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9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Foods for a Bichon Frise in 2020

How adorable is a Bichon Frise? Pretty adorable. All that playful energy needs a high quality, nutrition-packed food. A Bichon Frise can’t consume a large amount of food, so the food you choose has to deliver all the proper nutritional requirements in a smaller package.

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We’ve put together a list of our picks for the best food for your Bichon Frise. We’ve also answered some questions you may have about what your Bichon Frise needs. Let’s take a look.

Fast Facts

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The earliest record of the modern Bichon Frise was during the 14th century. French sailors brought the breed with them from the Canary Islands. How the dogs got there is under debate, but general thought is that they developed in Italy and were brought by Phoenician sailors.

They’ve long been a favorite of the nobility, but they did fall out of favor for a while during the 18th century. They became a “commoner’s dog” trained to help the blind or aid street performers.

Today, they’re beloved for their intelligence, beautiful coat, and high energy.

Nutrition Requirements

Bichon Frises may be small dogs, but they’re energy powerhouses. The main struggle you’re going to have is feeding them enough to manage that energy but keeping portions correct to control weight.

Bichon weight averages between 10 and 18 pounds. For a smaller dog, even a pound or two over their recommended weight can have devastating effects on your dog’s health and comfort.

Elderly or inactive dogs need between 300 and 500 calories per day while younger or active Bichon’s need between 400 and 660 calories. During their puppy months (the first year of life), they’ll need even more calories to handle their main growth period.

The first thing to look for in pet food is appropriate age requirements. Changing your dog’s diet to match their life stage goes a long way to getting the nutrition right. Pound for pound, Bichon’s consume more calories than a larger dog, so choosing food for small breeds is also critical.

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Feeding Requirements

Bichon stomachs can’t handle a lot of food at once, so you may have to divide up feeding times. We recommend that a Bichon have at least two, possible thee smaller meals a day (so you can eat together).

First, check the bag for daily recommendations for your Bichon based on your particular food. Divide that recommendation into two or three portions.

Feeding in smaller portions helps you control your Bichon’s weight and makes sure your Bichon is getting all the proper nutrients despite its small stomach.

Generic grocery store brands don’t usually have the high-quality ingredients Bichons require to balance weight and nutrition. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommend at least 18% protein for adult dogs and as high as 22% for growing puppies or nursing mothers. Generic brands won’t feature high-quality proteins that your dog can easily digest.

9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Foods for a Bichon Frise in 2020 7

Recommended Ingredients

Here’s a question. When you read the back of the dog food bag, do you recognize what the ingredients are? If you can’t, that’s a good sign to switch foods.

Protein should be the first ingredient on the list but not just any. Whole proteins are beef, fish, chicken, or other meat with no byproducts or meal. Whole grains provide your Bichon with complex carbohydrates and fibers.

Barley, quinoa, and brown rice are good choices. After that, vegetables provide critical vitamins. Finally, your dog needs a form of quality fatty acids to keep the coat healthy and the skin clear. Fish oils are the most common kind.

Beet pulp is a common healthy ingredient for some dog foods, but for Bichons, you should avoid it. It can make tear staining worse. You should also avoid artificial colorings and tomato pomace for the same reason.

Potential Health Issues

Diet has long-reaching effects on your Bichon’s health. An overweight Bichon could develop pain in the hips and joints, for example, discouraging proper activity and making weight issues a cyclical problem.

Their long backs and relatively short legs make them prime candidates for intervertebral disc disease, which causes pain and possibly eventual paralysis. Maintaining weight is the most significant factor in preventing this condition.

Overweight Bichons are also at risk for urinary stones and diabetes. Both of these conditions make it difficult for your dog to maintain activity levels and to process meals properly. If you have trouble with your Bichon’s weight, special weight control formulas provide fewer calories and more fiber per serving.

An excellent way to judge your dog’s weight is by the outline of their rib cage. A Bichon’s coat makes it hard to see them, but if you press your fingers to the rib cage, you should be able to feel the outline of the bones without probing too much. If they aren’t readily apparent, it’s time to cut portions.

Besides weight, the other pressing issue for Bichons is allergies. Bichons are susceptible to skin irritations and hair loss as well as possible breathing problems. Some allergies come from outside sources such as grass or other allergens, but many of these issues are diet related.

