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Bichon Frise Grooming: 16 Important Tips

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

groomer combing bichon frise dog

The Bichon Frise is one of the cutest and sweetest breeds. If you’ve ever seen one, however, you probably realize they take a lot of grooming to stay beautiful and prevent health issues. That’s because the Bichon has a double coat with a thick inner layer and a dense and curly layer on top.

If you’ve adopted a Bichon Frise or plan to do so soon, knowing how and when to groom them and what tools to use is vital information. Read on to discover 16 important Bichon Frise grooming tips that will make this task easier, safer, and more enjoyable for you and your Bichon buddy!

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The 16 Bichon Frise Grooming Tips

1. Put Together Your Grooming Supplies Ahead of Time

woman preparing grooming tools
Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

Gathering all your supplies will save you time and make the entire process a bit easier and faster.

The tools you’ll likely need include the following:
  • A coarse comb
  • A soft, slicker brush
  • A pin brush
  • A non-slip mat for your Bichon to Stand on while grooming
  • A high-quality dog shampoo
  • A blow dryer (optional)
  • A toothbrush and toothpaste

2. Groom Your Bichon Frise About Once a Month

A Bichon Frise only comes in four hair colors, all of which are very light. They have a double coat that can mat and tangle quickly. For those reasons and several others, you’ll probably want to bring your Bichon to a professional groomer about once every 4 or 5 weeks (unless you master grooming your pet yourself).

3. Brush Your Bichon’s Coat Every Day

bichon frise dog getting brushed
Image Credit: jonnomarshall, Shutterstock

The reasons to bring your Bichon Frise to the groomer once a month (above) are the same ones that make it necessary to brush their coat almost every day. They include the breed’s double coat and a tendency to mat and tangle. Another reason has more to do with you than keeping your Bichon clean, which is to bond with your pet. More brushing means more bonding and a stronger relationship between you and your precious pup.

4. Use a Hair Whitening Shampoo

Although this isn’t a necessity, if you want your Bichon Frise to have a more lustrous, shiny coat, a hair-whitening shampoo does the trick nicely. The best hair whitening shampoos are gentle, don’t have bleach or peroxide, and won’t wash away flea and tick treatments. They prevent your pet’s hair from yellowing and usually have several ingredients that are great for your dog’s hair like Vitamin E. Dog groomers recommend using a whitening spray every 3rd or 4th bath, not every time.

5. Don’t Forget to Trim Around Your Bichon Frise’s Eyes

Bichon Fries at a dog grooming salon
Image Credit: Nejron Photo, Shutterstock

Because of their thick and curly double coat of hair, a Bichon Frise’s eyes can quickly get lost behind their hair. If you’re grooming your Bichon yourself, don’t forget to trim this hair carefully away so that your canine can see you and the rest of the world. When trimming, experts recommend using the middle part of your grooming scissors with the points facing upward. This will prevent any accidents while you’re snipping away. Having a friend or family member with you to keep your Bichon steady is also a good idea.

6. Use Watered-Down Shampoo on a Damp Cloth Around Your Bichon Frise’s Eyes and Face

The Bichon Frise has more issues with eye stains than most dogs due to their light-colored coats. To clean their face and keep eye stains from becoming permanent, use watered-down dog shampoo on a damp cloth and gently wipe around their eyes, face, nose, and muzzle. Be especially careful around their eyes, which, as you might imagine, can be painful if the shampoo gets in them.

7. Use Baking Soda to Remove Tear Stains

baking soda into the bowl with wooden spoon
Image Credit: al1962, Shutterstock

Is there anything baking soda can’t do? To remove stains around your Bichon’s face and eyes, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with enough water to make a paste. Next, apply the paste to the stains using a damp cloth or cotton ball and leave it on for as long as possible. After about an hour, use a damp cloth to remove the paste and revel in your Bichon’s beautiful face!

8. Never Shave Your Bichon Frise

Experts recommend never shaving a Bichon Frise since it can inhibit their natural molting twice a year. Their undercoat needs to do this in spring so your Bichon doesn’t get too hot during warm summer months. Shaving “turns off” the natural trigger that makes this happen, which is why it’s never a good idea. Plus, you could cut your puppy while shaving them, which can be painful and cause your pet to fear grooming.

