A Publication of St. Louis Critter Sitters
October 2006

Breed of the Month – The Maltese

DESCRIPTION Maltese Dogs are cute little creatures that win the hearts of people everywhere they go. The Maltese belongs to the toy group of dogs. Their distinctive feature is a mantle of long, silky, white hair. The coat is single and hangs long over the size of the body. The Maltese's coat should not be curly or wavy. The color is pure white. Light ivory is also acceptable. The Maltese is friendly, gentle-mannered and affectionate. The dog is a wonderful companion and eager to accompany its master at any time. The Maltese moves with a flowing gait.

The Maltese's head is in proportion to the size of the body. The large eyes are dark and round. The nose should be black with open nostrils. The body is compact, with sloping shoulder blades and fairly deep chest. The tail is longhaired and carried gracefully over the back.

TEMPERAMENT Maltese Dogs are lively and playful; they are loving and devoted to the master. Highly intelligent, Maltese’s are capable of learning difficult tricks. If a Maltese hears some suspicious noises, he will be quick to alarm the owners. A Maltese owner should be warned against overprotecting his little companion. Spoiled Maltese’s tend to become jealous of visitors and capricious.


In ensuring your pet’s health and safety, even the most responsible owner can overlook some of the following concerns. With a little forethought, however, many problems can be avoided.

Most owners heed the warning to never leave a pet in the car, but may fail to be aware of other places as that can become extremely hot. Some garages, sheds, greenhouses, or planter areas are much too hot for pets in the summer months. Be particularly aware of areas a pet may accidentally become trapped. Secure these locations so that pets can not enter as over heating can be a serious problem.

Garages often hold an assortment of tools, vehicles, and fluids presenting a variety of potential pet hazards. Beware of fluids, such as oil, paint, and especially antifreeze that are left out. They can be harmful or toxic to pets. Antifreeze is extremely dangerous as a small quantity can be fatal, and pets can be attracted to it because of its appealing taste. It is safest to keep cats out of garage as some will actually hide in the undercarriage of a car or other unsafe spot. Remember that if a cat is frightened, whether from loud noises or unexpected guests, he may be prone to hiding in unusual and dangerous places.

Another common situation is a wet dog. A wet dog in the summer may have skin, as well as odor and grooming issues; particularly pets with thick coats. Toweling your dog off after a swim and removing a wet collar helps reduce potential problems. If your pet gets wet in the winter, make sure he gets inside a warm and dry environment quickly. A wet pet can get chilled easily in the winter.

Finally, be aware of local hazards. Depending where one lives there may be other dangers. Snake bites, are of particular concern in the south. Insects are bothersome in many locations. While protection against fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes has become fairly universal, spiders, gnats, flies and other bugs can be serious pests in certain areas. Wild animals, even in the suburbs, may be a threat to your pet too. In some cases neighbors may present a hazard. While most neighbors are friendly, try to be aware if a neighbor is anti-pet. Sometimes children do not treat pets properly, but unfortunately some adults won’t treat a neighbor’s pet appropriately either. Fortunately, awareness combined with keeping a pet contained often helps this type of situation. These are some of the issues that are typically not thought about until a problem arises. However, with a little extra attention owner and pet can be spared unnecessary problems.

St. Louis Critter Sitters
Recipe Corner

Akita Style Lamb & Rice Dinner

  • 1 lb. Ground lamb (beef if you wish)
  • 1½ cups Brown rice
  • 2 Stalks Broccoli
  • 2 Medium potatoes -- (2 to 3)
  • 3 Medium carrots
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 1 sheet Kombu -- Sea Kelp (optional)

Brown lamb in a fry pan. After it gets going, put on the chopped garlic to brown.

Boil water, put about 4-5 cups into a crock-pot, so it is already hot while you are fixing the rest of the ingredients.

Add cubed potatoes to the fry pan. Cut broccoli and add this to the crock. Put the rest of the works in the pot, add enough hot water to cover. Add pepper to taste.

Throw in ½ cup brown rice and mix.

Pet Tip –
Feeding Do’s & Don’ts

No matter what you feed your pet, remember the following:

- Don't overfeed your pets. They don't always regulate their eating and there are many obese animals around.

- Don't give your cats or dogs milk. This may cause diarrhea, so use a milk substitute instead. Animals get their calcium from other foods in their diet.

- Don't feed your pets raw meat exclusively. If you use commercial pet food, vary their diets with vegetables, fish or raw chicken.

- Do include bones in your pets' diet - they're good for cleaning teeth and gums and providing calcium.

Crate Training
Crate training is not putting your dog/puppy in a cage or jail, and you are not being cruel if you follow these tips. Dogs feel secure in small, enclosed spaces, like a den. Dog crates make excellent dens. It is a safe place for him to stay when you're away or when you cannot watch him. Watch your own dog around home. Where do you find him napping in his deepest sleep? Under the table, desk, chair? Yes, somewhere out of the traffic pattern where he has a roof overhead and a little privacy. A crate offers security, a den with a roof, and a place to call his very own where he can go to get away from it all.

There are basically just a few steps in crate training and they are as follows: Choose a crate the same size as your puppy/dog. He should only have enough room to stand up, turn around and lie down. His crate is for sleeping or for a safe place to be when you cannot be with him. If you get a huge crate for a small dog, he may eliminate in one end and sleep in the other and you will have defeated the whole purpose of using the crate (dogs do not like to eliminate anywhere where they sleep or eat). If you have a puppy who will grow into a 60-70 lb. dog, you may have to buy two different crate sizes or purchase a crate with a divider you can move as he grows.

Use a single-word command for your dog to enter his crate, for example, "Kennel" -- throw in a treat or piece of kibble; when the dog/puppy enters, praise him and close the crate door. Increase the time he spends in the crate before you let him back out. Remember, your dog still needs time to play and eliminate. Maintain a regular schedule of trips outdoors so as not to confine him too long.

"You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give you this look that says,
`My God, you're RIGHT! I NEVER would've thought of that!'"
...Dave Barry