What Is The Best Dog Food for a Bichon Frise?
Bichon Frise Food – Here’s The Scoop
The Bichon Frise is a small companion dog that is easy to recognize by its fluffy white coat. They are playful, loving, and gentle. They are also known for being intelligent and outgoing.
The breed is part of a family of bichon-type dogs that include the Havanese, the Coton de Tulear, and other small companion dogs. The Bichon Frise is believed to be descended from the Barbet or water spaniel from the Mediterranean. They are also related to the Poodle.
Bichons make excellent house and apartment dogs. They get along very well with children and other pets. They shed very little and the breed is often recommended for people who are allergic to dogs. The Bichon Frise was admitted into the AKC in 1972. Today the breed is the 44th most popular breed in the U.S.
Male Bichons Frises are about 9-12 inches tall at the withers and females are 9-11 inches tall. Bichons Frises usually weigh between 10 and 20 pounds. There is a wide range for the Bichon’s weight because it depends on the dog’s height and frame. As long as the dog looks like his weight is appropriate for his size, he should be fine. Because of the dog’s fluffy/curly coat, you should feel his body to see if he is in good condition or overweight.
Although Bichons are small dogs they can be very active. Along with being playful at home they require regular exercise every day such as long walks or a chance to run and play outside. Many owners enjoy taking part in activities such as agility, rally, obedience, and other dog sports with their Bichons. The Bichon Frise also makes a wonderful therapy dog. If your Bichon will be engaging in any of these activities you should take this into consideration when you are figuring how much work he does and how many calories he needs.
According to the National Research Council of the National Academies, an active adult Bichon Frise weighing 15 pounds requires an average daily caloric intake of 532 calories. Dogs that have been spayed/neutered, or that are older, may need slightly fewer calories. Some dogs may need more calories depending on their level of activity and their individual metabolism. Growing puppies, for example, consume more calories than adult dogs and so do young adult dogs. A young Bichon puppy weighing 8 pounds needs an estimated 369 calories per day.
Bichons are small dogs so many people prefer to feed a dog food that is made for small breeds. Pound for pound, small breeds like the Bichon burn more calories than larger dogs. Small breed dog foods typically have more calories per ounce of food to help meet these calorie needs. Small breeds also tend to grow quickly during their first few months – more quickly than many large and giant breeds, for example. Many small dogs such as Bichons mature earlier than big dogs. Your Bichon can be an adult while a Great Dane is still growing for two years. Small breed puppy foods are usually a good choice for a Bichon Frise puppy to provide the calories, vitamins and minerals they require.
Quick Look : Top 4 Best Dog Foods for Bichons Frises
|Wellness CORE Grain Free Small Breed Formula
Read Reviews Where To Buy
|Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
|Fromm Adult Gold Dog Food||$1.80/lb|
|Orijen Original Adult Dog Food||$3.16/lb|
Feeding Your Bichon Frise
According to owners, some Bichons Frises can have gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea due to a sensitive digestive system. If this is the case with your dog you may need to feed a food for sensitive digestion or find out if your dog has food allergies or sensitivities. Most Bichons won’t have these issues but they can occur.
Small dogs like the Bichon are not able to eat large meals at one time so foods made for small breeds are usually a good choice. In addition to having more calories per ounce these foods will also have more nutrients per ounce so your Bichon will be getting the nutrition he needs.
Some Bichons Frises can be inclined to overeat so it’s a good idea to measure how much you are feeding your dog and watch his weight. Most people recommend feeding the Bichon two meals per day as an adult. Bichon puppies can eat three or four meals per day until they are old enough to switch to an adult diet.
The Bichon’s small size means that you can feed a canned food diet without breaking the bank. It’s up to you whether you choose to feed canned or kibble. There are many good foods available in both diet formats.
Bichon Frise Health Problems
Bichons Frises are generally considered to be a healthy breed, especially if you check around and get a dog from a good breeder. Like most breeds there are some health problems that can crop up but, according to the Bichon Frise Club of American, most of the common issues in the breed are not life-threatening.
