French bulldogs are the most popular dog breed in the United States, and for good reason. Frenchies are absolutely adorable with their signature bat ears, wrinkly heads and squished faces. They’re small, affectionate, and don’t bark, making them perfect furry companions for apartment and city dwellers. However, Frenchies are alert and playful, fitting right in with an active country lifestyle.
As with other small breed puppies, Frenchies thrive when given high-quality food. Follow along as the experts from Halo Collar outline these dogs’ nutritional needs to help you determine the best dog food for French bulldogs.
The Unique Dietary Needs of French Bulldogs
French bulldogs were first bred in England as a smaller version of the British bulldog. They gained their reputation as furry companions among chic Parisian courtesans in the late 1800s before American tourists brought them to this side of the Atlantic.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized French bulldogs in 1898 and established the breed standard. According to the AKC, a healthy Frenchie weighs between 16 and 28 pounds and has a muscular build, a shiny coat and wrinkly skin.
Frenchies aren’t very active dogs, so a proper diet is crucial to keeping them healthy.
Dog Foods Nutritional Components: Proteins, Fats and Carbs
Frenchies don’t require a special diet to be healthy. Getting meals consisting of all the necessary nutrients is enough to help your Frenchie live well into its senior years.
The right diet for French bulldog health should have these five essential nutrients:
- Proteins to promote the development of blood cells, bones, muscles, skin, fur and nails
- Carbohydrates to provide energy for essential bodily functions and exercise
- Fats to enhance needed healing and give the dog healthy skin and fur
- Vitamins to maintain eyesight and brain functioning
- Minerals to regulate a Frenchie’s hormones and the structure of its organs, tissues and muscles
While the list of essential vitamins and nutrients for a French bulldog may seem intimidating, providing these to your dog through daily meals isn’t hard at all.
Common Health Concerns in French Bulldogs and Their Dietary Implications
While French bulldogs don’t have a high risk of diet-related health conditions, a bad diet can cause or worsen some diseases.
Frenchies tend to be allergic to foods such as soy protein, eggs and animal by-products. Food allergies usually affect a Frenchie’s skin and coat, causing hives, lesions and dermatitis. The best way of avoiding allergies is by feeding your pup high-quality dog food with easily identifiable ingredients.
An unbalanced diet can also put your Frenchie at risk of obesity. An obese Frenchie may find it difficult to breathe well through its short nose. It may also struggle with joint pain, diabetes and heart disease. To keep your Frenchie at a healthy body weight, make sure it eats the right amount of food and exercises daily.
Ingredients to Look for and Those to Avoid
French bulldogs can eat raw, cooked, frozen, wet or dry food. However, the benefit they derive from any pet food depends on the quality of the ingredients used.
According to guidelines from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the best dog food for French bulldogs uses high-quality animal protein sources such as pork, beef and chicken as the main ingredient. Avoid brands with vague protein labels such as “animal by-products” or “animal derivatives” since these often use animal parts with little to no nutritional value.
The best dog food for Frenchies also consists of carbohydrates rich in starch and dietary fiber. Steamed brown rice is the preferred carbohydrate for Frenchies since many tend to be allergic to wheat and corn.
A balanced diet for French bulldogs should have healthy fats from sources such as fish and coconut oil. Since high amounts of dietary fats can lead to obesity and heart disease, only supplement the quantity stated on dog food labels if it isn’t enough for your Frenchie’s needs.
Food Requirements Throughout a Dog’s Life Stages: Puppy, Adult, Senior
The type of nutrients your Frenchie requires heavily depends on its age and life stage.
A French bulldog puppy needs foods rich in protein, calcium and fiber to grow. Frenchie puppies should eat small quantities of puppy food and water at least three times daily to grow healthy.
Adult Frenchies need fewer calories than a Frenchie puppy. Increasing the amount of carbohydrates and proteins your adult Frenchie eats gives it enough energy to remain active while protecting it from weight-related health conditions.
Senior Frenchies require fewer calories than adult dogs. Reducing the amount of sodium in a senior French bulldog’s diet while increasing omega fatty acids reduces the likelihood of stiff joints. You should also reduce its carbohydrate intake and find protein sources that won’t overwhelm its aging digestive tract.
Homemade vs. Commercial Dog Food: Pros and Cons
Both homemade and commercial dog food have unique benefits and challenges.
Commercial dog food is often readily available and affordable. The nutritional breakdown provided on its packaging means you can easily ensure your Frenchie gets enough nutrients and calories. However, a lot of commercial dog food brands use ingredients that aren’t beneficial for dogs, such as chicken meal, bones, chicken fat and feathers.
It’s easier to control what your Frenchie eats if you make its food at home, especially if it has food allergies or other health conditions. However, finding and cooking quality ingredients can be time-consuming and expensive. Storing homemade meals may also be challenging and put your Frenchie at risk of food poisoning.
Consulting with your vet is a good way of determining which type of food to feed your French bulldog. Receiving a tailored nutritional breakdown will help you determine if your Frenchie will derive more benefit from homemade or commercial food.
4 Top Recommended Dog Food Brands for French Bulldogs
If you’re looking to improve your Frenchie’s diet, explore the food options offered by these four dog food brands:
- Open Farm provides a range of dog food suitable for French bulldogs. The brand uses ethically sourced ingredients you can trace back to the source. Open Farm also uses simple ingredient lists that make it easy for you to select the nutrients your Frenchie needs at different life stages.
- Ollie is a brand that provides human-grade dog food for pet owners seeking fresh food for their Frenchies. The company uses vets to formulate meals according to your dog’s nutritional needs, making it ideal for Frenchies with health conditions.
- Blue Buffalo sorts its dog food based on life stages, making it easy for you to provide balanced nutrition to French bulldog puppies, adults and seniors. The company provides meat-first, nutrient-rich wet food, kibble and treats that match any French bulldog’s tastes and health needs.
- The Farmer’s Dog is another brand that ships fresh meals to French bulldog owners countrywide. The Farmer’s Dog has vets that can formulate a meal plan to meet the nutritional needs of Frenchies with health conditions such as obesity, allergies, diabetes or joint pain.
The Importance of Tailored Nutrition for French Bulldogs
French bulldogs are the perfect animal companion for most people. These small, cute, smart animals love to make friends and enjoy the attention of their favorite humans. They’re also fuss-free, with a short coat that doesn’t shed too much or require regular grooming.
Providing your pup with the best dog food for its breed ensures you can enjoy its kisses and cuddles longer. Experts such as vets can help you keep your Frenchie healthy regardless of its life stage, activity level and health status.
The Halo Team has numerous resources aimed at improving your dog’s overall well-being. Visit the Halo blog to learn how a healthy diet and the Halo Collar 3 invisible fence can enrich all aspects of your French bulldog’s life.