The fluffy white Bichon Frise is a small, playful dog who needs a high-quality diet that can pack into diminutive meals all 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.
Daily Calories for Bichon Frise
Bichon Frise 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.
Bichons in the first year of life should be fed the higher number 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 for Bichon Frise
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 Frise, 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 Frise at risk for developing bladder stones.
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, always keep plenty of freshwaters available.
Food Ingredients for Bichon Frise
Look for foods labeled as meeting the 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.
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 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. 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.
Food Related Allergies in Bichon Frise
Allergies are the biggest medical issues affecting Bichon Frise, 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 several weeks. When symptoms are gone, ingredients may be added one-by-one until symptoms reappear to identify the allergen.
If your Bichon Frise has skin irritation, fur loss, gloopy eyes, or ears, or if you find yourself saying Fluffy just isn’t herself, but you can’t put your finger on it, you may be dealing with an allergy. Eliminating grains is one course of action some nutritionists and veterinarians will take to identify and treat allergies, although we do not traditionally think of carbohydrates as having proteins that can cause allergy, in some cases they do.
Some argue that while ancestral wild dogs would have consumed some small amounts of non-meat foods – fruits and vegetables found in the bellies of their prey, for example – they would rarely if ever, have consumed grains or carbohydrates of any kind. They believe that dogs’ diets should remain grain and carb-free, period.
Types of Carb Conscious Bichon Food Diets
Low Carb Diet for Bichon Frise
Your average store-bought kibble is likely to be 40%-60% carbohydrate. Foods with less than 30% carbohydrate content will often call themselves “low carb,” when what they really mean is “lower” carb. Low carb does not necessarily mean grain-free, just as grain-free does not necessarily mean carb-free.
No Grain or Grain-Free for Bichon Frise
Dog foods free from grain might still contain other carbohydrates. When a dog is dealing with digestive problems, a nutritionist might suggest cutting out grains like corn and oats, while leaving in other carbs like potatoes, rice, or peas, which are less likely to cause allergy and stomach problems. Almost all dry dog foods require at least some sort of carb to hold the kibble together. Many wet foods will be totally grain-free.
No Carb Diet for Bichon Frise
There are few commercially prepared dogs’ foods with zero carbohydrates. If getting your dog off carbs completely is a goal, you might be relegated to a specialized wet food diet, a do it yourself home-cooked food regimen, or possibly even a raw food diet.
Other Carb Considerations
Processed cereal grains are inexpensive, both to produce and store. This is the primary reason they are included as the main ingredient in so many popular dog food brands, not because they are healthy for your dog.
When seeking alternatives, some pet owners will end up with a food that is still high in carbs, just different carbs, like tapioca and potatoes. Unless a dog has a sensitivity to grains, replacing small amounts of nutrient-rich whole grains with starchy vegetables has no real advantage.
The best course of action for a dog who is not dealing with specific allergies or sensitivities is to find a food that is very high in protein, with highly digestible carbs. When looking at ingredient labels for high protein foods, dry food should have over 28% and wet food should have above 6% protein.
Healthy Weight in Bichon Frise
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 cannot 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 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.
Suggested Senior Dog Foods / Grain Free / Chewy.com
- Blue Wilderness Chicken Grain-Free
- Hills Prescription Diet
- Natural Balance Original Ultra Senior Chicken
- Science Diet Grain-Free
- Homemade Dog Foods
Try until you find one that your Dog Likes Senior / Grain Free / Chicken / Lamb / Deer (or similar). Also, read you Ingredient Labels Avoid any Bi / Products
Bichon Frise Resource Links
|Bichon Frise Club of America||United States||Link|
|Bichon Frise AKC||United States||Link|
|Bichon Frise United Kennel Club||UK||Link|