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Most Popular

Taste of the Wild Small Breed Dry Dog Food

  • Affordable
  • Good for allergies

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Our Favorite

NomNom Chef-Prepared, Fresh Dog Food

  • Fresh, whole foods
  • Subscription delivery
  • Small, made to order batches ensure food is fresh

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Best Value

American Journey Healthy Weight Recipe

  • Good for active dogs
  • Excellent for weight loss

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Bichon Frise are some of the smallest and, in our opinion, cutest dogs on the planet. However, like all dog breeds, taking care of them requires getting the right food for their needs.

Most Bichon Frise do well with nutrient-dense food (which has a high number of kilocalories per kibble) thanks to their small stomachs. Food with a lot of filler, including some grains, tends to be a poor choice for them in comparison. However, as we’ll discuss below, filler ingredients can be good if you need to help manage their weight.

Bichon Frise are also good at learning and performing tricks thanks to their background as companion dogs, so foods that support joint, bone, and overall muscle health are particularly helpful. It can be difficult to find joint-oriented food options that aren’t focused on senior dogs, so don’t hesitate to look around and compare your options if your pet lives an active life.

Finally, don’t forget to consider the smells your food can cause. Some ingredients make dogs gassier, and since Bichon Frise love to cuddle, you can expect to spend a lot of time with them on your lap. As a result, keeping any scents under control is almost as important as supporting their overall health needs.

Shopping Note: Most of the links on this page go to the largest (and therefore most expensive) container of each product. Many of these products are available in smaller cartons, too. Bichon Frise won’t go through food as quickly as larger dogs, so consider getting an airtight container to prevent the food from going stale before your dog finishes it.

Our Favorite (Also, the Most Expensive)

What Would We Feed Our Bichon Frise?

The Answer: NomNom Chef-Prepared, Fresh Dog Food

Why We Like It

  • Several different recipes offer lots of choice
  • Formulas are made by a board-certified veterinary nutritionist
  • Available in a convenient subscription plan

First 5 Ingredients: Varies by recipe, but always meat first, then other proteins or vegetables

NomNom has something surprisingly rare in the food industry: a board-certified veterinary nutritionist. Less than 100 people have this qualification, and the knowledge these nutritionists have helps create some truly excellent dog food.

These mixes focus on fresher ingredients and have plenty of moisture for natural absorption. They’re not quite wet food as most people think of it, but they’re in the same family. You may have a hard time finding this product anywhere except the manufacturer’s website, though, so buying options are limited.

8 More Great Foods for Healthy Dogs

Best Dry – Wellness Grain-Free Complete Health

Why We Like It

  • Full dietary support for adult dogs
  • Has a variety of different ingredients
  • No corn, wheat, or soy

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Turkey, Chicken Meal, Peas, Lentils, Chickpeas

Wellness is one of the best brands on the market, so we weren’t surprised when we saw one of their products top our final list of contenders. This is an affordable, well-balanced adult dog food with quite a lot of protein sources to support a healthy lifestyle. That said, having so many ingredients could trigger allergies, so keep an eye out for that when feeding your pup.

Best Wet – Merrick Lil’ Plates Mini Medley

Why We Like It

  • Several different flavors
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Cooked in the USA

First 5 Ingredients: Varies by flavor, but consistently chicken, beef, or turkey as the first two ingredients, with matching broth as the second ingredient.

Dogs are willing to eat almost anything, but just like people, many of them prefer a little variety in their diets. Merrick’s Mini Medley offers four meals each of chicken, beef, and turkey, all with plenty of moisture to help your Bichon Frise stay hydrated. Single-flavor packs are available, and some dogs may prefer those, so you can also use this to figure out what your dog likes most.

Why We Like It

  • Has ingredients that rarely trigger allergies
  • Reasonably affordable for the amount you get
  • Has a proprietary probiotic strain to help support digestive health

First 5 Ingredients: Venison, Lamb Meal, Garbanzo Beans, Peas, Lentils

Taste of the Wild has quickly become one of the most popular pet food brands out there, and we’re not surprised about this. Their focus on wild ingredients like venison are quite healthy for pets, while their focus on varied sources helps support the complex needs of canine companions.

In short, we heartily recommend this product to all Bichon Frise owners.

