Did you know...?
If you accustom your puppy to having his feet handled, you won't have problems with
clipping his nails as an adult. Teach him to sit and to hand you his paw while you clip
each nail. You can also try turning your Maltese upside-down on your lap while you're
sitting. With you in a dominant, more commanding position, he is less likely to squirm
and his nails will also be more accessible.
Through the years, many nice people have contacted me with questions about
breeding their own Maltese dogs. I've given my advice and offered my experiences
personally to so many people, I thought I'd put the most frequently asked questions about
breeding on my website. Please note that these are thoughts and advice based on my
own experiences and matched with what people ask me the most. The best thing you can
do always is have a long talk with your vet, and keep the vet handy during the Maltese
female's pregnancy and birth.
Discuss delivery procedures with your vet - remember that he information here is based on my own experiences, but your vet is the expert. Vets opinions vary. It is very important that you choose a vet that specializes in small dogs and small dog deliveries. The differences in vet opinions and the experiences of deliveries with larger dogs can mean the difference in how many puppies live or die in your litter.
What do I do first if I want to breed my Maltese?
Go to your vet and ask to have a Brucellosis test done (do this every 3 years if you are continually breeding to other breeder's Maltese). Brucellosis is very rare, but if either of the Maltese is a carrier, it can result in impotency in previously fertile Maltese. It's also required proof from some breeders before they will even let you breed your Maltese to theirs. Since you don't want to be responsible for making their Maltese infertile, get the test. For females, your vet should also run a test and give you a Vaginal cytology report. Some breeders require this also. You should also have your vet do an Eye certification and offer proof of a clean bill of health to the other breeder, and you should have your Maltese DNA typed, have all shots and wormings, and be ready to show your AKC registration and pedigree to the other breeder.
Note that the female Maltese comes to the male Maltese. This is so the male Maltese owner can oversee the breeding to ensure the stud performs on the right days. Also, you should make sure that the male Maltese owner will take precautions to make sure your female Maltese is not bred with any other male other than the one selected for breeding.
The owner of the female Maltese is responsible for shipping, vet costs, delivery, boarding and other miscellaneous expenses associated with breeding. It's best to locate a Maltese breeder in your local vicinity; otherwise, the female Maltese owner will need to pay for airline tickets or ground delivery charges and all expenses associated with getting the female Maltese to the male Maltese prior to the most fertile time of her cycle. This is easier to do if you both live in the same area.
How old does my Maltese have to be before I can breed him/her?
Females should not be bred before 1-1/2 years of age or until they have gone through 2 full heat cycles. Males can breed after 6 months, but check with the AKC if this would be acceptable for registration purposes - it could be 8 months now.
What are the stud fees for breeding my female Maltese?
Stud fees are usually half of the sale price of one Maltese puppy. You need to agree up-front on the price, and get a stud or breeding contract written up, agreed to by both parties, and signed before your female comes into heat. Trying to finalize breeding or stud contracts when the clock is ticking is not a good idea because either one of you could agree to something that you didn't get a chance to thoroughly think through. Stud fees are usually paid at the time of services, and are usually not refundable, even if the Maltese female does not get pregnant from that breeding service. Most reputable breeders should have in their contracts that they will continue to service that female at her next heat, or stud to another female until one female Maltese becomes pregnant by the male Maltese stud. That could be a while if your female Maltese comes into heat only once a year.
Instead of a stud fee, the Maltese male owner could choose pick of litter. This means that when your female Maltese delivers puppies, no puppies can be sold until the male Maltese owner selects the puppy of choice. If there is only one puppy, that is usually deemed as pick of litter. If there are no live puppies, then usually the stud owner has the choice of getting a cash stud fee at that time, or will stud again during the female Maltese' next heat.
Agree prior to breeding if puppies will be registered with open registration (the new owners can breed the dog) or limited registration (pet only - spayed or neutered at 6 months, then receive papers). Open registration contract should be signed and specified before breeding. Most breeders want to protect their bloodlines, so open registration will usually require a contract to be signed.
How can I tell if the breeding was successful?
Signs that it caught: When female Maltese go into heat, the vaginal area swells up and there may be spotting of blood. If, after the breeding, the vaginal area never goes totally down, that's one sign, as it stays a little bit swollen throughout the pregnancy. By 50 days, the nipples should start to grow, her stomach starts to noticeably swell in the last three weeks, and you can feel life when you hold your hand on her tummy. She should also gain from 1-5 pounds. She will begin to "make a nest" in last trimester. Gestation period is approximately 63-65 days. You can get an s-ray at 45 days or more. Have your vet examine her at 45 days and at 60 days.
While your female Maltese is pregnant, give her Nutri-cal and Shark's Liver Oil twice a week during pregnancy to build up immune system of both mom and pups, and to prevent hypoglycemia. After delivery, give the mom Nutri-cal and Shark's Liver Oil three times a week while nursing. Shark's Liver Oil comes in capsules. I puncture the capsule and drip the oil on my clean fingers in front of the puppy. They will lick it right off. Same for Nutri-cal -- they love them both!
