Your bichon frise displays a distinctive white powder-puff hairstyle. This double-layered poofy coat looks cute on this happy little dog but requires high maintenance to keep it looking neat and mat-free. Regular bathing and frequent brushing are required, and neglecting either can leave your bichon looking dingy and unkempt.
If you combine the dense, bushy nature of your bichon's hair with the common misconception that he doesn't shed, you may think that he doesn't need to be brushed. This is not true, as every dog breed sheds. You just don't notice it on the bichon because his dense hair traps the loose strands. If left alone, these trapped strands can collect dirt and become entangled with each other, causing tight, unsightly mats. Work a pin brush or metal comb through his entire coat to remove dead hair and straighten any wanna-be tangles. Your bichon can mat quickly and easily, so he should be brushed daily, or at least three times a week, to prevent the mats from taking hold. Unlike most other breeds, you must brush your bichon's coat upward instead of down against the skin. This will encourage the poofy look of his breed.
Your bichon's poofy hair doesn't naturally grow in that cute little perfectly rounded shape, and he'll need trimmed once a month or so to keep him neat and shaped properly. The areas around his eyes, tail and face need particular attention, as long hair in these areas can cause your dog discomfort and end up a mess through normal activities such as eating and trips outside. Trimming a dog is no easy feat, and one that may be best left to professional groomers if you're not sure how to do it or are worried about hurting your pet.
All dogs with white coats require regular baths to keep them looking bright and clean, and your bichon has no problems with a monthly, bi-monthly or even weekly trip to the tub. Special whitening shampoos can help remove stains and stubborn dirt, and commercial cleaners are available to remove the tearstains that can form under your bichon's eyes. Wipe his face every day with a water-moistened washcloth or cotton ball to remove any tear residue before it stains.
Other Grooming Responsibilities
Although your bichon's coat is by far the most time-consuming part of his grooming routine, other important areas require regular tending. Clean his ears once a week to remove any wax buildup and dirt that may have accumulated, and brush his teeth daily to prevent dental problems and bad breath. Trim his nails once or twice a month unless he wears them down naturally, but be careful not to nick the vein inside called the quick or he'll make the next nail-trimming episode much more difficult. If any part of his grooming routine makes you uncomfortable, seek the advice or services of a professional groomer, and let the professionals give your dog the royal treatment.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.