Best Value – American Journey Healthy Weight Recipe

Why We Like It

  • More affordable per pound than most dog food
  • Excellent for weight loss
  • Good for active dogs

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal (a source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Brown Rice, Peas, Menhaden Fish Meal

American Journey sells a lot of premium dog food, but they also sell some value-focused options like this weight-loss recipe. The trick with this food is that you can give your dog a little more if you want to help them maintain their weight instead of using it. We don’t like this food quite as much as some other options, but for budget-conscious buyers, it’s easily worth a look.

Best Grain-Free – Instinct Raw Boost Toy Breed Recipe

Why We Like It

  • Freeze-dried raw meat pieces
  • Boosted nutrition for energetic pups
  • High-protein ingredients

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Chickpeas, Tapioca, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid)

Instinct is a premium brand, but if you want to go grain-free, it’s hard to beat their Raw product line. This particular mix features freeze-dried chicken chunks that have only the smallest amount of processing required to meet food safety regulations.

Experts disagree on whether grain-free diets are good (more on that below), but this is an excellent option if you want to avoid grains in your dog’s diet.

Best Super Premium – The Farmer’s Dog

Why We Like It

  • Customized to your dog
  • Human-grade food
  • Delivered within days of being made

First 5 Ingredients: Varies by recipe

Did you know that you can get dog food customized for your individual pet’s needs? I didn’t until I learned about The Farmer’s Dog, and as far as premium options go, this is easily the most impressive of the lot. The basic plans are vet-designed, while the refrigerated food is shipped straight to your home.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to see all the ingredients ahead of time because the recipes are customized. You may need to dig through the options and give them special notice if there’s anything your pup needs to avoid.

Honorable Mentions

These aren’t quite worthy of being our top picks, but they’re still solid contenders that are worth a look.

Now Fresh Grain-Free Adult Red Fish

Why We Like It

  • Similar to the top overall choice
  • Focuses on fish instead of land animals for sensitive stomachs
  • Supports fresh breath

First 5 Ingredients: De-Boned Trout, Potatoes, Potato Flour, Whole Dried Egg, Peas

This is quite similar to our favorite product, but the switch to fish gives it a slightly different composition. The Adult Red Fish mix stands on its own as a viable food, and the focus on small kibbles is particularly helpful for breeds like the Bichon Frise. Meanwhile, the coconut oil is quite easy for them to digest.

We prefer the Adult Red Meat mix because dogs usually do better with that, but if your puppy needs a healthy alternative, this is definitely worth your time.

Stella and Chewy’s Little Bites Chicken Little Recipe

Why We Like It

  • Minimally-processed food
  • Freeze-dried ingredients retain nutrition and flavor
  • Produced in small batches

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken With Ground Bone, Chicken Liver, Chicken Gizzard, Pumpkin Seed, Organic Cranberries

Honestly, this was a serious contender for the Super Premium title. Stella and Chewy’s freeze-dried food here is easily one of the most expensive options on this list by weight, but it also features far more raw ingredients without the same fillers (mostly potatoes and peas) found in many other dog foods.

Some people use this as a topper for other food, and that’s a pretty good way to use it. We can’t recommend this as a primary food because of the cost, but if you’re looking for quality at any price, this is the top choice.

4 Foods for Bichon Frise with Diet Restrictions

Best Raw – Darwin’s Pet

Why We Like It

  • Customizable meal plans
  • Free delivery with every order
  • Comes with a free consultation

First 5 Ingredients: Varies by formula, but ~75% raw meat

There are several premium dog foods out there, but few of them are quite as dedicated as Darwin’s Pet, which makes and ships raw food straight to your door. Their recipes aren’t exclusively raw meat, but they are mostly raw, and shipped in well-chilled containers to preserve freshness. For obvious reasons, this food doesn’t last too long.

However, the free consultation is what really seals the deal here. These talks can help create diet plans specific to your Bichon Frise, and that’s always better than generic plans meant for different breeds.

Best for Weight Loss – Blue Buffalo Life Protection

Why We Like It

  • Reasonably affordable for the amount you get
  • Lots of high-quality ingredients
  • Reputable brand

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Barley, Pea Starch

Normally, we’re not big fans of filler ingredients, including some grains like rice and barley. However, just about every rule has its exception, and weight-loss foods are where filler ingredients are better. This is a nutritional food that provides all essential vitamins and minerals while still helping dogs lose weight.

