Your little bichon frise has a big appetite, and choosing the best foods for him not only satisfies his hunger, but can strengthen his system inside and out. Certain foods can even ward off both general canine-related and breed-specific health issues.
Meats Come First
A bichon's diet should revolve around meat, which should comprise at least half his diet. Whether you buy commercial food or cook homemade meals, make sure a known, quality source of meat is the central ingredient. Bichon-friendly choices include poultry, fish, lamb, venison and others. Skin issues and allergies are common in bichons, so offering omega-3-rich fish, like wild salmon, can help improve skin condition and fight the inflammation associated with allergies and skin problems.
Adding Vegetables and Fruits
Alongside meat, bichons can enjoy fresh produce. Some items are dog-toxic, including grapes, avocados and onions. If you're unsure about an ingredient, research before serving. Dogs will gladly eat many items including carrots, broccoli, zucchini, peas and melon. Like us, dogs have preferences. Fruits and veggies can make up about a quarter of the diet, so check nutrition labels or feed accordingly. The antioxidants in fresh fruits and vegetables can boost immunity, combating those pesky allergies.
Using Healthy Fats
Fats are also an important part of the diet. They slow digestion, thereby increasing nutrient absorption; many also contain essential fatty acids (EFAs), which assist in the bichon's fight against inflammation. For example, safflower oil, wild salmon oil and sardine oil all contain EFAs that can heal skin and reduce inflammation associated with allergies and many other diseases. Fats should comprise about 15 to 20 percent of the diet, so add oils accordingly or check nutrition labels and supplement as needed.
Stick to Natural Ingredients
Cancers are the leading cause of bichon death, and diet is an efficient method of combating this killer. Offering whole, fresh ingredients, and reduce toxins and unnatural ingredients. This reduces stress on the bichon body. Avoid preservatives, artificial flavors and chemicals like ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT and propylene glycol -- all found in many pet foods. Also avoid foods your bichon can't fully digest, like wheat gluten, corn and soy. Stick to the basics, and your little bichon can live to a ripe old age.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.