The fluffy white Bichon Frise is a small, playful dog who needs a high-quality diet that can pack into diminutive meals all of the nutrients, vitamins and minerals required for excellent health. Careful management of your dog's weight, and attention to the ingredients in the diet, can help to prevent some potential bichon frise health issues, including allergies and back problems.
Bichon frises weigh between 10 and 18 pounds. Based on this weight, inactive or elderly bichons need between 296 and 495 calories per day, while active bichons or those participating in dog shows will require between 404 and 663 calories per day, according to the National Research Council of the National Academies. Bichons in the first year of life should be fed the higher amount of calories required for an active bichon frise. Look for foods labeled as appropriate for your bichon's life stage -- puppy, adult or senior. These foods contain a correct balance of ingredients and calories for these stages.
Divide your adult bichon's recommended daily ration in two, and feed your pet in the morning and evening. Pups should be fed three meals per day. This allows your bichon, who has a small stomach, to eat appropriately small meals, and lets you monitor your dog's appetite.
Types of Food
Canned dog food and dry kibble each offer different advantages for your bichon frise's health. The crunchy texture of dry dog food helps to scrape plaque from your dog's teeth. This is an important consideration for bichon frises, as the breed is prone to dental problems, according to Dog Channel. Canned food does not offer the plaque-removal benefit, but it contains significantly more water. Canned dog foods are about 75 percent water, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. High water content is important for bichon frises at risk for developing bladder stones, according to the Bichon Frise Club of America.
Canned and dry dog food can be mixed to get the advantages of both. If you combine foods, compute how much of each type your dog needs to meet caloric recommendations without overeating. Whether you feed your bichon canned or dry food, keep plenty of fresh water available at all times.
Look for foods labeled as meeting Association of American Feed Control Officials standards. Foods that meet AAFCO standards will provide complete and balanced nutrition for an adult dog or puppy, as specified on the label, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These foods contain at least 18 percent protein if they are for adult dogs and 22 percent protein for growing pups or nursing mothers, according to the AAFCO nutrient profiles of dog food. During the first year of your bichon frise's life, provide food specifically labeled for puppies.
Select a food for your bichon frise that lists a whole protein such as poultry, fish or beef as the first ingredient on the label. Because ingredients are listed in decreasing order by weight, the first named ingredients should include proteins, carbohydrates, grains, vegetables and fats. Whole grains such as barley, quinoa, barley, or brown rice provide your bichon frise with fiber and carbohydrates. They also are easier to digest than other types of grains, according to Dogster. Look for foods that contain vegetable and fish oils as healthy sources of fats and Omega-3 fatty acids. These help to keep your bichon's thick, white coat shiny and soft. Fats and carbohydrates also fuel the bichon frise's active life.
Avoid feeding your pet ingredients such as beet pulp, tomato pomace or artificial colorings, which can contribute to tear staining and can stain your bichon's white muzzle, according to the Bichon Frise Club of America.
Allergies are the biggest medical issues affecting bichon frises, the Bichon Frise Club of America says. These include contact, inhalant and food allergies. If you notice that your bichon frise has itchy skin or hair loss, take your pet to a veterinarian to determine the cause. Your veterinarian may recommend an elimination diet for your dog to determine the source of the allergy. This procedure involves changing to a hypoallergenic diet for a number of weeks. When symptoms are gone, ingredients may be added one-by-one until symptoms reappear in order to identify the allergen. While any food ingredient can trigger an allergy, proteins, corn, soy, wheat and cornmeal are common allergy sources. Soybeans and corn can also contribute to the formation of calcium-oxalate stones in the urinary tract.
Without sufficient exercise, a bichon frise can easily become overweight. Bichons have long backs and short legs, making them prone to intervertebral disc disease, a painful condition that can cause eventual paralysis. Making certain your little dog maintains a youthful figure can go a long way toward preventing the problem. Obesity can cause other conditions known to affect bichons, including urinary stones and diabetes.
Avoid overfeeding your bichon frise. Feel the ribs to determine if your dog is too fat. Your fingers should be able to readily feel the outlines of the bones. If you can't feel them without probing, the dog is overweight. Cut the ration and consult with your veterinarian about whether a special weight-control diet is needed. These diets provide fewer calories and a higher fiber content to keep a dieting dog feeling full longer.
If you determine that the ribs are too prominent and your dog is underweight, increase the ration and consult your veterinarian to determine whether your pet has a medical issue.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should Bichon Frise not eat?