Bichon Frise are small dogs, so unless they have a medical condition, you may not need more than one or two of these to help manage their weight with minimal disruptions to their daily life.

Best Pea & Legume Free – Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb Dog Food

Why We Like It

  • Ethically-sourced ingredients (from New Zealand)
  • Uncommon ingredients help avoid common allergies
  • A limited number of ingredients

First 5 Ingredients: Mackerel, Lamb, Lamb Heart, Lamb Tripe, Lamb Liver

Ziwi Peak’s Air-Dried Mackerel & Lamb mix is a high-protein and high-kilocalorie food, so you don’t need to feed your Bichon Frise as much of it in order to get the benefits. That’s good because this is also one of the most expensive dog foods per pound, and we couldn’t possibly justify it if it wasn’t so dense in nutrients.

Like Stella and Chewy’s products, this works well as a topper for other foods. However, if you need to buy it because it’s free of peas, legumes, and other filler ingredients, you can feed it as a primary food instead. This is a premium product in every sense of the word.

Best for Skin Allergies – Zignature Kangaroo Formula

Why We Like It

  • Exotic ingredients rarely trigger allergies
  • Still has added vitamins and minerals
  • Designed to help support skin health

First 5 Ingredients: Kangaroo, Kangaroo Meal, Peas, Chickpeas, Pea Flour

Skin allergies are relatively common in dogs, and when food causes them, the only effective way to treat them is through an elimination diet that isolates the problematic ingredient. Zignature’s Kangaroo Formula is an excellent choice for many pets with sensitive skin because it uses an exotic primary ingredient that most dogs won’t be allergic to.

However, in the end, there’s no guarantee that this or any other specific food can avoid all food allergies in dogs. You can (and should) ask your vet about this product, but follow their advice if they recommend a different product instead.

Best for Sensitive Stomach – Solid Gold Wee Bit Bison & Brown Rice Recipe

Why We Like It

  • Tiny kibbles
  • Many different fruit and vegetable ingredients
  • No potatoes

First 5 Ingredients: Bison, Ocean Fish Meal, Peas, Oatmeal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)

Many different things can upset a dog’s stomach, but this non-prescription mix often helps settle things down. Bichon Frise are a small breed, to begin with, so the tiny kibbles of this mix are generally easier on their system than the larger chunks seen in other products.

We also like the use of bison meat here, which is less likely to trigger allergies than common ingredients like chicken or beef. Like the skin allergy product discussed above, there’s no guarantee this will work for every dog, but it’s certainly worth the attempt if you need to change foods quickly.

Best Puppy Food for Bichon Frise

Ollie

Why We Like It

  • Human-grade food is safe for people to eat
  • Available in several recipes
  • Vet-crafted recipes

First 5 Ingredients: Varies by recipe, but usually two sources of protein, then vegetables

Ollie is another subscription service that offers four vet-crafted recipes for Bichon Frise. Each recipe has different key ingredients designed to support various needs, and you can stick with one or rotate between them as needed.

The products themselves have a generally high level of quality, which makes them particularly appealing for puppies who need lots of energy and nutrients. However, this food is fresh enough that you should store it carefully. You probably won’t use a whole pack at a time, and proper storage is essential to maintaining all the nutrients it offers.

Nulo Freestyle Salmon and Peas Recipe

Why We Like It

  • Grain-free recipe
  • Contains 80% animal-based protein (out of 30% overall crude protein)
  • Good calcium levels to promote teeth and bone growth

First 5 Ingredients: Deboned Salmon, Turkey Meal, Menhaden Fish Meal, Whole Peas, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols & Citric Acid)

Nulo’s Freestyle recipe is a grain-free alternative to Purina’s puppy chow. It also avoids chicken and eggs, which are common ingredients and tend to show up as allergens in puppies who are prone to those. Young dogs aren’t quite as stable as adults, so there’s something to be said for avoiding the most common allergens while a puppy is growing.

Unlike most dog foods, this blend also focuses on ingredients with a low glycemic index, which means they don’t have as many carbohydrates. Dogs don’t need too much of that anyway, so this is definitely worth a look for the first year or so of your puppy’s life.

