The Bichon Frise is a breed that requires consistent professional grooming. Most pet owners rely on the expertise of a professional groomer for a bath and haircut once a month. Bichons also require weekly maintenance which can be done at home in between professional grooms. The BFCA also provides a booklet, Your Bichon Frise, which is available for purchase for information on grooming and maintenance as well.
Recommended list for Grooming:
- Coarse-medium greyhound-type comb
- Soft slicker brush
- Pin Brush
- Hypo-allergenic Shampoo
- Blow Dryer (high velocity dryer / hands free fluff dryer)
- Non-slip Mat
- Toothbrush, toothpaste/gel
For puppies up to 4 months of age, it is important to brush him every few days with a pin brush simply to establish a routine. Place the puppy on an elevated surface with a non-slip mat while brushing him and doing other routine maintenance. You must never turn your back on him and always keep a hand on him to ensure he will not fall and become injured. Removing them from the floor and using a slightly elevated surface tells the puppy it is no longer play time.
After 4 months of age, switch to using a soft slicker brush.Then follow up with a comb.It is imperative that when using a comb, you comb all the way to skin until it effortlessly glides through the coat.As the puppy is approaching adulthood, more frequent brushing will be necessary. The brushout can become a time for your dog to relax and it is a great time to be looking for any changes in the skin and coat such as rashes, lumps, or sores.
Just before the adult coat comes in, he will begin to mat easily. They are going through a coat change. This usually occurs between 8 months to a year. An adult Bichon’s coat is a double coat, meaning that there are both soft hairs and a more-coarse type of hair known as guard hairs. The guard hairs are not present in puppies. They begin to appear along the lower back when the dog is approaching a year old. The closer he is to getting his double coat, the worse this will become and he may even need combing every day. Mats occur most frequently behind the ears, armpits, and at the junction of the body and legs. Dead hairs will quickly form mats and, if left unattended, will turn into a felt-like patterned mat. This will require one of two drastic measures to remove: either shave the dog to the skin to get underneath of the mats or break up and remove the mats one at a time, which can be a very painful process. Removing mats can be stressful for the dog, and professional groomers will charge additional fees for excessive matting.
The care and maintenance of the coat sets the foundation for maintaining healthy skin and coat. The frequency of a bath depends on you and your dog’s lifestyle being anywhere between every 1-2 weeks. Make sure to brush out any tangles or mats before the bath as they are less challenging to remove before the hair gets wet. Selecting the appropriate products and using them correctly is necessary to maintain the coat, which is the hallmark of the breed. Select products that are hypo-allergenic or infused with beneficial ingredients such as Aloe Vera. Be sure to read the instructions on how the product performs the best and follow the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines in terms of dilution rates or using the product full strength. The most important thing to remember when bathing your Bichon is to be thorough! Sink your fingers into the coat and massage the shampoo throughout. Then rinse well. If you lather for 1 minute, rinse for 2 minutes. Slightly cool the water temperature down to ensure that the product has been rinsed thoroughly. If product is accidently left in the coat, your Bichon will most likely become very itchy. After the bath, towel dry your bichon and immediately begin drying. You must completely dry the dog to the skin. Do not use hot air when drying as it will burn your dog’s skin. It is during the drying process that you begin brushing the coat to straighten the curl all the way to the skin. To achieve the beautiful, plush look the coat must be thoroughly bathed, completely dried and brushed and combed out all the way to the skin.
Your Bichon should have a full-service groom including a bath and haircut with a professional groomer every 4 weeks. Your Bichon’s stylist will trim the pads of the feet, trim the nails, bath, and haircut during the appointment. Groomers are good about finding any issues that may need veterinarian attention. It is important to schedule your Bichons grooming appointments in advance in order to keep them on a regular 4-week schedule. Try to find a Certified Master Groomer or a grooming salon that has one or more groomers with Bichon-specific training and/or experience scissoring a Bichon.
It is important to maintain good oral hygiene for your Bichon. Brush the teeth at a minimum of once a week once the adult teeth come in. Use toothpaste and a toothbrush designed specifically for pets. It is necessary to talk to your veterinarian about regular professional cleaning which should be done yearly as well. Typically, January and February are Pet Dental Months and most veterinarians offer a discount off of dental cleanings.
What if I have a show dog?
Whether you have a show dog or companion quality dog, the same basic care is given regarding proper nutrition, good hygiene, and coat maintenance. A major difference is the amount of coat and the styling. It is imperative that you work with your breeder and follow their recommendations. They will help guide you on the wonderful journey of showing the Bichon Frise.