol, Anyone? - She can even spell!
In this photo, she is singing to me. The sound is difficult to describe, it's kind of a warble, and sounds a bit like, "Woo, woo, woo". She has quite a large vocabulary, and we have to spell certain words around her. Some of the words we have to spell are cat, cookie, chicken, treat, bath, and bed, (if we're not ready to go to bed). Now and then, even when we spell, she knows what we mean!!
C.C. Loves Her Outward Hound Doggie Car Seat
Caring for Your Maltese
Like some other dogs, the Maltese has hair rather than fur. Left uncut, it will grow quite long, just as your hair will. Letting your Maltese have long hair, like show dogs, makes your dog extremely high maintenance. So most Maltese owners keep the hair in what is referred to as a "puppy cut". Still, their hair should be brushed daily or, at the very least, every other day, to prevent matting. Removing matted hair is very painful for your dog. A Maltese should be bathed weekly, and professionally groomed every 4 to 6 weeks.
Many people have asked me how we keep C.C.'s face so clean. It seems to be the best-kept secret around. Like most white dogs, C.C. had the red tear stains beneath her eyes and around her mouth from her constant licking. A neighbor's dog even has the redness on his feet where he has licked them. I tried not letting C.C. eat the red dog biscuits. That didn't help. I tried the liquid tear-stain removers. Again, no luck. I even tried putting a mixture of peroxide and Milk of Magnesia that I read about somewhere on the stained hair. No luck there, either.
Finally, I discovered a product called "Angels' Eyes". It worked wonders. Angels' Eyes is a food supplement; and as long as we add it to her food a few times per week she has no red staining at all. It's not cheap, but is well worth the cost. She still gets the dried mucus just below the inside corner of her eyes, but that comes off easily.
If your pet has red tear-staining, you will need to put Angels' Eyes in his/her food every day for a couple of weeks, then no less than once per week from then on. The pet store person told me to give her about 3/4 teaspoon each time. Once, when I forgot to order it, the staining returned after about 2 weeks without it. I don't forget anymore. For more information on Angels' Eyes, please to to my article on How to Prevent Red Tear Stains on a White Dog.
Luxating Patella Is Common to Maltese Dogs
C.C. also has a luxating patella, i.e., a kneecap that occasionally pops out of place. It is a condition often called "floating kneecap". It seems to be most common in small and toy breeds. I'm told this is an especially common problem for this breed. Sometimes she yelps for no apparent reason when we reach to pick her up, especially if one of us bumps here leg in the process. Occasionally, she has problems jumping up onto a chair. Other times she seems to be fine, which is part of this condition; the pain seems to come unexpectedly, and to go just as quickly as it came.
So she takes a glucosomine and chondroitin compound for that. Our vet at the time recommended Synovi 3G Soft Chews. They're pretty big for C.C., so I have to break them into little pieces for her. The patella problem bothered her a lot when she was very young. For several years now, it hasn't happened at all, but having the condition predisposes her to arthritis. Maybe it's the Synovi -- who knows? I'm just grateful my baby isn't in pain.
A Sleepy Puppy
"Hey, Mom, could you be a little more quiet? I'm trying to sleep, here."
Just waking up from a nap in "her" closet, she eye's the camera skeptically. My husband's closet is her favorite place for a daytime nap. She even passes up her favorite dog bed for a chance to nap in Dad's closet.
Looks like someone is in need of a hairbrush.
C.C. in Her Raincoat - "Aw, gee, Mom. Do I have to?"
It's really strange. She cowers and tries to hide when she sees one of us holding the raincoat, and puts on an act of trembling while we're putting it on her. But she will not go outside in the rain without the raincoat. Who knows what goes on in that little brain.
The Art of Racing In the Rain
A wonderful book told from the dog's point of view. This story will make you laugh, cry, be angry, sad -- almost all the emotions a human can feel. We heard the audio book version of it on a cross-country trip, and thoroughly enjoyed it.
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Things C.C. Loves
- Her favorite food is chicken, but she will eat almost anything.
- She loves to play chase, but it has to be her idea. (Sounds like some people I know.)
- Dry Cheerios
- Her back yard
- A long, lazy nap
- A lap to sit in
- A bedtime snack
Things C.C. Hates
- Top on her very short list is cats
- Loud noises
- Being ignored
- Being startled
As a matter of fact, I am a lapdog!— C.C.
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Thank you for visiting C.C. and me. I hope you found this page to be useful to you, especially if you are just now trying to choose the right pet for your home and family.
© 2011 MariaMontgomery