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Care Manual for the Bichon Frise

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Preparing for your new pup

Before you get your pup, you can already purchase the following supplies for it:

General supplies:
* a basket
* a bowl for water and one for food
* toys and a tennis ball
* a pluche animal, for the pup to sleep with
A collar and lead you can buy when the pup is 3 months old and after his cocktail vaccination; before that time it is better not to bring him in contact with the street or with other dogs/animals. If there is no other way for you than to let out your pup on the street, then buy him a nylon puppy lead and make sure you put the pup on a clean spot on the street.

Grooming supplies:
* 2 soft slicker brushes, a very small one for the face and the legs, and a bigger one for the body of the pup;
* a comb, suitable for poodles;
* eye stain remover lotion;
* ear clean lotion;
* tooth brush and tooth paste for dogs;
* de-makeup pads for using the lotions on your dog.

Pet Supplies
Where and how is your pup going to sleep?
As your pup is entering a completely new world when he arrives at your place, it is very important for him that he can stay near to you, also during the night. So, it is recommendable to create his bed in your own bedroom.

The best is to buy a crate for your pup, a good size for a puppy is a Vari Kennel size Small. Put a little towel or a potty pad in the crate, and a plush stuffed animal to replace your pup's littermates! The first nights it is very important that you put the crate with the pup somewhere where the pup can see you, for example on a little table in your bedroom. For sure the pup will not cry at night, if he can see you sleeping!

Puppies need to sleep a lot. Therefore it is recommended to put the pup in his crate quite often. Soon you will notice, that the pup is going to consider his crate as his own little 'home'. If you leave the door of the crate opened during the day, the pup soon will go into his crate when he is tired and wants to sleep. A crate also is a safe place to put the pup when you are away from home!

Note: don't purchase a wire kennel for your Bichon Frise pup, my experience is, that Bichons Frise don't feel comfortable in a wire kennel, they prefer a crate.

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Food and treaties

Bichons Frise, like so many other small breeds, are a bit particular with food. I have had very good experiences with Hills Science and Purina, both the dry food and the tinned food. It seems very tasty for Bichons! Pups can be given the puppy food, adults eat the adult food. The best for the teeth is giving dry food, and if your dog does not want to eat it, then mix it with some tinned food.

Your Bichon needs to be fed twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Give a handful of dry food if needed mixed with a full table spoon of tinned food. Make sure there ALWAYS is fresh water available for your dog!

Be careful with chewing things for your Bichon! Lots of doggy treaties like Chewies and Buffle Skin get sticky and ruin your dog's coat! Safe treaties for chewing are: cow's nails, pig's ears, cow's ears. These are also very good for the teeth of your Bichon! Soft treaties that Bichons really love are the ones made by Purina, like Beggin Strips (several flavors!).

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House training and going for a walk

House training
Potty training you should start immediately! Until your pup has received his 3-month vaccination, you better not take him to places where other dogs/animals come. You can put your pup in your own garden to do his business, in the beginning about every 2 hours. You can also put a potty pad in your bathroom and put the pup there, close the door and wait for about 10 minutes until the pup has done! The pup certainly needs to potty after his meal, after sleeping and after playing.

As time goes by, you will notice that your pup won't have to potty every 2 hours anymore. An adult dog you only have to let out 4 to 5 times a day.

Going for a walk
As the Bichon Frise is small, a daily walk of about 25 minutes is enough for him. Maybe you will find more time for him in the weekends to let him run in a park or at the beach; bichons love that! Important note: you should not start these activities until your pup has reached the age of 8 months, before that time your pup may not walk outside longer than 15 minutes a day, to prevent patella luxation of the knees.

Patella luxation is a very serious defect of the joints that mostly is caused by walking too long with the pup, and that also can be caused if the pup jumps from chairs or walks stairways. After the age of 8 months, you can allow your pup to try to climb the stairs or jump the chairs and you can also increase the daily walk.

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Grooming

General care taking
As the Bichon Frise is a breed with big eyes, he has more eye fluid (tears) than breeds with smaller eyes, and, as the tears contain minerals, they will color the white hairs in the face of your dog reddish brown if you don't wash the face daily with some baby shampoo. You can also use eye stain remover lotion.