During the last trimester, I give the mother cottage cheese and yogurt to help bring in milk. Also, I give her chicken livers, gizzards, and hearts once or twice a week in the last trimester.
What do I need to know about the delivery?
Most of my deliveries happen in the middle of the night.
If her water breaks, or stringy brown/green mucus comes out before or during delivery, call vet and take her in - signifies water has broken and puppies could be in danger.
If your female Maltese is crying during delivery and has been pushing down for at least 3 hours, take her to vet so he can x-ray - she might need a c-section. This happens especially during first pregnancies. Price a c-section with your vet before delivery ($800 - $1,200); with complications (attempts to save the puppies) it can cost up to around $2,000 (depending on where you live).
If puppies are delivered by c-section, it is imperative that you place the puppy on mom's nipple as soon as you bring mom and the puppies home. C-section puppies have to be taught how to do this, regular delivery puppies tend to go right the nipple.
Your vet should have you bring mom and puppies in the next day after c-section to check and make sure everything is okay.
Mom will be sedated from c-section. Normally, she will lick her puppies to make them go potty. Since she's still slightly sedated, you may need to gently rub the genital area of the puppies to make sure that it stimulates the puppy to go potty, or the puppy will die. Use baby oil on clean fingers. If puppy is crying a lot, this is a sign that the puppy has to go potty, so stimulate genitalia area to encourage this. Mom will take over the next day.
Puppies will be born in sacs. Puppies will be pushed out in the sac -- use scissors or tear the sac open. Use an ear or nose syringe (for babies), and suction out the mouth and the nose to remove any liquids blocking the airways. Use regular scissors - alcohol clean, tie the umbilical cord ½ - 1 inch from the puppy with dental floss, using 2 knots, tight. Cut the umbilical cord above the knot. The cord will dry up. Make sure you cut the dental floss knot short enough so that the mother cannot pull it loose and hurt puppy. Wipe puppy off with a damp cloth and give to mother to clean.
She may eat the afterbirth - this is normal. It is best to get rid of the afterbirth from the other puppies being born - she does not need to eat all of them.
If puppy comes out only partially and stops, as soon as you can grip the puppy, use clean washcloth, put some K-Y jelly around the vaginal area, and pull gently to help get the puppy out. The longer the puppy is lodged halfway, the greater the chance the puppy will die (oxygen cut off).
If both mom and dad are small, or you get a very tiny puppy born in the litter, there's extra fun. Real tiny puppies don't have strength to nurse, so you must feed them with an eye dropper. Buy pet formula (milk) at the pet store and also buy dropper. They must be fed as much as you can get them to take as often as you can get them to take it (about every half hour - yes through the night) until the puppy has the strength to nurse on its own. So keep putting puppy on mom's nipple until it can suck and get milk. Keep putting puppy up to mom constantly so she will start to lick puppy. Once she starts licking puppy, she will take over. She will stimulate the puppy to eliminate - you must keep feeding puppy and putting up to mom to lick to eliminate what you've input.
What do I do after the puppies are born?
Give mom extra food and special treats - boiled chicken, liver, gizzards, hearts. She will need to eat more now since she's nursing. Supplement canned food with dry food.
Use a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel (not too hot) and place in litter nest with puppies. If you only have a heating pad, place under a towel and make sure it's on low (their skin can burn easily) to keep the puppies warm. Neither the heating pad or the water bottle should be too hot - just pleasantly warm to take the chill off for the puppies.
Change the bedding under the mom and puppies every day to keep bacterial infection away.
Place mom and pups in a basket or a playpen NEVER in a plastic kennel. Plastic kennels trap bacteria and cause kennel diseases.
No visitors handling puppies until they are at least 6 weeks old for their protection (germs). You and your family can stroke and hold the puppies regularly (wash hands) to get them used to being held and loved, but no other outside visitors until 6 weeks. Look but not touch for visitors. Diseases such as parvo can be tracked in on shoes - some breeders will make you take your shoes off before entering the house even if you don't touch the puppies.
Weaning will begin at 4-6 weeks, fully weaned at 8-10 weeks depending on the size the litter and size of puppies. Mom won't get in and feed them as often (usual feeding is every 2 hours) - she will start to feed every 3 or 4 hours. Take dry dog food and place in blender, pulverize to a powder. Put powder on a plate, place puppy's mouth to the powder and encourage to lick, or dip clean finger in powder and place on puppy's tongue. Puppy will then learn to eat dry food.
Purchase weaning milk at any pet store (dry powder), mix with bottled water (not tap water), place in saucer and push puppy's mouth to it and they will lick it. Helps to transition puppy from mom's milk. Leave weaning milk and dry food and water in playpen for puppies.
Don't put mom's food in the playpen with the puppies - they will choke on it. Feed mom separately. Puppies at 8-10 week should be able to chew regular dry dog food - once they have teeth but not before.
Puppies - take them in at 3 days old to your vet to remove dew claws, and have them examined.
Once the puppies are weaned - feed them Shark's Liver Oil twice a week until 12 weeks old, then once a week thereafter. Nutri-cal every day.