The Bichon Frise is regarded as a healthy breed, but as with many pint sized breeds, may be prone to liver shunts. Liver shunts are a condition where some of the blood in the body bypasses the liver and heads straight to the heart. The condition can be resolved with a one time surgery. Like many white dogs, allergies can be common, as can dental issues. The Bichon Frise’s lifespan is 12 to 15 years, which is in line with other small dogs and slightly longer than many purebred dogs.
Primary Health Conditions of the Bichon Frise
Allergies are common in the Bichon Frise, and most will display some symptoms of allergic reactions like sneezing or coughing. About 50% of Bichon allergies are minor, and result only in periodic or seasonal scratching. Owners should take care during the warmer months, as some Bichons will injure themselves while seeking to satisfy an itch. Antihistamines are often used to control allergic responses.
Patellar luxation is also common in the Bichon Frise, which involves loose ligaments leading to a shifting of the knee.
Many dogs of this breed suffer from gum disease, which can lead to urinary tract infections. Regular brushing and teeth cleanings are recommended.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Bichon Frise
A less common but still serious condition that troubles the Bichon Frise is the liver shunt, an abnormality that allows blood to pass from the digestive tract to general circulation without detoxification by the liver. This condition often goes unrecognized until the dog develops complications that cannot be treated, resulting in a shortened lifespan.
Cataracts in the Bichon Frise are an inherited problem that is passed from parents to pups. Adult Bichon Frise with cataracts should not be used for breeding, and if purchasing a full bred Bichon, ask your breeder for documentation to show that the parents were tested for this disorder.
Finally, although the Bichon Frise is not unduly susceptible to cancers, it does occur in this breed. Surgery is the usual treatment.
Bichon Frise Exercise and Walking Needs
The Bichon Frise is a moderately active dog. As such, a short walk once or twice a day with some play involved will satisfy most dogs of this breed. At times, the Bichon Frise can be quite excitable, and regular moderate exercise will help to calm the dog. The Bichon is fond of performing simple tricks and will expend a good deal of energy “dancing” or rolling over.
Bichon Frise Nutritional Needs
The optimal diet for the Bichon Frise is typically a cup of high quality dry kibble a day. Puppies will want to eat about 4 times a day, whereas older dogs can be fed a half cup twice a day. If dry food is sufficient in nutrients for the Bichon Frise, additions of meat and vegetables to the diet are not necessary. Be aware that bladder stones and other gastrointestinal problems can develop in this breed if too many extra treats are included in the diet.
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This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.