Common food allergies include the usual suspects, soy and wheat, but corn and certain kinds of proteins can also trigger allergies. If you have trouble keeping your dog’s skin healthy and itch-free (and especially if you notice fur loss), work with your veterinarian for a solution. Most vets recommend the elimination diet and slowly adding ingredients back in to record what triggers allergies.

Types of Food

Commercial dog foods come in two varieties. Dry food helps scrape plaque from your dog’s teeth and keep gums healthy. Bichons are susceptible to dental issues, so this is a huge plus.

Canned food doesn’t help with teeth, but it does contain significantly more water. Bichons are also susceptible to urinary and bladder issues, so water content can help there. However, making sure your Bichon has access to plenty of fresh water can help there. Never ration your dog’s water intake.

Combining the two could provide your Bichon with both benefits, but carefully calculate your Bichon’s dietary needs, so you don’t accidentally overfeed and cause weight problems (that cancel those benefits out).

9 Best (Healthiest) Dog Foods for a Bichon Frise in 2020 8

Other Considerations

Your Bichon’s weight will fluctuate with age, so it’s crucial to check caloric requirements based on your Bichon’s weight and activity levels. This will give you a better idea of how much food to feed your dog. Recommendations on the back of the dog food bag are excellent places to start, but you should always double check.

Check out this handy calculator for figuring up your Bichon’s unique caloric needs.

Overall Best Dog Food For Bichon Frise in 2020

Now for the good stuff. We’ve chosen these foods based on their dense nutrition offerings and ability to help keep your Bichon lean and healthy.

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

Wellness CORE Grain-Free Small Breed Turkey & Chicken Recipe Dry Dog FoodWellness CORE’s small breed formula packs a nutritional punch. The company formulates their dog food options based on research into the history of dogs and their dietary requirements. The recipe is mostly meat with several vegetables and healthy oils for better skin and coat.

It uses high-quality protein so that the caloric needs of smaller dogs are met. The first ingredient is Turkey, which is a lean source of protein without too much fat.

This formula is grain free, so if your Bichon has allergies, it might be a suitable alternative to many grocery store brands. Omega acids come from fish oils while probiotics help with overall digestion.

Wellness CORE also adds glucosamine to their formula, which can help keep joints healthy. Bichons are subject to hip and back issues, so maintaining bone and joint health can keep your dog more mobile into their later years.


  • no grains might be a better solution for dogs with allergies
  • turkey is a lean protein
  • glucosamine helps a Bichon’s delicate bones and joints, notably later in life.
  • probiotics improve overall digestion, helping with the nutrition versus weight-control balance


  • at 36% crude protein, it might be too high for inactive or elderly dogs
  • it’s a rich food which could encourage your dog to overeat if you aren’t careful about portion control

Merrick Classic Small Breed Formula

Merrick Classic Small Breed FormulaMerrick’s classic formula is a less expensive alternative to some of the choices above. It uses deboned chicken as the first ingredient, providing a source of high quality, lean protein. It doesn’t use potatoes for a lower glycemic option (excellent for Bichon’s in danger of developing diabetes).

The rest of the ingredients include veggies for critical vitamins and minerals and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for coat and skin health. Protein levels are 30% while fat remains at 15%. Moisture levels are 11%. These should help your dog maintain weight and urinary health. Probiotics make Merrick easier to digest and reduce stomach issues overall.

Merrick is located in Texas and uses locally grown and sourced ingredients to create dog food. No imported ingredients to worry about and you’re supporting a US-based company.

The best part is that a four-pound bag costs about $5 on average than some of the other brands, so if you’re on a tighter budget, you’ll still be able to give your Bichon high-quality food. Remember that spending money on the dietary health of your Bichon will reduce your veterinarian costs in the long run, but this should be a good start.


  • more affordable than some of the options on the list
  • high quality, lean proteins as the first ingredient (not common with many budget alternatives)
  • no potato formula for lower glycemic index
  • locally grown and sourced ingredients


  • chicken may irritate poultry-sensitive dogs
  • only four-pound bag size is available

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Formula with Chicken Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog Food

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Foundations Puppy Formula with Chicken Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Dog FoodBest Puppy Food for Bichons – Puppies have special requirements, and Canidae’s puppy formula considers those thoroughly. It has a higher calorie count for active, growing puppies, but the limited ingredient formula helps avoid any potential allergies that might develop.