Health problems that sometimes appear include: allergies – especially skin allergies; bladder infections and bladder stones; patellar luxation and disc degeneration; early tooth loss and gingivitis; and eye problems such as cataracts.
Other health problems that sometimes occur in Bichons but which are less common include some cancers, mitral valve disease (a cardiac problem), liver shunt, gastrointestinal problems, and metabolic health problems such as diabetes, Cushings disease, and pancreatitis. These health issues do not occur very frequently but they are possible.
You can find good information about Bichon Frise health issues on the Bichon Frise Club of America web site. It is not unusual for a Bichon to live well into their teen years.
Ingredients to Look for and Some to Avoid
As with most dogs, when choosing a food for your Bichon you should look for a food that has good sources of protein and fat.
Ideally you will select a dog food that features two or three meat proteins in the first several ingredients listed. Both whole meats and meat meals are good sources of protein. Whole meats refer to foods such as whole chicken, beef, fish, and lamb. Some people don’t like meat meals as much as whole meats but they are a concentrated form of the meat in which the moisture has been removed. They contain several times as much protein as a whole meat. Meat meals are usually quite acceptable as one of the first ingredients in a good quality dog food. They are used by many good dog food brands.
Many dog foods today, even some of the most expensive and highly touted, use lots of plant proteins such as lentils and peas. These foods often have high protein percentages on the label. When you read the guaranteed analysis it’s important to consider how much of the protein in the food comes from meat and how much comes from plants. Your dog is able to digest meat protein more easily than plant protein. Meat protein is a much more natural source of protein for your dog than plant protein.
Dogs also need good sources of fat. You should look for named fat sources such as chicken fat. Other named fats also provide needed nutrients such as fish oil which can provide omega-3 fatty acid to help keep the skin and coat healthy. Puppies can benefit from DHA which is Docosahexaenoic acid. This is a specific form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps with brain and eye development. Older dogs seem to benefit from medium chain triglycerides which feature medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs). These have been found to help older dogs feel and act younger. They are often made from a combination of coconut oil and other oils.
If you want to avoid corn, soy, and wheat in your dog food, your Bichon Frise may still be able to eat an alternative grain. Or you can feed a grain free dog food that uses an alternate source of carbs such as sweet potatoes. You don’t have to feed a dog food with an excessively high percentage of protein but it’s a good idea to keep the carb percentage low to moderate.
If your Bichon Frise has a food allergy or food sensitivity, you may need to work with your veterinarian to identify the food triggers unless they are very obvious. There are lots of good foods with alternative meat proteins today as well as limited ingredient diets which we will discuss below.
Recommended Dog Food For An Adult Bichon Frise
Bichon Frises can eat many good quality dog foods but some Bichons can be prone to food allergies. If your dog has a food allergy or food sensitivity you will need to try to avoid foods with ingredients that are triggers for your dog. We have listed some foods we recommend for dogs with food allergies and food sensitivities below. Sometimes a food trigger is obvious but if your dog is showing signs of a food allergy (or any allergy) and you’re not sure of the cause, it’s a good idea to work with your veterinarian to determine the allergens that bother your dog. (I had two dogs with no known food allergies but when I fed them food from one highly respected brand they started itching/scratching and their ears turned red. I don’t know what triggered the reaction. I stopped feeding the food and we’ve never had a problem again. Sometimes you don’t know what causes a reaction but you can avoid a trigger. In other cases, if an allergen is found in lots of foods, it may not be so easy to avoid.)
We have suggested a variety of foods here for Bichon Frises. These foods do not contain corn, wheat, or soy. You may have to try a couple of foods to find which one is best for your dog. You should also keep in mind that your dog’s dietary needs can change as he grows and ages so you may have to change foods to suit him.