9. Don’t Start Trimming Your Bichon before 6 Months of Age

bichon frise puppy
Image Credit: Vladimir Nenezic, Shutterstock

Your Bichon Frise’s adult coat won’t come in until 6 to 8 months after it’s born. You can, however, start brushing your Bichon as soon as they have enough hair (around 4 months of age), but gentleness is the key, so you don’t hurt them or damage their delicate skin.

10. Leave the Difficult Grooming to a Professional Groomer

Unless you genuinely want to learn and master how to groom your Bichon Frise, leaving the hard work to a pro is the best choice. Professional groomers have the tools, expertise, and, in most cases, experience necessary to groom your Bichon well. Also, they know how to handle your pet so that it won’t be too nervous or scared during grooming. Lastly, if the groomer injures your pet while grooming, they will usually have insurance to cover the cost of treatment and care.

11. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth At least Once a Week

brushing dog teeth
Image Credit: DWhiteeye, Shutterstock

Like you, your Bichon Frise needs to have its teeth brushed regularly. While some vets suggest brushing their teeth every day (it’s true), most will tell you that once or twice a week is sufficient. Between brushing, you can give your pet chew treats and toys that help keep its teeth clean.

12. Give Your Bichon Frise a Bath Once a Month

Depending on how often your Bichon plays outside, it will likely need a bath about once a month. That said, if yours is an inside dog that only goes out for walks and doesn’t play in the dirt, mud, sand, etc., a bath once every 2 months will probably suffice. It depends on your pup’s activity level and propensity to get dirty.

13. Groom Your Bichon on Its Side if It won’t Stay Still

groomer trimming the nails of bichon frise dog
Image Credit: Studio Peace, Shutterstock

Some dogs are angels when being groomed and will sit still throughout the entire process. Some dogs… arent. If your Bichon Frise doesn’t sit still while you groom it, you might consider having it lay down on its side. This will keep it immobile and, for some dogs, will help them stay calm during their grooming session.

14. Be Thorough When Washing Your Bichon’s Coat

It can be easy to rush through washing your pet’s hair, especially if you are a busy pet parent. However, we recommend that you take your time and be as thorough as possible. For example, you should really sink your fingers deeply into your Bichon’s coat while you wash it, massaging vigorously but gently as you do. Then, rinse the suds off just as thoroughly. Experts recommend a 2/1 ratio. For example, if you wash their coat for 2 minutes, rinse it for 4 minutes. Rinsing is critical since any shampoo left on your dog’s coat can cause them to itch.

15. Don’t Use Hot Air When Blow Drying Your Bichon Frise

hair dryer on wooden floor
Image Cfredit; nonneestudio, Shutterstock

After towel drying your Bichon Frise, you might want to use a blow dryer to dry it faster. That’s OK, as long as you don’t use it with the heating element on. Heat can dry out your pet’s skin and, in some cases, burn their skin. That’s why using a blow dryer on the lowest setting with no heat is best.

16. Use a Hydrating Spray before Brushing Your Bichon

This last tip might be one of the most important. Groomers recommend you never brush your Bichon’s hair when it’s dry but instead spray on a hydrating product first. That way, their hair will brush easier, and you’ll cause less stress on your dog’s delicate skin. If you don’t have a hydrating spray, a simple spray bottle filled with water will do the trick.

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Final Thoughts

The Bichon Frise is a beautiful dog with a double coat of hair that’s lightly colored or completely white. Because of that, a Bichon can get dirty quickly under the right circumstances. Also, they tend to get stains around their face from tearing, which can look awful if not cleaned effectively.

While you can undoubtedly groom your Bichon Frise yourself, having a professional dog groomer handle the bigger jobs, like trimming their hair, is best. Brushing their coat once a day is also highly recommended. Whatever you choose, one thing is certain; a well-groomed Bichon Frise will look like a furry angel!

Featured Image Credit: Studio Peace, Shutterstock

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