Playful, affectionate, alert, and intelligent are just some of the words used by pet parents to describe their favorite dog, the French bulldog or Frenchie for short. As completely irresistible French bulldogs are, they are not really immune to health problems that plague similar short-nosed, stub-faced canines. While they can grow up to 14 years, this AKC number 6 dog will require your utmost attention especially when choosing the best food for it. Our team came up with a list of the best dog food you can possibly give to your Frenchie.
Best Dog Food for French Bulldogs Buying Guide and FAQ
French bulldogs are a special breed of hounds that require a certain level of understanding of their unique nutritional needs. This is important to help avert any health problems that are especially known among such breeds while promoting their optimum health. Helping you in this regard is the buying guide we’ve prepared.
Nutritional Needs of French Bulldogs
The nutritional needs of Frenchies are not really that different from other dog breeds. They still need high-quality proteins, fats, and carbs to help them grow and mature into well-rounded hounds.
- Moderate protein
Frenchies may be small, but they are similar to other bulldogs when it comes to body built: muscular, stocky, and well-developed. The only way you can achieve this is by giving your Frenchie a dog food that contains moderate levels of protein. More importantly, the protein should always be animal-based as it is a lot easier to digest. There are also plant-based proteins, but these lack certain amino acids needed in your dog’s development. The reason why it’s not necessary to give a high protein diet is because of the natural tendency of Frenchies to develop allergies. Proteins are mostly the major culprit in such conditions.
- Low to moderate calories
Experts say that French bulldogs have moderate energy levels. They may be very playful, but they don’t really require vigorous exercise. Casual walk on a daily basis is all they need. They actually don’t mind lying in front of the TV all day long. As such their calorie needs should not be more than necessary; lest they turn obese and suffer from the many complications of obesity. On the average, an adult Frenchie requires only about 550 to 600 calories per day while a senior hound will require less than that, usually between 400 and 470 calories. Hyperactive French bulldogs, while rare, will require about 750 to 825 calories per day.
- Low fat
Since French bulldogs require fewer calories than other breeds, they also have to cut down on the fats. Fats are highly concentrated forms of energy. Since most Frenchies don’t really have a highly active lifestyle, the excess calories contained in fat can be stored as such, leading to obesity.
- Low carbs
Your Frenchie will also need carbs, but mostly in dietary fiber form since this breed is especially prone to develop gas, food allergies, and other digestive problems. Because they need fewer calories, they also need less carbs; unless you can get them to work really hard like Golden retrievers and other highly active hounds. If you’ve got a lapdog for a Frenchie, it is best to stick with low carbs.
Vitamins and minerals are a mainstay in any canine diet. These form the backbone of many tissue and cellular physiologic processes needed for optimum health. Calcium and phosphorus are a must for bone development. Zinc, iron, magnesium, folate, B vitamins, potassium, vitamins A and C, and a whole lot more will also be needed.
French bulldogs are prone to the development of GI problems. Prebiotics and probiotics can help in such cases. They are also prone to patellar luxation and hip dysplasia in which case they will need glucosamine and chondroitin.
What to Consider When Buying Dog Food for French Bulldogs
Frenchies are stocky little bundles of joy. They have very specific nutritional requirements that may be different from other breeds. As such, it is important to keep the following in mind when buying dog food for your French bulldog.
- Weight control
It is very easy to turn a Frenchie into an overweight hound. They are adorable creatures that are made even more lovable when they have well-rounded bodies. Unfortunately, the breed standards for French bulldogs require that the maximum weight of such a dog should be 28 pounds. If you have a Frenchie that is already above this weight limit, you definitely need a dog food that is specifically designed for weight loss. If your pet is already within the upper limits of its standard weight, going for a dog food specifically formulated for weight control is a must.
Given that French bulldogs have the tendency to become overweight, watching the calorie content of their dog food is a must. Again, your vet should be able to provide you with a more concrete idea of the maximum amount of calories that your Frenchie needs depending on a host of factors. On the average, adult bulldogs may require about 780 calories every day, divided into two to three meals. Puppies and seniors will definitely need less while more active hounds will require sufficiently larger amounts. The point is for you to always consult your veterinarian about the ideal weight your hound needs to maintain and the amount of calories it needs to take.
