Bichon Frises mature slower than other dogs and require more patience and different techniques than with other breeds. The needs of a German Shepherd may not be those of a Bichon Frise.
Do not buy your puppy from a pet store; you may never learn the dog’s background and rearing history which a good breeder will always reveal. A pet store puppy may have lived outside of a home and be fearful of household activity; good breeders ensure their puppies are used to all the experiences of a home environment and will settle quickly with new owners. A pet store seldom takes an interest in their puppies once they have sold them; good breeders know which of their puppies are dominant or quiet, enthusiastic, lively or placid. They are able to match the right puppy to the right owner and offer advice on grooming, feeding, training and health care. You and your dog should be happy with each other!
So now you have your new companion, what care does your new friend need? Well, for a start, the Bichon Frise needs frequent grooming. Brushing will help maintain a clean and healthy coat and also help you keep a closer eye on your animal’s health while strengthening the bond between you. If the coat is left ungroomed, it will turn tight and curly and lose its snowy appearance. Brush your Bichon’s coat frequently, and always before bathing, to remove tangles and loose or matted hair. Brush very carefully around the nose and eyes to avoid distressing your dog. Clean around the eyes daily to remove unsightly tear staining and help prevent dirt and bacteria from causing harm. Clean your Bichon’s ears gently with a warm, damp cloth. Bichons can develop ear infections as the hair grows thickly around the ear canals; attention here will help prevent this. Trim nails too; long nails can affect the way your dog walks, as well as causing damage to flooring! The Bichon Frise also needs good dental hygiene, so be sure to brush the teeth twice weekly to avoid build up of plaque and tartar which cause cavities and disease.
Feeding the Bichon Frise requires careful thought too. Most animals will thrive on fresh food, and the Bichon Frise is no exception. A dietary blend that contains poultry, lamb and fish is closest to the dog’s natural requirement. It is perfectly safe to feed dogs raw meat; although it is unsafe for humans to eat uncooked meat due to bacteria such as salmonella, dogs have a natural immunity and can eat the bacteria in meat without a problem. However, you should never feed them moldy food or cooked bones.
Most artificial diets are based on grains and cereals, diets suited to mammals with long digestive tracts such as grazing animals. Dogs have the large stomach and short straight digestive tract required to digest meat. They cannot break down complex carbohydrates such as corn, soybean and wheat, which can cause chronic digestive problems or itchy skin. Avoid corn-based dry dog food in case this has been tainted with aflatoxins which are lethal. Avoid artificial preservatives and additives too; these can cause cancer, skin problems, or allergies. Switching dog food brands too rapidly can also cause digestive troubles; mix the new food in with the familiar food in gradual amounts to avoid sudden reactions. Bichons should always be fed top quality dog food containing no harmful meat or poultry by-products.
Look after your Bichon Frise and you will have a wonderful companion and friend!
by Sandy Peaks