After the 2007 pet food scare in which some canned dog and cat foods were found to contain the deadly byproduct melamine, many bichon frise owners sought alternatives. Feeding your bichon veggies and lean meats -- such as chicken -- is fine, but always add some dry kibble to ensure a balanced diet.
Health of Breed
According to a 2007 survey conducted by the Bichon Frise Club of America, allergies, calcium oxalate uroliths (stones) and patellar luxation were the three top ranking conditions of greatest concern for the breed. While a diet of chicken and veggies can help with chronic allergies, especially those involving stomach upsets, the club suggests that bichon owners also feed dry kibble to ensure that all of the required nutrients are met.
Changing the Diet
Because bichons can be picky eaters, some owners find the lean meat their dog will eat and then stick with it. However, Vickie Halstead of the Bichon Frise Club of America suggests that owners add variety to the bichon's diet, to help "prevent the development of allergies from a repeated exposure to offending ingredients over time." In addition to chicken, Halstead suggests lean mean and occasionally, mackerel.
People aren't the only ones who should eat veggies. Plant food is a good addition to your bichon's diet as it adds fiber and plenty of nutrients required for healthy living. However, if your bichon is prone to developing stones, don't feed as much chicken (protein) and avoid veggies that increase urinary acidity and oxalate content, such as corn, broccoli and soybeans. Also, note that beet pulp or tomato pomace can cause tear and saliva staining.
Raw or Cooked?
If you decide to feed lean meat, how you serve it -- raw or cooked -- is a question you'll have to decide. While some dog experts heartily advocate the health benefits of raw foods, many veterinarians are opposed to feeding raw meat due to bacteria, such as salmonella, which both you and your dog can pick up. Adding lean meat means more work for you -- but your bichon's health will thank you for the extra effort.
- Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc.: Providing A Healthy Diet For Your Bichon Frise
- Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc.: BFCA Veterinary Health Survey Results 2007
- Your Purebred Puppy: Bichon Frise Health Problems and Raising a Bichon Frise Puppy to be Healthy
- Bichon Frise Club of America, Inc.: Combating Skin Problems & Allergie
Debra Levy has been writing for more than 30 years. She has had fiction and nonfiction published in various literary journals. Levy holds an M.A. in English from Indiana University and an M.F.A. in creative writing/fiction from the Bennington Writing Seminars.