Feeding is one of the most important areas in your puppy’s development; it begins very early when the puppy is weaned and continues throughout its life. The food that a dog is given plays an important role in it’s muscle and bone development.

Your puppy is currently eating Nutrisource Small/Medium Food for Puppies

Bichon Frise - "Charley"

Bichon Frise – “Charley”

Nutrisource Small and Medium Breed Puppy Chicken and Rice Formula is ideal for growing small and medium breed puppies (breeds that mature at less than 50 lbs.). NutriSource Small and Medium Breed Puppy Food contains the higher levels of protein and fat needed by small and medium breed puppies and is formed to smaller, bite size shapes making it easier for small dogs to eat.

Once your puppy reaches 3 months, I do graduate them to Nutrisca Grain Free Potato Free Salmon/Chickpea.

I also like to use Primal Freeze Dried Formula for Dogs for training purposes. My puppies/dogs respond very quickly when I use Primal Freeze Dried Formula to train.

Please note that the Bichon Frise are grazers (meaning that they will only eat a few kibbles at a time throughout the day). Your puppy’s feeding schedule is as follows: I always leave a 1/2 cup of dry kibble available to the puppies during daytime hours. When I prepare the puppies for the day and give them their A.M. feeding – 1/2 cup Nutrisource OR Nutrisca Salmon Grain Free Potato Free kibble. I recheck their food periodically throughout the day and if needed, I will re-measure for another 1/2 cup dry kibble. If you notice that your Bichon Frise puppy is starting to get tear stains, please read my recommendations at Removing Red Eye and Mouth Stains On Bichons. The Bichon Frise puppies will have their food and water taken up around 7 P.M. A young puppy’s activity level is high and you will want to be sure that it is eating enough to develop properly and steadily gain weight.

Remember to keep a bowl or bottle of fresh clean water near your dog’s food bowl. In order to develop good eating habits, allow your dog its own dining area. Feeding times should be at the same time and in the same place every day. Your dog’s food and water should be served at room temperature so that the food is neither too hot nor too cold. Snack foods such as cake, chocolate, and other junk foods or people food are not for dogs and should never be given to them. Other unhealthy foods include spicy, fried, starchy or fatty foods. Chicken, pork, and fish bones can also be very dangerous to a dog if eaten since they can cause intestinal damage and tear the stomach lining.

If you choose to make any changes in diet, do so gradually. Begin by mixing small portions of the new food with the one being replaced, until it is completely switched over. The amount of food that a puppy eats and the number of times per day that a puppy is fed changes as it matures. After you take your puppy home, an adjustment period may be needed of at least two weeks. I always recommend that your puppy should have the first two weeks of the same diet that I sent them home with until they make their adjustment to their new homes. Remember though, that it is very important that your puppy receive a high quality diet to ensure ultimate health.

You may need to make some dietary changes depending on your dog’s age, growth, and activity level; your veterinarian can assist you in making these adjustments, if necessary. If your puppy becomes sick, the nutritional needs will change. Consult with your veterinarian to make the proper dietary adjustments; vitamin and mineral supplements can also be given.

There are a variety of feeding dishes to choose from hard plastic, stainless steel, and earthenware dishes, available in many shapes and sizes. My preference is stainless steel. Choose one that is large enough to hold each meal, but will not tip over or spill as your dog eats. It is very important to keep your dog’s feeding and watering dishes clean on a daily basis with hot soapy water, rinsed and dry thoroughly.

Vickie Halstead RN, CVNS, CCRN, CEN, CLNC

Knowing that skin problems/allergies is the #1 health problem in Bichons Frise means that it is imperative for owners to provide an optimal diet that will promote healthy skin and immunity against the allergic response and diseases, thereby bestowing a long and healthy life for Bichons.

As dog owners we have 3 choices for diets; processed dry kibble and/or wet foods, home-cooked meals, or raw foods. The massive dog food recall in March of 2007 compelled many to question the quality of their pets’ diets and whether the food is causing harm. In this author’s opinion, food that is processed in large factories is suspect so if you wish to feed your dog processed food, buy food made in smaller, more controlled factories owned by the food company, and food that is derived from organic, human-grade sources. In addition, most of the nutrients are destroyed during the processing of foods so supplements need to be added to the diet. However, feeding nutritious home-cooked or raw meals removes the guesswork as to the level of nutrients, but some supplements are still beneficial.

Feed your Bichon only top quality, organic, human-grade food that is bought in a pet store, not grocery or discount stores, or home-prepared diets. Keep in mind that animals used in some poor quality foods made in large factories may have been relegated unfit for human consumption, infected, may be dead dogs (pets that die and are not buried or cremated) or road kill, but used for dog foods.

Avoid the following ingredients in foods and treats (READ THE LABEL!):

1.Artificial preservatives and additives that are poisons which may cause cancer, skin problems, allergies, and other illnesses: ethoxyquin (a pesticide), BHA or BHT, food colorings, propylene glycol (similar to antifreeze)

2.Complex carbohydrates which the dog cannot fully break down (comes out in the stool): soy flour, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, wheat gluten, and wheat muddlings

3.Poor quality animal protein that comes from multiple animal sources: poultry meal, animal meal
* The first 3 ingredients should include 2 single-source whole meats such as chicken and chicken meal (instead of poultry meal)

4.Meat or poultry by-products which include organs, skin, feet, hooves, heads, udders, intestines, feathers

5.Corn (a cheap filler used by food companies) or wheat which can cause allergies or digestive problems

6.Sweeteners which can lead to diabetes

7.Vitamin K3 (AKA menadione, dimethylprimidinol sulfate, menadione sodium bisulfate, menadione sodium bisulfite, menadione, dimethylprimidinol sulfate) which can be harmful to the liver

This is an example of an acceptable list of ingredients for a dry dog food if the company used organic and human-grade foods:

Ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Salmon Meal, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Sunflower Oil, Pea Fiber, Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Salmon Oil (a source of DHA), Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Dried Eggs, Natural Flavor, Tomato Pomace, Carrots, Cranberries, Apricots, Choline Chloride, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Iron Proteinate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Folic Acid, Calcium Iodate, Cobalt Proteinate, Biotin, Selenium Yeast, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Rosemary Extract.

Providing a healthy diet for your Bichon will arm its immune system with the ability to fight skin problems, allergies, and other diseases. A diet containing a variety of proteins will reduce the incidence of an allergic response to repetitive exposure to offending ingredients over time. My dogs are fed a combination of dry kibble and the raw diet with supplements.

The references below are provided for further information on nutrition, and do not indicate BFCA endorsement of any products.
Selected References:
1.An Apple a Day: The ABC’s of Diet and Disease, by Barb Bancroft, RN. WellWorth Publishing, 2001.
2.The Truth About Pet Products, by R. L. Wysong, DVM. Inquiry Press, 2002.
3.Food Pets Die For, by Ann N. Martin. NewSage Press, 2003.
4.Protect Your Pet, by Ann N. Martin. NewSage Press, 2001.
5.Natural Health for Dogs & Cats, by Richard H. Pitcairn, DVM, PhD, and Susan Hubble Pitcairn. Rodale Press, 1982.
6.How to Have a Healthier Dog, by Wendell O. Belfield, DVM. Library of Congress, 1981.
* Whole Dog Journal http://www.whole-dog-journal.com
(See their annually published list of Top Dog Foods for Total Wellness)
* Home-cooked dog meal recipes – http://www.dogchefs.com and http://www.halopets.com
* Find a holistic vet http://ahvma.org
* Pet food recalls http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/petfoodrecall/