Bichon Frise dogs are generally healthy and can eat a variety of foods. However, like all dogs, they should not eat certain types of food that can be toxic or harmful to them. Here are some foods that Bichon Frise dogs should not eat. Chocolate contains theobromine, which can be toxic to dogs and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and even death in severe cases. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs. Even small amounts can be toxic, so it's best to keep grapes and raisins away from your Bichon Frise. Onions and garlic can cause anemia in dogs due to the destruction of red blood cells. Even small amounts can be toxic, so it's best to avoid feeding your Bichon Frise these foods. Avocado contains persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, tremors, and hyperthermia in dogs. Even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous for dogs and can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, tremors, and even death. Cooked bones can splinter and cause blockages or tears in a dog's digestive system. It's best to avoid giving your Bichon Frise any cooked bones. And lastly, Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs and can cause rapid insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It's important to keep a close eye on what your Bichon Frise is eating and to keep these potentially harmful foods out of reach. If you are ever concerned that your dog may have ingested something toxic, it's important to contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) immediately.
How much should a Bichon Frise eat daily?
The amount of food that a Bichon Frise should eat daily will depend on a number of factors, including their age, size, activity level, and overall health. In general, Bichon Frise dogs are small to medium-sized dogs and will typically need between 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dry dog food per day, divided into two meals. It's important to consult with your veterinarian or a professional nutritionist to determine the specific nutritional needs of your Bichon Frise and to ensure that they are receiving the proper amount of food. It's also important to consider the quality of the food you are feeding your Bichon Frise. Look for food that is appropriate for your dog's life stage (puppy, adult, or senior), and that is made with high-quality ingredients. The first ingredient on the label should be a named meat source, such as chicken or beef, rather than a by-product or meal. Avoid foods that contain fillers, artificial preservatives, and other additives. In addition to a balanced diet, it's important to make sure that your Bichon Frise has access to clean, fresh water at all times. This will help keep them hydrated and prevent any health problems that can be caused by dehydration.
What human food can I feed my Bichon Frise?
While dogs can benefit from the occasional treat of human food, it's important to remember that a dog's nutritional needs are different from those of humans and that not all human foods are safe for dogs to eat. It's always best to check with your veterinarian or a professional nutritionist before giving your Bichon Frise any human food. Cooked, plain chicken or turkey can make a healthy, protein-rich treat for your Bichon Frise. Just be sure to remove any bones and avoid feeding them seasoned or salty meats. Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which can be beneficial for your Bichon Frise's coat and skin. Again, be sure to remove any bones and avoid feeding them salty or heavily seasoned fish. Some vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, and peas, can make healthy treats for your Bichon Frise. Just be sure to chop them into small pieces and avoid feeding them any vegetables that are toxic to dogs, such as onions and garlic. Peanut butter can be a healthy, protein-rich treat for your Bichon Frise, but be sure to choose a brand that does not contain xylitol, as this artificial sweetener is toxic to dogs. It's important to remember that these foods should be given as occasional treats and should not make up a significant portion of your Bichon Frise's diet. Their primary source of nutrition should be high-quality dog food that is formulated specifically for their needs.
How do I keep my Bichon Frise healthy?
There are several steps you can take to help keep your Bichon Frise healthy. Provide your Bichon Frise with high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their life stage (puppy, adult, or senior) and that is made with high-quality ingredients. Avoid foods that contain fillers, artificial preservatives, and other additives. Make sure that your Bichon Frise has access to clean, fresh water at all times to help prevent dehydration. Bichon Frise dogs are energetic and playful, so it's important to provide them with regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally healthy. This can include walks, runs, or playtime in the backyard. Bichon Frise dogs have long, fluffy coats that require regular grooming to keep them looking and feeling their best. This includes regular baths, brushing, and trimming to prevent matting and to keep their coat healthy and clean. Protect your Bichon Frise from parasites such as fleas, ticks, and worms by using preventive measures such as monthly medications and keeping their living area clean and free of debris. Keep them up to date on vaccinations. Consult with your veterinarian to determine which vaccines your Bichon Frise needs and make sure they receive them on schedule. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help catch any potential health issues early and allow for timely treatment.
Are Bichon Frise allergic to chicken?
It is possible for any dog, including Bichon Frise, to have an allergy to chicken or any other protein source. Allergies in dogs can cause a variety of symptoms, including skin irritation, itching, and gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect that your Bichon Frise may be allergic to chicken or any other food, it's important to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to diagnose the allergy and recommend a course of treatment, which may include a special diet or medications. If your Bichon Frise does have an allergy to chicken, there are many other protein sources that can be used in their diets, such as beef, lamb, fish, and eggs. It's important to work with your veterinarian or a professional nutritionist to determine the best diet for your Bichon Frise's individual needs.