A Maltese is very well known and recognizable due to its long mane of white hair. This hair is one of the features that make the Maltese a very popular toy and show dog, and styling it has become a hobby of sorts for some Maltese owners. One problem that Maltese owners may have is the shedding of their pet's hair. Although this rarely happens since these dogs are not known to be big hair shedders and tend to shed hair at a rather low rate as compared to other long haired breeds, there are instances when a Maltese can shed more than its fair share of coat. To help ensure that this does not happen, you need to follow a few simple Maltese hair care guidelines.
The Maltese has an impeccable white coat of hair and this hair can grow to as long as 12 inches if left to grow without cutting. The care and maintenance of this breed can be somewhat tedious since they do have a lot of hair that may get scraggly, matted or dirty due to its pristine white color. A little dirt on your dog should not prompt you to take out the shampoo and towels immediately. As much as possible, you should bathe your dogs once a month, twice at the most to keep the natural oils on their coats intact. Over bathing your Maltese can result in the drying of the skin underneath the hair which can then result in shedding or an unhealthy dog.
You should also only use a shampoo that is meant for dogs and not use detergents, human shampoo or even baby shampoo - although baby shampoo can be substituted once in a while should you find yourself out of the regular shampoo your dog uses. Using a conditioner on the hair of your Maltese also helps keep shedding at bay since the conditioner softens the hair and makes it easier to comb through.
Styling and Trimming
For those that find the long hair of the Maltese too time consuming or too taxing a thing to take care of, you can actually have it cut short in a puppy cut style that is around 1 to 2 inches in length all over, making the full grown Maltese resemble a puppy. This kind of a trim can also help prevent excessive shedding since you do not need to comb long strands of hair that have a tendency to get caught in the comb or brush. You should also try and use styling agents for your Maltese dogs that are gentle on them and won't cause the hair to fall out.
Diet and Stress
As with other hairy creatures, diet and stress have a bearing on the shedding of hair. When your Maltese seems to be shedding more than the usual amount of hair, it may be stressed out, lacks exercise or has a poor diet that does not give it the proper nutrients it needs to help keep his hair intact. You may need to check out what is wrong and why your dog is losing hair and do something to stop it like change its diet or find out what is causing it stress.