If you love a Bichon, you surely want the best for them, including the best diet. A good diet is essential to your dog’s health, and there are some important differences between how a Bichon should be fed compared to some other breeds.
What Can And Cannot Bichons Eat?
For the most part, Bichon Frises can and cannot eat the same things as others breeds of dogs, but since the Bichon Frise is such a small breed dog that can be prone to weight gain and luxating patella, it is essential that they should be kept on a low-fat and low-calorie diet.
You want the best for your Bichon Frise, so you know you need to keep them at a good weight, but it can be awfully hard to say no to those puppy eyes. Here’s what you need to know about how to give your Bichon Frise a great life full of delicious foods, motivate them for training, and keep them at an ideal weight, all at the same time.
What Should A Bichon Frise Eat?
All dogs have some foods that are safe and some foods that may poison them. Like any other dog, Bichons should never eat grapes, onion, avocado, or any other foods that is not advised for dogs. If your Bichon ever does eat something that may be toxic to dogs, it is essential that you seek medical attention immediately. Bichons are very small dogs, so even a single grape can be life threatening.
Beyond avoiding foods that are dangerous to your Bichon, there are some more specific things to understand about your Bichon Frise if you want to give them the best possible diet:
Prone To Weight Gain
Bichon Frises are little dogs that tend to be very food-motivated. That means that it can be easy for them to gain weight. The same kind of dog food and treats that would be fine for a larger dog can easily lead to weight gain in a Bichon.
Since the Bichon Frise, like many other small dogs, are prone to luxating patella, it is very important that they not have any excess weight. Even a small amount of extra weight can put additional strain on the joint, which can exasperate the symptoms of luxating patella and cause your dog to go lame.
Therefore, it is absolutely critical that you maintain your Bichon at an ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help you to understand what is the right weight. In general, you should be able to feel the outline of the hips and ribs underneath the fluffy coat, but they should not feel sharp against your hand.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help if you’re not sure. The fluffy coat can make it harder for you to determine whether or not your Bichon is at a good weight than in a dog that has a sleeker coat. To keep your Bichon Frise at the ideal weight, here are a few suggestions
Weight Control Or Small Breed Dog Food
Your veterinarian can help you determine whether you need a weight control diet for your Bichon or whether small breed food is enough. It is better to feed your dog a diet formulated for small dogs, as they tend to take into account the tendency of little dogs to gain weight and make a filling diet without providing so many calories that it will be easy for your dog to gain too much weight.
Make Your Own Treats
Even if you are paying for high quality dog treats, you may not be giving your dog the lowest-fat treats possible. The type of meat used to make dog treats are often the fatty cuts that are less desirable for humans. Commercial dog treats use products like meat by-products that may have an uncertain amount of fat and unnecessary calories.
Additive like molasses or honey are completely unnecessary to make a treat appetizing to a dog, and they have unneeded calories. You can do your research and find a company that provides very quality treats, but you will often find that these treats are very expensive.
If you want to buy treats, the best option is typically to buy whole cuts of vegetable or fruit that have been dehydrated, like apple or sweet potato. However, many people find that it is much more affordable and convenient to make their own treats at home.
Whether you have a dehydrator or just an oven, you can make delicious treats that your Bichon Frise will love without worrying about them having more calories than they need. Dehydrated sweet potato, carrot, apple, banana, and more work well.
You can also blend ingredients together with other healthy options like oats to create your own dog treats that your Bichon will love but that will seem very healthy and not add to their waistline.
Bichons Tend To Be For Motivated
One important consideration when you are choosing a diet for your Bichon is your training. Bichons are highly trainable, provided they are properly motivated. However, without sufficient motivation, the average Bichon Frise may choose to do what they want instead of what you want.
Therefore, Bichon owners often find that their Bichon’s treats are an invaluable tool in training their dog and getting them to obey commands. You need to strike a balance between offering treats that are very appealing to your dog without offering anything that is too fattening or high in calories.
Making your own treats can be the best way to do this, but the dehydrated fruit and grain that work as every day treats may not be enough to get your Bichon to obey if they are in a very distracting situation or they want to do something different than what you want them to do.
Here are suggestions to help you use food as motivation for your Bichon without giving them too much or too fattening of food.
Boiled chicken is one of the few treats in the dog world that strikes the magical balance between being extremely appealing to your dog but not being highly fattening. Even better, cooked chicken leaches out its oil with anything you mix with it and also becomes a highly valuable training treat.
Try boiling chicken, cutting off any excess fat, chopping it up, mixing it up with your dog’s kibble, and putting it in the fridge. Ideally, the mixture should set overnight, but even a couple of hours is generally sufficient.
You’ll likely find that your dog is just as excited to get bits of kibble as bits of kibble, dramatically extending how far your training treats go.
Peanut Butter Licks
Many dogs find peanut butter to be extremely appealing. However, peanut butter is quite fattening and high in calories, so you can only give your dog very small amounts of peanut butter.
Luckily for you, it doesn’t take very much peanut butter to motivate the average Bichon. A good way to do it is to freeze peanut butter onto some sort of serving stick or spoon. Allow it to thaw slightly, then offer your dog a very small periodically as a reward during training.
This can be the perfect way to train your Bichon to enjoy being groomed or having their nails clipped, even if previously they have hated these activities. You may be amazed by how little peanut butter it actually takes and how long your peanut butter stick lasts.
Freeze dried whole fish is one of the few commercial products that you can buy with a good level of confidence that it will be healthy for your dog. Fish like minnows or sardines have a lot of oil, but it is a type of oil that is beneficial to your dog.
Most Bichon Frises find fish to be a highly desirable. You only need a very small amount of dried or fresh fish to offer a lot of motivation to your dog. Mixing small amounts of fish oil with your dog’s kibble can also add an X-factor to your dog’s training treats.
As an added benefit, fish oil has advantages for your dog’s joint. Since Bichon Frises can be prone to joint problems, you may find the potential health benefits of fish oil and whole fish to make them the preferred choice for a high value treat for your dog. For most people, the hardest part of using these sorts of treats is the fishy smell.
If you can’t handle the smell, stick to chicken or peanut butter and offer fish oil supplements instead.
Enjoy Feeding Your Bichon
Bichons are little dogs who don’t need to eat very much, so every mouthful counts. By thinking creatively about how to make your Bichon’s kibble exciting enough to be a training treat, you can make much more from every scoop. Using healthy, home-made training treats like boiled chicken and dehydrated veggies enable you to feed your Bichon well with a reasonable budget. Treats like whole dried fish provide additional health benefits, so you can feel confident that you are giving your dog the healthiest possible diet.