Best Dog Foods for Bichon Frise Adults
|Wellness CORE Grain Free Small Breed Formula
Read Reviews Where To Buy
|Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef & Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food
Read Reviews Where To Buy
|Fromm Adult Gold Dog Food||$1.80/lb|
|Orijen Original Adult Dog Food
Small breeds have higher energy needs than other dogs. Wellness CORE Grain Free Small Breed formula is high in protein and calories to meet those needs. The first five ingredients are Deboned Turkey, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Potatoes, and Peas. The food is high in protein (36 percent crude protein) and moderate in fat (16 percent crude fat). It checks in at 396 kcal/cup. It has no meat by-products or filler ingredients. It also includes glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints; antioxidants and probiotics. We also like the fish and flax omega for good coat and skin. And it has no grain, corn, soy, wheat-gluten or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. It also has a smaller-sized kibble that makes the food easier for small dogs to eat. We think this is a very good grain free dog food for a Bichon. Wellness CORE also has other dry and canned formulas if your Bichon would prefer different recipes. We think this is a good grain free food for many small breed dogs.
The first five ingredients in this food are Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes. This recipe is an all life stage food except for growth of large breed dogs with 430 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It has 70 percent meat ingredients, 30 percent vegetables, vitamins, and minerals. It is grain free – no corn, soy, or wheat. No gluten. No ingredients from China. It has 38 percent crude protein and 17 percent crude fat, with 3.5 percent crude fiber. It also has glucosamine and chondroitin added, as well as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It’s very similar to Merrick’s regular Grain Free Real Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipe but it’s formulated for small dogs. Merrick uses local growers from Texas, where the food is made. We think this is good quality protein and other ingredients for Bichon Frises that need good nutrition. Not everyone will like a protein percentage this high but if you do, give this food a try. Merrick’s Lil’ Plates kibble also comes in salmon and beef formulas.
Fromm Small Breed Adult Gold makes a good food for small dogs like the Bichon. It has kibble pieces that are small in size so small dogs can eat them easily. Fromm is a family business that has been making dog food for generations in Wisconsin. The first five ingredients in this food are duck, chicken meal, chicken, oatmeal, and pearled barley. Even dogs that have problems with cereals/grains like corn and wheat can often safely eat oatmeal and barley. These ingredients provide good sources of dietary fiber for your dog’s digestion, too. The food is also enhanced with probiotics to aid digestion and salmon oil to keep the skin healthy. The food has 26 percent protein, 17 percent fat, and 3.5 percent fiber according to the guaranteed analysis. (Technical analysis here) This is a food for growth and maintenance with 416 calories per cup. We hear great things about Fromm from everyone who feeds it.
Orijen is consistently rated as one of the best foods around. This is particularly true if you are looking for a grain free food with lots of protein. Orijen prides itself on being a “biologically appropriate” food for dogs, meaning that it is based on what your dog needs as a carnivore. The first five ingredients in this food are all animal proteins: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail ﬂounder, whole eggs, whole Atlantic mackerel. The food features 85 percent poultry/fish/eggs and 15 percent fruit, vegetables, and botanicals, with no grains, potatoes, or GMO ingredients, which many people will be pleased to see. This is a low-carb, low-glycemic food, which is also appealing to many dog lovers. The food has no protein concentrates. Orijen Original has 38 percent crude protein and 18 percent crude fat, and 4 percent crude fiber, and checks in with 449 kcal per 8 ounce cup. This is a rich food so you won’t have to feed your Bichon very much. This food is made in Kentucky now but we can’t see any change in quality. Orijen Adult Dog food is highly recommended.
Best Dog Foods for Bichon Frise Puppies
Bichon Frise puppies can usually begin eating a puppy food after they are weaned or they can eat a good all life stage food. Some people like to feed a puppy food for a few months and then switch over to an all life stage food when their puppy is a few months old. If you have questions about how to feed your puppy, we recommend talking to your puppy’s breeder. They usually have the most experience with raising Bichon Frise puppies and can guide you.
Puppy foods should have a calcium to phosphorus ratio of about 1.2 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus, though there is some slight room for variation such as 1.5:1.2. It’s also important that dog and puppy foods do not have an excess (or deficiency) of calcium since this can affect bone growth. If you are feeding your puppy a food that is properly formulated, you should not add any extra calcium, such as milk, cottage cheese, or other calcium supplements. Doing so can lead to serious health problems such as OCD (osteochondritis dessecans) – a painful lameness that may require surgery – and other orthopedic problems.
Here are some of the puppy foods we like for Bichon Frise puppies. Note that an all life stage food can also be fed, as long as the nutrients are appropriate for your puppy.
