Caring for a dog is a rewarding experience, and if you’re the proud parent of a Maltese Shih Tzu crossbreed, you’ve got yourself a charming and affectionate companion. These small, delightful dogs, often known as “Malshi,” possess a beautiful coat that’s a blend of its parent breeds – the silky texture of the Maltese with the dense, double coat of the Shih Tzu. This unique combination makes grooming an essential part of their care. For novice owners, this can seem a bit daunting. However, with a few guidelines and some patience, you’ll soon become a pro.
Brushing Your Malshi’s Coat
Brushing is a crucial component of grooming. The Malshi’s long, silky coat can become matted and knotted without regular care. Aim to brush your dog at least three times a week, although daily brushing is ideal.
Use a pin brush or a slicker brush, starting from the head and working your way towards the tail. Be gentle, and ensure you brush all the way to the undercoat. Don’t forget areas that are prone to matting like behind the ears, the armpits, and the hindquarters.
Bathing Your Malshi
While Malshis do not have a strong odor, regular bathing helps keep their coat clean and shiny. Aim for a bath every three to four weeks. Use a dog-specific shampoo, preferably one that’s designed for long-coated breeds.
Before the bath, brush your dog to remove any tangles. Wet their coat thoroughly, apply the shampoo, and massage it in, avoiding the eyes and ears. Rinse thoroughly, as leftover shampoo can cause skin irritation. After the bath, towel dry your dog and complete the drying process with a hairdryer set to a low temperature to prevent overheating.
Cleaning the Eyes and Ears
Malshis can be prone to tear stains, so regular eye cleaning is essential. Use a soft, damp cloth or a canine eye-wipe to gently clean the area around the eyes. Be careful not to touch the eyeball itself.
Like their Shih Tzu parents, Malshis can be prone to ear infections due to their floppy ears. Clean your dog’s ears weekly using a vet-approved ear cleaner. Do not insert anything into the ear canal; instead, gently clean the outer ear.
Oral hygiene is as vital for dogs as it is for humans. Start a dental care routine early to keep your Malshi’s teeth and gums healthy. Brush their teeth several times a week using a dog-specific toothpaste. Never use human toothpaste as it can be toxic to dogs. In addition to brushing, provide dental chews that can help remove plaque.
Regular Professional Grooming
Even with regular home grooming, taking your Malshi to a professional groomer every six to eight weeks can be beneficial. They can provide a thorough grooming session and address any issues you might have missed.
Malshi grooming is not just about maintaining their appearance, but also about keeping them healthy and comfortable. It’s also a great way to strengthen your bond with your pet. So take your time, be patient, and remember that every brushing or bathing session is an opportunity to show your pet how much you care.