The first ingredient is chicken, which is a lean, high-quality protein. There are just nine other ingredients (yes, nine), including other whole veggies for vitamins and minerals. No grains, gluten, antibiotics, or other types of hormones.

Optimal levels of probiotics help keep your growing puppy’s digestive system healthy, and DHA helps keep skin and coat healthy. It’s a simple nutrient-dense formula that should give your Bichon puppy an excellent start in life.

It has 30% protein, which is great for growing puppies but not too much. 10% moisture should also help with any potential urinary issues, something that plagues Bichons throughout their lives. Make sure your puppy has plenty of water through to help digest this particular food.


  • made specifically for growing puppies
  • nine ingredients are simple enough for sensitive digestive systems
  • 10% moisture aids urinary systems
  • Canidae is independent and family-owned (no imported ingredients)


  • calorie count is high so make sure you’re checking your puppy’s requirements carefully
  • it’s relatively expensive

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Senior Formula

Wellness Complete Health Small Breed Senior Formula

Best Senior Dog Food for Bichons – Small breeds of dogs typically live longer than large breeds. You’re likely to spend a significant amount of time caring for your senior Bichon. Wellness Complete offers an easily digestible formula with only 12% fat to help with your senior’s weight without compromising essential antioxidants and vitamins.

The first ingredient is deboned turkey, an excellent source of lean protein. Other ingredients include veggies for vitamins and minerals, probiotics for better digestion, and healthy fats for skin and coat.

It also considers heart health with highly controlled sodium. It includes glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint and bone health. If you’ve had trouble with your senior dog refusing food in the past, you shouldn’t have any issues with that here (just be sure to portion correctly to avoid overfeeding)

Wellness has a team of veterinarians, animal lovers, and nutritionists responsible for creating their food formulas. They use fresh, whole ingredients for their foods, giving your Senior dog a better chance to digest food properly and receive dietary requirements.


  • formulated specially for your senior dog’s weight, heart, and joint needs
  • includes high quality, whole protein
  • reduced sodium
  • is an excellent choice for picky seniors (but without resorting to wet food)


  • only comes in a four-pound bag
  • may require strict rationing because of the taste

Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef And Sweet Potato Dry Dog Food

Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef And Sweet Potato Dry Dog FoodMerrick’s Grain-Free formula is another that’s good for Bichon’s with delicate digestion. It features real deboned beef as the first ingredient, along with veggies such as sweet potato and peas. It gives your Bichon a dense nutritional formula that’s great for young, highly active Bichons (but not puppies).

The formula also contains a dose of probiotics to help your Bichon digest meals easier. Your Bichon will handle high nutrition requirements without overeating. It’s also poultry free, which is another common, but lesser known, allergy that can cause itchy inflamed skin.

Merrick’s dog food is made in the US from locally grown and sourced products. If you remember the scare a few years ago with dog foods made abroad, this might help you sleep better at night.

It also includes glucosamine for joint and bone health, something vital for your Bichon as it ages. Healthy fats from fish oils work to keep skin and coat healthy.


  • gluten-free and poultry free helps combat common food allergies
  • Merrick uses locally sourced and grown ingredients. Nothing imported.
  • high-quality protein helps young, active dogs thrive
  • includes glucosamine for joint health
  • quality probiotics and healthy fats keep your dog’s digestive system and organs (including skin) healthier


  • 38% protein is way too much for elderly dogs
  • not a small-breed specific formula, so double and triple check your serving recommendations

Final Thoughts

Some of the foods on the list can be expensive, but when you consider how often you’ll take an unhealthy adult or senior dog to the vet, the cost begins to even out. Building health may require a bigger investment than those cheap, grocery store brands, but your Bichon may not have as many serious health issues in the long run.

Make sure you address weight and allergies, as these are the two most common causes of ailments in a Bichon. Refer back to the calculator we suggested, and you should have enough tools to keep your Bichon in great dietary health.

Now, if we could find food that will groom and detangle a Bichon, we’d be all set!

How long have you had your Bichon? Tell us all about him or her in the comments below.

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