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The Bichon Frise is an adorable cotton ball of love. But keeping their signature powderpuff look can be a pain. Like everybody else who has battled to keep their Bichon’s snowy coat a pure white, I have struggled with tear stains, discoloration around the mouth, and sometimes just an all-around muddy dog.
Sometimes I’m simply battling nature, but I’m also on the lookout for underlying health issues that may discolor my Bichon Frise’s coat. Either way, I have collected several tips to help other Bichon Frise owners keep their dogs looking their sparkling best.
#1: Use a whitening and brightening shampoo
Aside from regular brushing and trimming, a good whitening shampoo will help keep your Bichon’s coat sparkling. The PH should be lower than that of human shampoo and so less harsh on your pup’s sensitive skin.
A good shampoo for a Bichon Frise should also specify that it can remove tear stains gently and moisturize itchy skin. But be careful of bathing a Bichon Frise too much, as it can strip their coat of its natural oils and cause dry and flaky skin. A bath every three weeks should be more than enough.
You should always follow the shampoo with a good quality conditioner that makes the coat less porous and prone to staining.
One of the best places to get a good dog shampoo is through Chewy.
#2: Let them drink distilled water
It may sound odd, but making sure your Bichon Frise’s water is distilled helps avoid some of the discolorations around the face. Distilled water shouldn’t have iron oxide, which is secreted through tears and causes unsightly stains beneath the eyes.
You should also let your dog eat and drink out of ceramic bowls. This prevents iron oxide found in metal bowls from mixing with its saliva and staining the fur around its mouth.
#3: Keep a handle on those tear stains
The best way to deal with tear stains is to develop a daily routine. What generally works very well is to:
- Blot away any moisture under their eyes with dry tissue several times a day.
- Use wet wipes to remove any hard residue around their eyes and mouth.
- Use a fine-tooth comb to remove any tangles where dirt and bacteria can be hiding.
- Use no-tear doggy shampoo to clean away any discolored bits. You can also try saltwater or strongly diluted apple-cider vinegar.
- Be careful with the vinegar, however, as too strong a mix can create a chemical burn.
- You can also try tear stain removal powder such as Eye Envy.
#4: Keep wipes and paw cleaning products close at hand
You shouldn’t let your Bichon Frise off the leash after it has been raining, and there are puddles everywhere since it will come back looking like a swamp monster. But it’s also not fair to keep your dog stuck on the pavement forever.
So if your dog does wallow in some mud, you should use the dry-then-bathe method. Although I have a special paw washer and paw wipes (check out these) to get the worst of it off first before we go back inside. When we get home, I put my dog in her crate until the mud has dried since dry mud is much easier to get rid of than wet.
Once dry, a lot of the mud will cake off by itself. The rest can be brushed out with a slicker brush or fine comb, followed by gently washing their paws and a quick blow-dry.
#5: Give your Bichon Frise high-quality food
Low-quality, high-processed food often has additives and flavorings that can mix with Bichon’s saliva and stain the fur around their mouth.
Make sure your food is high-quality with no unnatural flavorings and fewer than ten ingredients. I look for the AAFCO guaranteed label to make sure my dog gets all their nutrients and choose freeze-dried options over highly processed dry food.
#6: Keep an eye on your Bichon’s dental and eye health
Discolored fur around your Bichon’s mouth can also be a sign that something is wrong. Bichons are particularly prone to dental issues that can lead to various other problems, including heart and liver problems and even diabetes. You should make sure to brush your Bichon’s teeth every other day and give it plenty of chewies to keep its teeth in good health.
Similarly, if the tear streak from your Bichons eyes turns into discharge, it’s time to see the vet. They could have an infection, allergy, or some other kind of irritation that needs treatment.
#7: Keep trouble areas trimmed
Unless you’re an ace doggy groomer already, chances are your bichon will need regular professional attention. Since I’m no professional myself, I take my ball of fluff to the doggy parlor about once a month, in addition to daily grooming. You can either choose your favorite bichon frise haircut style and stick with it or rotate between multiple.
At the parlor, you should ask them to trim the area around your Bichon’s eyes, mouth, between paws, and bottom, since these are all the most problematic spots to keep clean—I also ask that they trim my dog’s nails since I don’t trust myself to do it without nicking the quick.
#8: Use hydrogen peroxide paste
Only use this method if your Bichon has a severe stain that I want to remove. Even then, be careful to put a cone on your dog to prevent licking.
For a small one, mix a teaspoon of magnesia, cornstarch, and hydrogen peroxide together to make a paste. Rub the paste into the stained areas but be careful to not make it come into contact with the skin. Then leave it to sit for a few hours before rinsing it out and conditioning the area.
The Bichon Frise is an ideal little companion that brightens up the darkest day, so it makes sense to want to keep their coats as pure and white as the rays of sunshine that they are. Plus, a puffy, clean coat is a sign of good health, and we all want our Bichons to be as happy and healthy as possible.
While it does take a bit of effort, making minor adjustments, such as a high-quality diet, distilled water from a ceramic bowl, and keeping tissues and wipes around will go a long way to avoid that nasty coat discoloration. Also, regularly drying the area around the eyes and mouth, keeping trouble spots trimmed, and daily grooming should all be routine for a happy, well-cared-for Bichon Frise.
7 thoughts on “8 Tips to Keep Your Bichon Frise White”
I waited almost 20 years to have my dream dog. For my 76 birthday my sweet daughter has surprised me with this cotton ball of anticipated joy. I want to be the best puppy mom ever. I will follow your advice and purchase items needed. I over the years have had a Corgi, Lab and Mix Terrier, they were most loved and cared for also.
I have a Bichon Frise that I adopted a year ago. What I found best for tear stain is food. I make my dogs homemade food, and none of them have tear stain.
My cross bichon (don’t know what he is crossed with but assume he is a cross due to the brown patches he has) does not stop barking when someone comes into the house and also when he sees someone walking passed. This is driving me mad because he just doesn’t come up for breadth. It is annoying for visitors also and any workmen that need to be there. He is caged when someone comes as I now don’t trust him, he has bitten me a couple of times mostly over food. I am at my wits end with him. Can anyone give me advice as to what to do. I am a pensioner so not that active. HELP
Hi Jackie, my advice would be to get a professional trainer/behaviour therapist as if you had not had the dog directly from a young puppy ie i had my bichon at 3 months old, if may have had bad experiences hence the barking. My bichon is 14 months and does not bark at all. The only time she will bark is when she is playing “hide and seek”. Good luck and dont give up.
My Bichon Scout Ida little over one year old. She is very verbal especially when she wants to play with her toy, toss and fetch. I purchased her when she was 8 weeks old then handed her over to my sister who had her for only 4 short months. After my sister passed I re-claimed the l’il cotton ball and she has been with me since May 2022. Best thing that ever came into my life !❤️
I’ve had my tiny white snow ball,Bella, for 8 years. I got this little Bichon when she was 5 weeks old and I’m still amazed with how loving, smart, loyal, friendly to a fault, energetic yet disciplined she is. The joy and love this pup brings into my home exceedingly surpasses any daily care and cost of grooming, special pre packaged or home crafted diets, or her barking when protecting her humans or space. Our pets are like children, their behavior reflects our behavior, how well we’ve taught them, and how they have been treated!
Wishes for a happy and healthy 2023!
How long does it take for them to get out of puppy stage. Mine wants to gnaw on everything. VERY LOVING & cuddly