- Activity or energy level
French bulldogs are very playful. However, their energy levels are not really tops. They get tired easily because of the rather unique anatomy of their noses which ultimately affects their respiratory system. They will require daily walks but not really vigorous exercises sustained for longer periods. As such, it is important to pick a dog food that has moderate protein content than carbs, fats, and calories. Proteins are a lot more complicated to turn into energy. Your dog will have to burn carbs and fats first before it starts burning proteins. As we have mentioned above, Frenchies require low calories, low fats, and low carbs because of their relatively low energy levels. Too much and you’ve got excess calories being converted into fat, turning your pet into a ball of a hound.
- Developmental age
If you’ve got a puppy, always go for specialty puppy formulations. Don’t give adult varieties since they do have substantially different nutritional requirements. The same is true with senior dogs, lactating dams, and pregnant dogs. Again, if you’re confused, better ask your vet.
Ingredients to Avoid Feeding Your French Bulldog
Just like any other canine breed, there are several ingredients that you should never give to your French bulldog. These include the following.
- Artificial preservatives and chemicals such as ethoxyquin, butylated hydroxytoluene or BHT, butylated hydroxyanisole or BHA, and propylene glycol
- Allergenic grains like wheat, corn, and soy
- Rendered fat
- Excessively high protein – while protein itself is good, giving too much protein might lead to the development of severe allergies
- Food dyes such as Blue 2, Yellow 5 and 6, Red 40, and caramel
Potential Health Problems for French Bulldogs
The unique anatomy of French bulldogs presents a variety of health problems that may be a cause of concern for new pet parents of Frenchies. Learning about these should also help you decide on the best possible kind of dog food to give to your pet.
- Brachycephalic syndrome
All dogs that have relatively narrowed nostrils, short heads, soft palates, or elongated palates are prone to the development of brachycephalic syndrome. What happens is that because of the relatively short and irregularly shaped upper airway, tissue oxygenation can be severely compromised. It may manifest as noisy breathing to difficulty breathing and ultimately to the collapse of the airways.
Food allergies are especially common among French bulldogs. It is for this reason that their dog food should contain, at most, moderate protein. The good news is that choosing high quality proteins that are easily digested by your dog can help minimize the occurrence of allergies. Introducing novel proteins into your dog’s diet can also help. The addition of probiotics and antioxidants can also help promote healthier and better digestion which can help eliminate the presence of undigested proteins.
- Hip dysplasia
This is a very common hereditary condition among Frenchies. And since it is hereditary it is often wise to ask for proof about a dog’s predisposition for hip dysplasia. More specifically, you may want to ask for proof from the breeder showing that the parents of the French bulldog have been duly tested negative of hip dysplasia. Alternatively, you can always rely on a good dose of glucosamine and chondroitin in the ingredients of the dog food.
- Patellar luxation
This congenital disease is typical in small breeds whereby the thigh bone, calf bone, and the knee cap are not in their perfect anatomical alignment. This can produce lameness or even abnormal gait in the Frenchie.
- Von Willebrand’s disease
French bulldogs are notorious for Von Willebrand’s disease, a disorder caused by a failure in the clotting mechanism because of the insufficient amounts of Von Willebrand factor. Unexplained signs of bleeding as well as unusually long bleeding times are often the manifestations of the disease. Over time, because of the increased bleeding, anemia may result. Foods rich in folate and iron should help compensate for the resulting decrease in tissue oxygenation.
- Intervertebral disc disease
Frenchies are very playful despite their low-energy levels. As such they can jump from high places with gusto, increasing their risk of spinal injury. One of the most common forms of spinal injury in these dogs is intervertebral disc disease which can lead to pain and paralysis, either temporary or permanent.
You may also like our review of the best dog food for Pugs.
Q: What dog food should I feed my French bulldog puppy?
