My maltese is called Princess (very original I know!) and she had bad breath for a while. Took her to the vet and they said it was due to plaque on her teeth. So they advised a dental operation. Due to her heart condition she needs a test to see whether she'll survive being put to sleep for the operation. That test costs £1000 to check whether she'll survive it. Plus they've said there is a big chance she won't. Too risky for me.
I searched for non surgical dental cleaning - it exists. So opted for plaque off, it's had great reviews and she's been on it for 4 weeks now. Her breath has improved. However won't see full results until 8 weeks has passed (about another 4 to go).
I've started brushing her teeth daily now, which she absolutely hates. She'll eat the doggy tooth paste but closes her mouth when I get near her with the tooth brush. It's a fight to brush her teeth. I'll let you know if she gets used to it and what happens.
I started researching into things that she can chew on to help break down the plaque and pedigree dentastix came up top in the search engines. I've ordered a set to help combat this plague issue. The vet has said because she has such a small mouth she's more susceptible to teeth and gum problems.
The vets has also asked me to stick to dried foods but with so many out there it's hard to know which is best. I picked up Bakers from my local supermarket. After research it has come up with a 1/5 rating. So I've changed to Simpsons dog food, which has a great reputation (5/5) and cost about the same as Bakers.
Over the august bank holiday I woke up one day and could only see one of her eyes. The other was replaced with what I could only describe as a large lump of green goop. I thought she had lost her eye. The vet was closed so I had to take her to the RSPCA hospital. We waited for 3.5 hrs for them to look at her for 1 min to tell me she had conjunctivitis. They gave me eye drops and charged me £28 in total.
Her coat is also very high maintenance so I bought my own doggy grooming kit which came with combs, scissors, and clippers. That cost £12 from ebay. Bargain. I also purchased nail clippers for £1. It usually costs £30 to groom her at the shop so I do it myself.
All that's a snapshot of what life's like with a maltese.