French Bulldogs (Frenchies) aren't the most active breed, but they aren't lazy either. Feeding the proper amount of calories each day and picking the best dog food for French Bulldogs specifically is crucial to keeping them from becoming overweight. And due to the common health concerns with this breed, feeding the proper diet from puppyhood can prevent early onset of many diseases.
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The French Bulldog is a small-to-medium dog with a stocky body, large and erect ears, short legs and a short corkscrew tail. Bulldogs are all brachycephalic breeds, classified as such due to their shortened, smushed facial structure. They are generally a silly, fun breed that gets along with almost everyone.
In this article, I will further discuss the nutritional needs of French Bulldogs, what this dog breed is like, and my personal experience as a vet with them. We'll mostly focus on how to feed a French Bulldog and review top best French Bulldog dog food brands I often recommend in my vet practice.
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Health Concerns and Feeding of French Bulldogs
Many Frenchies suffer from brachycephalic syndrome, a combination of medical issues owing to their special facial structure. They can have elongated soft palates, dental disease and stenotic nares (openings of the nose are too small), causing significant difficulty breathing. This makes it difficult for French Bulldogs to be especially active.
These dogs can also suffer from arthritis earlier in life due to their short, angled legs. This leg conformation can predispose them to increased wear and tear on their joints. Low-impact, slow walks during the coolest part of the day are recommended for most French Bulldogs.
Unfortunately, French Bulldogs tend to be chow hounds and many seem to want to eat you out of house and home. Their healthy appetite can be a blessing and a curse. Most are not picky eaters, so they will typically enjoy any of the best dog food for French Bulldogs that you decide to give them.
This means that Frenchies are one of the easiest breeds to overfeed. I’ve met many that are “bottomless pits” and will continuously beg for whatever food you can provide. French Bulldogs are naturally muscular and stocky, but they must not be fat. An overweight dog of any breed is more susceptible to health issues and major diseases.
The Best Dog Food for French Bulldog Puppies
Before switching your dog to any new diet, always consult with a veterinarian. Remember that no article on the internet, including this one, can replace a consultation with a vet.
While French bulldogs are not high risk for developing developmental orthopedic diseases like hip dysplasia, they certainly benefit from appropriate nutrition. It is best to stick with a small breed puppy food that is easy for them to pick up and chew. These puppy foods are also balanced to promote proper bone and joint growth.
Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development
It is important to start your Frenchie off on the right path to health, and that starts with the best dog food for French Bulldogs under 12 months of age (puppyhood). Frenchies, like other bulldogs, are prone to becoming overweight or obese as they age. There is a relationship between poor blood glucose levels and obesity.
The Hill’s Science Diet Puppy Healthy Development includes a key ingredient, barley, to help your puppy maintain level post-meal blood glucose levels and consistent growth. The small kibble size is perfect for small mouths. This food is appropriate for pups up to 12 months of age.
Royal Canin English Bulldog Breed Health Nutrition Puppy
It is worthwhile to note that Royal Canin makes an English Bulldog puppy food. Frenchies are very similar to English Bulldogs, in that they share a similar facial structure. Royal Canin English Bulldog Breed Health Nutrition Puppy deserves a mention as it provides excellent nutrition and is designed for brachycephalic faces to pick up and chew.
The Bulldog’s special facial structure, under-bite and crowded teeth can make it difficult for them to pick up and chew food. Each kibble has been designed in a “wave” shape to help Bulldog puppies pick up and chew the food more easily.
It is recommended to feed this best dog food for French Bulldogs until 12 months of age for maximum benefit. The calorie content and mineral balance are optimal for preventing developmental orthopedic diseases.
The Best Dog Food for Adult French Bulldog
If you are looking for the best dog food for French Bulldogs that are older than 12 months or are transitioning from puppy food to adult food, it is a good idea to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can help determine your bully’s current body condition score. With this in hand, you can decide which ‘maintenance’ adult diet is best.
Normal Body Condition French Bulldog
A great place to start for an active, normal body weight/condition Frenchie is with Royal Canin French Bulldog Breed Health Nutrition Adult. This adult formula is excellent for adults over 12 months of age to 7-8 years of age.
Royal Canin usually isn't the first brand for pet owners who are looking for cheap dog foods and the budget is tight, but this brand provides the right balance of nutrients to optimize a lean body condition over a lifetime. Just like the Royal Canin English Bulldog puppy food, this food also has the optimal shape for digestibility.
Low Activity, Couch Potato French Bulldogs
Many adult French Bulldogs easily become overweight or obese. Increased body mass can have very negative consequences for all Bulldogs, as it puts extra strain on their joints and makes it harder for them to breathe.
Generally, I reach for Natural Balance Fat Dogs Low Calorie Formula when Bulldogs become a bit too chunky and they have come to me for help. Natural Balance includes omega-3 fatty acid-rich salmon oil in this low calorie formula, helping French Bulldogs maintain proper brain, skin and joint health.
If your bulldog already has some mobility issues, a weight issue AND itchy skin, look no further than this next pick – it’s got it all! Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility formula is great option for overweight Frenchies with itchy skin issues. This special diet is by prescription only, but it works wonders for dogs that need it.
It contains wonderful ingredients like glucosamine and fish oil in higher levels than found in over-the-counter dog food. It can help improve mobility in as little as 21 days and reduce body weight by 13% in 60 days.
The Best Dog Food for French Bulldogs Seniors
French Bulldogs are considered “senior” or “geriatric” around 8-10 years of age. As they age, their nutritional requirements change as well. Joints start to ache and mental function can start to decline.
Active ingredients in my top pick for seniors will help your pup go strong for as long as possible. Frenchies are also notorious for having dental disease. As they age, they are more likely to have diseased teeth or many missing teeth.
It is important that your Bulldog is able to properly pick up, chew and swallow their food. A fresh, refrigerated diet may be best for your aging pup. That's why I recommend FreshPet Multiprotein Recipe.
Fresh, refrigerated foods from the pet store are often more palatable than canned food with a similar, easy-to-chew texture. FreshPet Vital Turkey recipe contains omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to maintain your senior’s skin, brain and joint function.
If your aging senior needs a bit more “boost” for joint, skin and digestive health, you can mix in Freshpet’s Blends Mix. It contains quinoa, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine and vitamin-packed cranberries.
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