Holistic Select Anchovy, Sardine, and Chicken Recipe

Why We Like It

  • No meat or poultry by-products
  • Has ingredients that make it easier to digest
  • Lots of natural fiber

First 5 Ingredients: Anchovy and Sardine Meal, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Peas, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols)

Holistic Select isn’t as well-known as some other brands, but this product is particularly well-suited for small breeds like the Bichon Frise. A small kibble size makes it easy for puppies to eat, while ingredients that support the development of their immune system can help them stay healthier and happier throughout their life.

This mix also has a 35% crude protein minimum, which is comparatively high for dry dog food. Anchovies and sardines are relatively rare ingredients, too, but their fish oils provide a lot of valuable nutrition for puppies. We like the Nulo mix a little more, but this is a strong contender for an alternative grain-free food.

Best Senior Food for Bichon Frise Dogs

Spot & Tango

Why We Like It

  • Two different food styles
  • Focus on fresh ingredients
  • “Unkibble” is quite interesting

First 5 Ingredients: Varies by recipe, but always at least one source of meat, then other ingredients

Spot & Tango is a two-fold delivery service. Their primary product is their fresh recipes, which focus on one type of meat and one grain each. Like all great delivery foods, they focus on human-grade ingredients, rather than low-quality filler meals.

Their other product, Unkibble, is what Spot & Tango refers to as a “fresh dry” food. Unlike kibble, which involves extruded meat, their Unkibble has no meat meals or meat powders and no preservatives or filler. All of the Unkibble recipes are suitable for the nutritional needs of adults and can help get fresh ingredients into a senior’s diet.

Canidae Grain Free PURE Senior

Why We Like It

  • Interactive product selection guide
  • Small breed product focuses on gentle digestion for senior pups
  • Dry and wet options are available

First 5 Ingredients: Varies by recipe, but generally broth and/or meat, then vegetables

Canidae is the last of the shipping brands on this list. Their products aren’t quite as fresh as some of the premium options described above, but the overall quality is high. What really stands out is their product-selection system, where you can rapidly narrow down their wide list of products by selecting ingredients and other details.

The wet formulas are particularly appropriate for small dogs, with single-serving cans designed to help avoid waste or spoilage. Canidae is a little expensive, but for a senior dog, quality is among the most important factors.

Nutro Ultra Small Breed Senior Dry Dog Food

Why We Like It

  • Has protein from poultry, meat, and fish
  • Wide variety of other ingredients
  • Helps support the high energy levels of small dog breeds

First 5 Ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal (source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate), Whole Brown Rice, Brewers Rice, Rice Bran

Nutro’s Ultra Small Breed recipe for senior dogs is easily one of our favorite options. The different types of lean protein sources offer dietary variety, while the remaining ingredients lean towards superfoods rich in antioxidants and other nutrients. Overall, there’s a lot to love about this product, and its competitive pricing only adds to the value.

What to Look for in a Good Dog Food

The main things to look for in good dog food are healthy ingredients, plenty of vitamins and minerals, and whether or not the food is a complete source of nutrition. Every product we discussed here is a top-rated option, but dogs can be picky eaters, so consider testing several different foods and ingredients to figure out what they like the most.

Ingredients to Avoid

The main ingredients to avoid are beet pulp, tomato pomace, and artificial colors. These can stain your pup’s face. Otherwise, anything that’s in their food should be safe for them to digest, or it wouldn’t be in a product allowed on the market.

How Much to Feed Bichon Frise

Bichon Frise need about 300 to 500 calories per day if they’re inactive, and 400 to 660 calories if they’re active. Different foods have different amounts of calories, so consult the packaging of your food to determine how much to actually give your pet.

Puppy Diet & Feeding Chart

Puppies of this breed need a lot of fat in their diet – preferably somewhere from 15% to 20%. This helps support their high energy and preference for an active lifestyle. Puppies should get 3-4 meals per day, preferably spaced at even intervals. This helps provide them with a steady and stable supply of energy, rather than impacting their growth with periods of low energy.

Adult Diet & Feeding Chart

Adult Bichon Frise do best with just three meals a day, rather than the more-common four that puppies get. This works well with the traditional human feeding schedule, though you may need to buy an automatic feeder if you’re not home in the middle of the day. We prefer 6 AM, 2 PM, and 10 PM, but other schedules can also work.

