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Known for his bat-like ears and bow-legged gait, the French Bulldog is a charming little dog. He comes in a variety of colors and has many endearing qualities including a characteristic snore, a goofy personality, and a gruff bark.
The Frenchie is a low-maintenance breed when it comes to coat care and exercise requirements. Like any dog, however, he needs a high-quality and balanced diet to maintain a healthy body weight and to reduce his risk for certain health concerns like obesity, skeletal issues, and breathing problems.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the nutritional needs of French Bulldogs and provide tips for choosing the best dog food for your Frenchie. You’ll also see our picks for the best French Bulldog food.
Understanding Your Frenchie’s Nutritional Needs
According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, adult dogs require a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat in their diet. These needs are higher for growing puppies, but protein remains the most important nutrient followed by healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals.
Protein provides your Frenchie with the building blocks for healthy muscle and lean mass. It should come from high-quality animal sources like poultry, meat, and fish. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy in the form of calories as well as omega fatty acids for skin and coat support. It too should come from animal sources to ensure digestibility.
As a small-breed dog, your French Bulldog has a naturally fast metabolism. This means he needs more calories per pound of body weight than a larger breed, but you need to keep in mind that this is a fairly low-energy breed with a high risk for obesity. This being said, look to feed your Frenchie somewhere between 25 and 35 calories per pound of body weight.
Now that you have a greater understanding of your Frenchie’s nutritional requirements let’s talk about how to make sure those needs are met with high-quality dog food.
What to Look for in Dog Food for French Bulldogs
When it comes to the best dog food for Frenchies, you need to make sure your dog’s basic needs are met without going overboard on calories. French Bulldogs are prone to obesity and a gain of even a few pounds could be significant enough to impact his health.
Here are some things to look for in dog food for French Bulldogs:
- Wholesome, natural ingredients with no by-products, fillers, or artificial additives
- Rich in lean protein from high-quality animal sources like poultry and fish
- Low-to-moderate fat content, including omega-3 fatty acids for skin support
- Moderate calorie content for healthy weight maintenance
- Complete and nutritionally balanced according to AAFCO nutrient profiles
The best way to ensure that your Frenchie’s basic needs for calories and nutrition are met is to choose a high-quality dog food formulated for small breeds. Keep a close eye on your dog’s body weight and condition and make adjustments to his diet if he starts to gain too much weight.
What About Grain-Free Dog Food?
The French Bulldog is known for being a little gassy at times, and certain food ingredients can exacerbate this issue. Building your dog’s diet around whole-food ingredients to increase digestibility will help, but you may want to talk to your veterinarian if your dog has frequent digestive issues.
Many French Bulldog owners choose to feed their dog grain-free food out of a concern for food allergies, but you should do your own research to determine what’s best for your dog.
The idea that grain-free dog food is inherently healthier is a common misconception. According to the Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, food allergies in dogs are fairly uncommon and grains are less likely to be an issue than common proteins like chicken or beef.
The primary concern with grain-free diets is due to a recent investigation by the FDA into a link between dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and grain-free diets. There is no conclusive evidence as of yet, however, and small breeds like the Frenchie are less prone to DCM than larger breeds. Unless your veterinarian confirms that your dog has a grain allergy or sensitivity, there’s no need for a grain-free diet.
The Best Dog Food for French Bulldogs
Choosing a dog food for French Bulldogs can be tricky because they walk the line with being classified as a small breed. If your dog weighs more than 20 pounds as an adult, an all-breed formula with moderate fat and calorie content may be more appropriate.
To help you pick the best food for your Frenchie, we’ve compiled a list of small-breed and all-breed formulas. Here are our top picks for the best dog food for French Bulldogs:
Start your French Bulldog puppy off right with this protein-rich recipe featuring real meat and whole grains for a healthy source of balanced nutrition.
Featuring farm-raised chicken for lean protein and optimal levels of fatty acids for skin and coat, this wholesome natural recipe is a great choice for your French Bulldog puppy.
Because the French Bulldog walks the line between being a small and medium breed, this recipe could be the perfect fit. It features 93% protein from animal sources with ancestral whole grains.
Loaded with premium proteins like venison, lamb, and duck, this recipe also contains fresh fruits and veggies for a boost of quality nutrition and probiotics for healthy digestion.
This formula provides a wholesome balance of protein, whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables to deliver a powerful dose of nutrition and plenty of natural flavor your Frenchie will love.
If your Frenchie is on the higher end of the weight range for his breed, an all-breed formula like this might be a good choice. Plus, it features real chicken as a lean source of protein with limited calories.
If your French Bulldog puppy has food allergies or sensitivities, this limited ingredient diet made with grain-free carbohydrates and a single source of premium animal protein may be the way to go.
Formulated for breeds weighing under 20 pounds at maturity, this recipe features chicken meal as a lean source of protein and contains just over 350 calories per cup.
If you’re concerned about your French Bulldog gaining weight, particularly as he ages, this reduced fat formula may be a good choice because it’s rich in protein but low in fat and calories.
An affordable option in small-breed senior dog food, this formula features fresh chicken for lean protein with chicken meal as a natural source of joint-supporting glucosamine and chondroitin.
Formulated both for small breeds and weight management, this recipe features a combination of protein and healthy fats from turkey, salmon, and duck for your senior Frenchie.
Before you bring a new puppy home, you need to make sure you’re fully prepared. To learn everything you need to know about French Bulldog puppies, check out our handy guide here.