Don't overlook your Maltese's legs during grooming. Her long, silky white hair covers all of her body and that includes her legs, so it's just as important for the cleaning and detangling duties to cover her gams as well as the rest of her.
Dilute the coat conditioner and spray it on your Maltese's legs before you begin brushing or combing them. This will keep her hair from breaking and will discourage static.
Brush or comb your Maltese's legs first with the slicker brush or comb during your daily grooming session and before bathing. Her legs are less sensitive than the rest of her, so starting in the leg area and maintaining a gentle hand while brushing or combing will reassure your dog. Start at your Maltese's shoulder and work down, brushing from the skin outward.
Spray matted sections, if any, with more diluted conditioner. This will help detangle the hair with minimal pulling on your dog. Work the mat gently first with your fingers, then with the brush or comb. Never brush a mat starting with the hair above it. Instead start detangling from the lower part of the mat and work upward.
Apply shampoo to the backs of your Maltese's legs when bathing. Lather the shampoo with a back-and-forth motion rather than a circular one as that can cause mats. Be sure to shampoo your dog's paw pads as part of shampooing her legs.
Rinse your dog's legs thoroughly. They should be the last body parts rinsed as shampoo from her back can run down onto her legs. Rinse her until the water runs clear; you may need to rinse her twice to be sure you have removed all the shampoo.
Apply the conditioner to your Maltese's legs when applying it to the rest of her body, working it into her hair down to the skin. Allow it to sit for the amount of time recommended on the packaging before thoroughly rinsing. Rinse her legs last to ensure that conditioner from her back doesn't drain down onto her legs and remain there.
Squeeze the extra water from your Maltese's legs before gently towel drying her. You may need to use more than one towel to get her to a just-damp stage.
Blow your dog's hair dry on a low heat setting, using the slicker brush when you dry her legs and feet.
- Keeping your Maltese's leg and body hair mat-free and looking good can be made easier if you don't mind a shorter haircut. Your groomer can cut your dog's hair to any length you specify. A puppy cut is cute and is short enough on the legs and the rest of the body that it's more easily maintained than the full-length traditional Maltese style.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.