Bichon Frises are small, sturdy pet dogs that easily adapt to most environments. They are are generally free of major debilitating illnesses like hip dysplasia and arthritis that strike other dogs their size.
A Bichon Frise is a charming, friendly and intelligent companion, naturally sociable and generally friendly to the whole family and even other pets. They are easily trained and eager to please, with a gentle and affectionate manner. They crave human companionship and will suffer emotional distress if they are neglected for any length of time.
Intelligent and alert, Bichon Frises also have spirited personalities that often result in unexpected and sudden rushes of energy. These outbursts are rarely destructive and usually involve just a lot of running around the house.
Even though they are generally friendly to strangers, Bichons will still bark and make a commotion if they sense a threat to their family.
Bichon Frises are noted for being congenial to an owner’s neighbors and friends. They don’t require a lot of exercise, making them ideal apartment dwellers.
They are ideal dogs for people with allergies as they don’t shed much, but regular brushing is needed to prevent their coat from matting. If you don’t brush their hair at least weekly, they’ll begin looking a little scruffy.
The Bichon Frise originated in the Mediterranean area of Europe and descended from a mixture of Poodles and Water Spaniels. It is thought that Spanish and Italian sailors discovered these dogs and carried them around the world on their merchant voyages, sometimes using them to barter for other merchandise.
Bichon Frises are small and sturdy with puffball coats which are sometimes groomed in a lion-style featuring a close-cut body and a puffed up mane. They have slightly rounded heads, medium-length muzzles, hanging ears covered in hair, and protruding black noses. Their dark eyes have a curious and lively expression. Their coat consists of a rough and curly outer layer with a soft, dense inner coat.
The average Bichon Frise can live as long as 15 years. Health problems include allergies, cataracts and hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.
To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected. The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.
This is a normal hip joint:
Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.
This is an abnormal hip joint:
Most dogs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.
The symptoms of hip dysplasia cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.
Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.
Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.
Because hip dysplasia in a Bichon Frise is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development. Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.
There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.