The Importance of Exercise
As discussed in the life span section, proper exercise plays an important role in maintaining good health. The Maltese breed is one of the very few dog breeds that will physically show you they are in need of sunshine. When a normally black nose turns grayish or has patches of a lighter color, this is the signal that the dog is requiring more sunlight. Although an inside dog, this breed loves and needs daily walks outdoors. A black nose = good health and this is a focal point that judges look for at dog shows.
It is suggested to walk on streets without a lot of traffic and to be wary of dog parks where much larger dogs may be. While some breeds can splash happily in the water without effect, the Maltese is a bit susceptible to damp weather. It is suggested to go for daily walks no matter what Mother Nature brings unless the weather is overly harsh. Most Maltese are very tolerant to clothing and will happily wear a rain coat. It is also recommended to put a warm sweater on the dog when the temperature dips below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.22 Celsius).
When walking in warm weather, be sure to bring a supply of water. It is not uncommon for this breed to have excellent endurance; often the owner needs to keep track of how much time has gone by so that there is no overexertion. On walks over 20 minutes, stop to break for rest and water. Limit walks to 20 minutes per day if the temperature climbs over 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29.44 Celsius)
Signs of Overheating
Always keep an eye on your dog for signs that they are getting too hot. What may feel like a cool day to you can equal a hot day to your Maltese. While this breed will love walking and running around outside, offer breaks in the shade and lots of water. Your dog will need attention ASAP if they show these signs of heat exhaustion:
The Maltese must be brought indoors or into the shade, if a house is not nearby. Do your best to cool the dog off before you would put them into a car to travel to the vet. Cooling can be done by applying cool clothes and having a fan blowing on the dog.
- Lethargy - your dog will appear weak and have a difficult time walking, they may seem dizzy and unsteady on their legs
- Heavy panting - your dog will be panting very heavily and this may be accompanied by difficulty in breathing
The Maltese is a very friendly and playful dog. If the weather conditions are simply not suitable, you can offer plenty of indoor play:
- Hide and Seek - Choose 1 toy to keep aside and only use during this game. Begin by hiding the toy in an easy spot for your dog to find. Encourage them to "seek" it out. Make the game gradually more difficult, until the dog must run from room to room in search of their dog toy. Always offer tons of praise each time your Maltese finds the hidden dog toy and finish the game with a healthy treat and some water.
- Chase - Even the smallest of homes can be used for a good game of chase. You can use a hallway to throw a soft toy for your dog to fetch or you may simply jog around the home. This breed is famous for being their owner's shadow, they will usually happily chase you around the home!
Feeding...dieting...wondering if a Maltese is too little or too large ! These are just a small piece of what a loving Malt owner needs to know. We have put together 400+ pages of very important information for you. Request your copy of the PetMaltese Book.