Canidae Grain Free Pure Foundations Puppy Formula is a limited ingredient food with nine ingredients plus vitamins and minerals and probiotics. We think that a limited ingredient food may be a good choice for Bichon puppies. It’s grain free with probiotics to help digestion; antioxidants for a healthy immune system; and omega 3 and 6 to support healthy skin and a beautiful coat. The first five ingredients are Chicken, menhaden fish meal, lentils, peas, potatoes. The recipe is supposed to be especially good for puppies with sensitive digestion. The food has 30 percent crude protein, 12 percent crude fat, 4 percent crude fiber, and 10 percent moisture. This food checks in at 520 kcal/cup, so it’s high in calories but active, growing Bichon puppies can usually burn them off. Just remember that you don’t need to feed a lot of food with these very nutrient-dense foods. If your Bichon Frise puppy does well on this puppy food, Canidae has some good adult foods – both grain free and foods with grains.
Canine Caviar Limited Ingredient Diet Puppy food has no corn, no wheat, no soy. It’s grain free, gluten-free, and it’s GMO-free. It contains no by-products, tapioca, or potatoes. It has a single protein (dehydrated chicken) and carbohydrate source (split peas – though we aren’t sure if sun-cured alfalfa counts as a carbohydrate or not) and the meat is hormone-free, pesticide-free, and antibiotic-free. It also has the proper calcium level for puppies. There’s more, but you get the idea. It is specifically formulated for small breed puppies. If you are trying to be very careful with your Bichon puppy, then this LID holistic puppy food from Canine Caviar is definitely a food you may want to consider. Canine Caviar also has several other formulas so you can rotate the proteins.
Best Dog Foods for the Senior Bichon Frise
It’s not unusual for many Bichon Frises to live into their teen years. This means that you will probably need to consider what kind of food to feed your Bichon Frise as he gets older. As your dog ages it’s a good idea to plan an annual senior check-up with your vet. Many older dogs begin to put on pounds as they become less active. For this reason, most senior dog foods have fewer calories and they can skimp on protein. You should watch your older dog’s weight as he gets older to make sure he doesn’t become overweight. In some cases you can simply cut back on the portions of his regular dog food to help him stay fit or increase his exercise.
On the other hand, some very old dogs often start to have some problems metabolizing nutrients, including protein. It can become hard for them to keep good muscle tone and weight as they age. For this reason, you may wish to avoid many dog foods labeled “senior.” These foods are often formulated for older dogs that have gained weight. Instead, look for a senior dog food that we like which has lots of protein. As long as your older dog doesn’t have any problems with his kidneys or with phosphorus, there is no reason to avoid higher protein levels.
Orijen Senior provides plenty of excellent quality protein for your older Bichon Frise. This food features deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail ﬂounder, whole eggs, and whole Atlantic mackerel. It helps keep older dogs in good muscle even as they become less active. Made of 85 percent meats and fish, the food is low-glycemic and has low carbs to help keep your older dog’s blood sugar steady. The food also contains natural sources of glucosamine and chondroitin to keep your Bichon Frise’s joints healthy. The food is 38 percent crude protein and 15 percent crude fat. It checks in at 414 kcal per 8 ounce cup. We think this is a very good food for senior dogs who often need extra protein as they get older. (We know Orijen is expensive but this food really stands out for senior dogs.)
Another food you may want to consider for older dogs is Weruva’s Caloric Harmony Venison and Salmon Meal Dinner with Pumpkin. This food (and several others in this product line) is potato-free with no corn or wheat, easy to digest, and low-glycemic. It contains pumpkin and oatmeal for healthy gut motility. The first five ingredients are: Venison, Venison Meal, Salmon Meal, Herring Meal, and Oatmeal. Meat protein comes from grass-fed venison. The dry matter basis for this food is an estimated 37.8 percent protein;14.4 percent fat; 3.9 percent fiber; and 35 percent carbs. The calorie count (calculated) is Metabolizable Energy (ME) 3320 kcal/kg; 348 kcal/cup. Those look like good figures for senior dogs that need more protein without extra fat.