A: A good French bulldog puppy food should be one that contains moderate to moderately-high protein content as this is important for puppies’ muscle and organ development. Equally important is the presence of DHA and EPA which can aid in the normal development and maturation of the juvenile nervous and immune systems. The dog food for French bulldog pups should have a high-quality animal protein as its principal ingredient. Additional ingredients are advisable, although these should always be the easily digestible kind. The nutrient profile of the puppy food should also be complete and well-balanced to promote optimum development.
Q: How much food should I feed my French bulldogs?
A: Determining the exact amount of food to give to your Frenchie can be challenging as there are no hard and fast rules. Even if a dog food manufacturer will recommend the amount of food to give per meal or per day, the actual amount is still dependent on your pet’s age, developmental level, activity level, and existing health conditions, if any. On the average, French bulldogs require about 25 to 30 calories for every pound of their weight. The result is the computed daily calorie intake.
For example, a healthy 18-pounder that doesn’t do much exercise will require about 450 to 540 calories per day. A heavier 25-pounder yet equally lazy hound will require 625 to 750 calories per day. But if you can get your Frenchie to do several laps around the neighborhood within 60 minutes then you can expect its calorie requirements to be significantly higher. The same is true if you have a pregnant or lactating Frenchie.
Q: How often should I feed my French bulldog?
A: The computed daily calorie requirements for French bulldogs as we have mentioned above can be divided into two to three smaller, more frequent feedings. This is a lot better than giving Frenchies a single meal which can lead to the accumulation of gas in its intestines as well as lead to bloating and its complication, gastric torsion.
For example, if your pet needs 540 calories per day, then you can give your French bulldog 180 calories per meal three times a day or 270 calories per meal twice a day. If you have a French bulldog dog food that says it contains 360 calories per cup, then you need to give ½ cup three times a day.
Q: What is the best dog food for French bulldog with gas?
A: The best food for French bulldogs with sensitive stomach or increased susceptibility to gas formation is one that has a well-balanced formulation made of only the highest possible quality of natural ingredients. It should also be rich in fiber to aid in the faster movement of fecal matter through the colon and minimize the formation of gas. Botanicals such as peppermint, chamomile, fenugreek, cardamom, and fennel may also help. Perhaps one of the most important ingredients of an anti-gas dog food for French bulldogs is probiotics. These microorganisms reestablish balance in the dog’s gut so that it becomes more efficient in digesting food particles. This can help reduce the incidence of gas formation.
You may also like our food guide for Dachshunds.
Our Top Pick
There were two picks for the top spot in our list of the best dry dog food for French bulldogs: Blue Buffalo’s Healthy Weight Formula and Wellness CORE’s Reduced Fat, Protein-Focused Formula.
Nutrient-wise, CORE has the advantage since it comes with moderately higher protein content, although its fat content is slightly higher by 1 to 3 percentage points. Its fiber content is also high, albeit lower than Blue by 1.5%. Both products have prebiotics, probiotics, glucosamine, chondroitin, and essential fatty acids. However, Blue Buffalo’s ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is a lot closer to the ideal. Another major differentiation is that Blue comes with chicken as its principal proteins while CORE has turkey and chicken. Blue Buffalo also comes out as more practical on a per-pound basis than Wellness CORE.
Deciding between the two is tough, but there can only be one on top. We picked the Wellness CORE Reduced Fat, Protein-Focused Formula because of its moderate protein content, but most importantly for its choice of 3 animal proteins forming the core of its first 5 ingredients. Its fat content is also low. It has all the right nutrients needed by French bulldogs to grow healthy and strong. Blue Buffalo would have been a great choice but its low protein and low fat content simply translates to more carbs which we obviously don’t want a docile French bulldog to have. It may be a great choice because of the dangers of allergy caused by a high-protein diet. But given the fact that Wellness CORE’s protein levels is moderate and that it includes a novel animal protein as its first ingredient, food allergies should not be a problem.
Frenchies are known for their sweet nature and rather comical personality made even more adorable by the large bat-like ears atop their head. They are not really hyperactive dogs and as such will require just the right amounts of calories and carbs, low on fat, and moderate on protein to really thrive.
- French Bulldog Feeding Guide, LoveJoys
- French Bulldog, DogTime
- What You Need to Know About Feeding Your French Bulldog, Pet Helpful