It is recommendable to clean the ears at least once a week with some ear clean lotion on a pad, and when you discover hairs growing out of the ears, you best remove them immediately with a tweezers, to prevent ear infections.

If your dog eats dry food, it is not necessary to brush his teeth daily, you can do it once a week.

Once a month it is recommendable to cut the nails of your Bichon, and to scissor away the hairs between the pads and the hairs around the eyes.

Coat care
Brushing and combing of your dog you should do daily. First brush the coat thoroughly with a soft slicker brush and then complete the procedure by combing. When combing, you will be surprised how many knots are left in the coat although it has been brushed already! If you come across a matted area, brush it again with help of a little hair conditioner.

It is recommendable to bath the dog at least once in 3 weeks. Use a good shampoo and some conditioner to prevent matting of the coat. After bathing, dry your dog with a hair blower and keep on brushing him while blowing him dry, otherwise the coat will get matted.

Proper grooming and trimming of the Bichon Frise is one of the essential characteristics of the breed, but also the most difficult part of taking care of your Bichon. If you have a professional groomer in your neighborhood, I strongly advise you to bring your dog there at least once in 6 weeks, for washing, trimming, doing the nails, ears and teeth.

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Health care

Vaccinations and worm treatment
When you get your pup at 8 - 10 weeks old, he will have had the puppy vaccination from the breeder. At 3 months old your pup needs a big vaccination against all kind of diseases. Before that time it is not recommended to bring your pup in contact with the street and other dogs/animals. At the age of 4 months a follow up vaccination against some diseases is needed. Afterwards your dog needs to be vaccinated once a year. If you plan to go on holidays with your dog, he needs a Rabies vaccination at least 30 days before departure. A Rabies vaccination is also needed if you live in an area where Rabies disease does occur in animals, for example in foxes.

The first year your pup should be treated against worms every 3 months, afterwards worm treatment can be reduced to twice a year, unless you live in an area where heart worms exist.

Car sickness
Lots of young dogs suffer from car sickness, this will go away after the dog has grown up. You can prevent car sickness by stop giving any food to the pup from 10 hrs before departure, and take the water away 4 hrs before departure. Sometimes you can cure car sickness by taking the dog to a place that he really likes, for example the park, instead of the Vet. With some dogs giving a pill against car sickness works, with other dogs not.

How to give pills
Hide the pill in a piece of cheese or sausage and the dog will easily eat its medication!

Diarrhea
Especially puppies can easily suffer from diarrhea, mostly caused because they are nosing everywhere and will eat all kind of dirty things from the street if you are not watching them. Diarrhea can also occur with changes of the weather. If it takes more than 3 days or if the diarrhea gets bloody, you should consult the Vet.

Make sure that your pup drinks enough during his diarrhea, otherwise he can die within 24 hrs from desiccation. If your pup does not want to drink, immediately consult the Vet!

Bathing of your Bichon Frise
You are allowed to bath your Bichon Frise as often as you want to, and it is not necessary to use a dog shampoo. I myself use human shampoo and human conditioner and I bath my dog once every 2 - 3 weeks, but you could do it weekly if you like.

Coat problems
If you don't thouroughly brush out your dog on a daily basis or if you don't brush him completely dry after bathing, he will get knots and in the worst case matted areas. Knots you can try to brush out the coat, but if the coat is matted there is no other solution than to bring your bichon to a professional groomer.

Skin irritation
Dogs can get skin irritation from: not thouroughly rinsing out shampoo, eating human food (especially proteins), shaving off the coat, eating plants, playing in the bushes, laying on woolen carpet and last but not least: fleas. You can use Medicated Spray (brand Ring-5) on mild skin irritations, for treatment of more serious irritations you better consult the Vet.

Fleas and ticks
You bichon can easily get fleas and ticks when playing outside and when having contact with other dogs. Luckily there are lots of treatments on the market. Your Vet can tell you more about the several ways of treatment.

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Obedience training and show training

Bichons Frise, as any other dogs, need to get obedience training! They must learn that YOU are the boss! You can take your pup to a puppy class, where he will not only learn commands, but also gets socialized with other dogs.

If you plan to show with your dog, you should attend special show training for dogs.

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