Best Dog Foods for Bichons Frises with Skin Problems/Allergies
Some Bichons can have allergies that manifest as itchy skin; or they can have other skin problems. In some cases changing your dog’s food can help. For example, red yeast is often the cause of the staining that occurs on a dog’s face from tears. Sometimes switching dog food to a food without some of the common allergens can make the staining stop. The tears themselves can be due to hair irritating your dog’s eyes or other common problems.
If your Bichon has skin problems or food allergies, here is a food we think might help. It is free of ingredients that commonly result in allergic reactions.
Any dog suffering from skin problems or food allergies may benefit from Wild Calling!’s Xotic Essentials recipes. Formulas like their rabbit meal recipe use exotic meats that are rare in today’s pet food market so your dog hasn’t eaten them before – less chance of having an allergic reaction. The foods are also highly digestible. Wild Calling! also uses what they call LITe (limited ingredient technology). They don’t use any of the ingredients commonly found in most dog foods such as chicken, grain, gluten, egg, yeast, corn, wheat or soy. If your Bichon has a food allergy, he may benefit from Wild Calling! The foods are formulated for rotational feeding and they offer several Xotic Essentials recipes, such as kangaroo and bison, so your dog doesn’t get over-exposed to one kind of meat protein. This is an All Life Stage food. We think that dogs with skin problems and food allergies can definitely benefit from these recipes.
Best Dog Foods for Bichons Frises with Sensitive Stomachs
Some dogs are susceptible to food sensitivities that affect their digestion and excretion. If your dog has a sensitive stomach it can be an indication of a food sensitivity, which is different from a food allergy. A dog with a food sensitivity will have gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea. Or it could be something more serious.
A dog with a sensitive stomach can often be helped by feeding the right dog food. Sticking to a limited ingredient diet food with as few ingredients as possible can reduce the chance of your dog having a bad reaction to something in the food.
If your Bichon can eat potatoes, we recommend Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Potato & Duck Small Breed Bites Dry Dog Formula. This food is grain free with limited ingredients. It has good quality, alternative ingredients that are easily digestible for a dog with a sensitive stomach. And it contains no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
However, we understand that some dogs have issues with potatoes so we also recommend AvoDerm Grain Free LID Revolving Menu Small Breed Beef Recipe. AvoDerm’s LID formulas are grain free, gluten-free, with one single animal protein source to minimize the chance of a reaction. The carbs in the food are garbanzo beans and peas. You can feed one formula or feed the AvoDerm LID foods in rotation – whichever works best for your Bichon. Don’t worry about the avocados in these foods. They will not harm your dog. They are a good source of fiber, vitamins A, C, and E, as well as fatty acids and other nutrients.
Best Dog Foods for Overweight Bichon Frises
If your Bichon becomes overweight, it may be due to overfeeding and not enough exercise. You can help your dog lose weight by cutting back on his portions and encouraging him to get more exercise.
If your Bichon needs to lose more than one or two pounds, however, you may need to consider a weight control dog food.
We do not recommend a weight control dog food for a puppy or a very old dog. These foods generally have fewer calories and may have some other differences in nutrients that make them inappropriate for growing puppies or older dogs who need special nutrition.
If you have a Bichon who needs to lose weight we recommend Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe. We like the fact that this food has 32 percent crude protein. The crude fat percentage is between 8 and 11 percent with 5 percent crude fiber so your dog should not feel like he’s starving. It is AAFCO-approved for a maintenance diet. The food has 3,210 kcal per kilogram or 360 kcal per cup ME (metabolizable energy) on an as fed basis (calculated). It is grain free and made from 55 percent beef and poultry. And it contains no corn, wheat, or soy and no ingredients from China.
If your dog needs to lose weight, you should proceed slowly. No crash dieting. You should aim for your dog to lose no more than 3 to 5 percent of his body weight per month or about one percent each week.
Most people who meet a Bichon Frise fall in love instantly. They are cute, adorable, friendly and very affectionate. They make wonderful pets and they get along with just about everyone and every other kind of animal. We hope that this look at foods for the Bichon helps you as you make your new friend feel at home.