Senior Diet & Feeding Chart

Seniors tend to eat a little less than adults, but it’s better to feed them less at each meal than reduce the number of meals they get. Bichon Frise tend to be active even as seniors, so a consistent supply of energy can keep them healthier and more active than they might otherwise be.

Common Health Problems for a Bichon Frise

Here are some of the most common health problems that Bichon Frise experience.

Dental Disease

Dental disease is easily one of the most common problems in dogs, expected to affect as many of 80% of dogs by the time they’re just two years old. That’s pretty early in life! Dental disease can shorten a Bichon Frise’s lifespan by as much as three years, so early detection and treatment are essential.

There’s no substitute for proper cleaning, but consider using snacks, toys, or treats that help reduce tartar buildup, especially in the earliest stages of your puppy’s life.

Obesity

As small dogs, Bichon Frise react to calories very differently than larger breeds do. Just a few extra scraps of food can lead to obesity over time, so you shouldn’t feed them any extra food even if they beg you for it.

Instead, try playing with your pup, brush their fur, or even take them for a walk if they seem too needy. Bichon Frise are extremely social and enjoy all of these things, and ultimately they’ll be much better for your pet than a few more snacks.

Liver Issues

Bichon Frise are prone to liver problems known as portosystemic shunts (PSS). In layman’s terms, this is a condition where some blood goes around the liver instead of through it, which means the liver can’t detoxify the blood as effectively as it’s supposed to. This can lead to a fatal buildup of toxins over time.

The good news is that PSS is usually treatable with the right diet and medications. On rare occasions, Bichon Frise may require surgery for this condition, but that’s not nearly as common.

A word about Canine DCM

Canine DCM, or dilated cardiomyopathy, is a primary source of heart failure in some dog breeds. This isn’t especially common in Bichon Frise, but it may still occur because of a variety of genetic and dietary factors. Dogs with asymptomatic DCM can go for up to three years before they start showing signs of this problem.

Canine DCM may be reversible if detected early enough, which is why it’s so important to visit your vet regularly and check for these types of problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions people have about raising and feeding a Bichon Frise.

How often should I feed my Bichon Frise? What’s the correct schedule?

How often you should feed your Bichon Frise depends on their age. As we discussed above, most dogs in this breed do best if you feed them at a steady pace throughout the day. In other words, try to have meals spaced as evenly as possible, rather than clustering them in specific times. You may need to buy an automatic feeder to help with this.

The main reason for this schedule is that Bichon Frise are small, high-energy dogs. If they have a lot of ups and downs in their energy supply, that could negatively affect them over time. On the other hand, if they have a steady supply of energy, it’s a lot easier to maintain their preferred lifestyle.

Is grain-free dog food bad for Bichon Frise?

There’s no conclusive opinion on whether or not grain-free food is bad for Bichon Frise. Most dogs that develop canine DCM seem to eat grain-free food, but this correlation does not prove that grain-free food is the cause of their problem.

However, grain-free foods do tend to avoid ingredients that dogs often have allergic reactions to, including some types of meat or poultry. If your Bichon Frise has a sensitive stomach, switching to grain-free food may be better for them than eating traditional food.

Ultimately, the best thing to do is to talk to your vet and ask them which food they think is best for your specific pet. Your Bichon Frise may have specific dietary or allergy-avoiding needs that impact which foods are the best choice.

Our list of the best dog foods up above includes a wide variety of options, from grain-using to grain-free, and with sources of protein that range from common to exotic.

How do I transition my Bichon Frise from one dog food to another?

The best way to transition your Bichon Frise between different types of food is to slowly transition them over 7-10 days by adding increasing amounts of the new food and less of the old. This has less of an impact on their body than immediately switching over. For seniors, transition them over 10-14 days instead.

As usual, this only holds true for normal circumstances. If your dog is suffering from a medical condition, for example, your vet may recommend that you immediately switch to a specific food without the usual transition period. Always follow your vet’s advice above more generic guidelines.

What is the Best Dog Food for Bichon Frise?

Conclusion

Now that you know about the best dog food options, you’re ready to order! One final piece of advice, though: don’t forget to compare the cost per pound of food. $60 may sound like a lot of money for dog food, but if you’re getting 30 pounds of food, it’s the same price as $20 for a 10-lb bag.

We prefer getting 4-lb or 10-lb bags for small breeds like Bichon Frise, so your actual cost per bag shouldn’t be too high.

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