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French Bulldogs have soared in popularity in the U.S., ranking in the top five most popular breeds for the last few years. And for good reason. Frenchies are extremely affectionate and loyal little family members, full of fun-loving personalities who get along well with kids and other pets. This breed’s mini-bulldog appearance and signature large bat ears make them irresistibly adorable.
Unfortunately, Frenchies suffer from a higher number of health problems compared to many other breeds. But a healthy diet can help ease the risks and symptoms of some of these conditions. That’s why choosing the best dog food for your French Bulldog is extremely important for his lifelong health and quality of life. See which food we recommend for your Frenchie puppy, adult, and senior and options for some specific health concerns your pup may face.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks
Note: All of the dog foods we’ve included in our reviews meet or exceed Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutritional guidelines, are made in North America and contain no fillers, by-products, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.
Nutritional Needs For French Bulldogs
French Bulldogs reach 11-13 inches in height as adults and should weigh 16-24 pounds (females) or 20-28 pounds (males). Despite their small stature, Frenchies can be quite energetic and require a diet rich in lean animal protein, healthy fats, fiber, and complex carbohydrates to fuel their busy little bodies.
Some of the health challenges that affect this breed can’t be directly addressed by diet, but many can. Here are some ways a premium diet can benefit your Frenchie’s health throughout her lifetime.
Weight Control Is Essential
The right food and maintaining a healthy weight can help slow the progression of intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) and hip dysplasia, two skeletal problems commonly affecting this breed. Weight control is also extremely important for Frenchies’ notorious breathing problems.
All Frenchies suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS) due to their flat faces, and being overweight can seriously exacerbate breathing troubles. A healthy diet is also crucial for French Bulldogs because many don’t do well with excessive exercise due to BAS and a higher risk of heat stroke. Too much exercise can also contribute to IVDD and hip dysplasia. But avoiding foods with unnecessary fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients can help your pup maintain an ideal weight.
Expert Tip: If you suspect your Frenchie has already developed a weight problem, it’s crucial to get it under control as soon as possible to avoid a host of long-term health issues. Even a few extra pounds in small breeds can lead to serious problems. See our guide on overweight and obese dogs and our reviews of the best dog food for weight loss.
Allergies & Skin Problems
Frenchies are prone to both environmental and food allergies. Common culprits, such as wheat and corn, can trigger allergies and cause excessive gas (especially in this breed) and extremely itchy skin. Dogs with food allergies typically suffer less severe symptoms on a diet rich in whole food ingredients rather than a bunch of fillers and preservatives. Some proteins are also common allergens, with beef and chicken being the worst offenders.
This breed also tends to suffer higher incidences of bacterial skin infections (pyoderma) and skin fold dermatitis. Keeping your dog’s immune system strong through a healthy diet gives her a leg up in fighting off infections and allergy symptoms. And ingredients that include omega-3 and 6 fatty acids (fish, fish oil, flaxseed, etc.) go a long way in supporting a healthy coat and skin.
Beyond Basic Ingredients
All dog food should include protein, carbs, healthy fats, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. But many of the most nutritious premium dog foods are fortified with additional ingredients with major health benefits for your furry friend. Here are a few you’ll want to look for and how they support your pup’s health. For your convenience, we’ve listed these premium ingredients in our reviews.
- Fruits & vegetables: excellent natural sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support immune health
- Fish oil and/or flaxseed: sources of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids Docosahexenoic Acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) that support brain and eye development and skin, coat, joint, and immune health
- Glucosamine & chondroitin sulfate (often from chicken meal*): maintains healthy joints
- Prebiotics & probiotics: support digestion and a healthy level of good gut bacteria (often includes dried chickory root, a powerful natural prebiotic)
- Taurine: supports cardiovascular, eye, and brain health, immune system function, and benefits many other body functions
- L-carnitine: an amino acid derivative that helps the metabolism of fats (particularly beneficial for older, less active dogs)
- Organ meats: excellent source of premium quality protein and fat as well as vitamins A, B, D, and E, copper, iron, phosphorus, selenium, and zinc
- Chia seeds: rich in plant protein, fiber, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus
*A note about meat meal: Quality pet food brands often use meat meal in their recipes, which can be a very healthy source of protein for your pup (as long as the “meat” is named, e.g., chicken meal, lamb meal, etc.). A meal can be made from the meat, tissue, organ meat, bone, stomach, and intestines of the named animal. But meal doesn’t include by-products like hair, feathers, beaks, heads, blood, hooves, hide trimmings, etc.
Best Food For French Bulldog Puppies
According to AAFCO guidelines, puppy food should include a minimum of 22% protein and a minimum of 8% fat. Unfortunately, there aren’t any official guidelines for small breeds. But most veterinarians and animal nutritionists believe they should eat food formulated specifically for small breed puppies. Why? They have very high metabolic rates, requiring nutrient- and calorie-dense food. Often, this means higher levels of protein and fat than regular puppy food.
Experts also highly recommend feeding them three to four meals per day until around six months old, when their metabolism and growth start to slow down (then you can switch to two the three times per day). The reason for more frequent feedings is that younger small-breed puppies burn through calories so fast they’re at a higher risk of developing hypoglycemia, which can cause severe and even life-threatening symptoms. Here are our top picks for the best dry food for a French Bulldog puppy.
Blue Buffalo Life Protection Small Breed Puppy
Blue Buffalo offers excellent mid-range priced premium puppy food to give your little Frenchie a well-balanced diet full of nutrients for optimal growth and development. It’s fortified with Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits, a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and chelated minerals formulated by animal nutritionists specifically for small-breed puppies. And the smaller kibble size is perfect for tiny Frenchie mouths.
This formula features real meat as the first ingredient (a sign of high-quality dog food). The easy-to-digest whole grains and probiotics are fantastic for Frenchies’ sometimes sensitive stomachs. And it also includes plenty of whole fruits and veggies, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, blueberries, and cranberries. A few customers said it caused their pups to have diarrhea, but most rave about this puppy food.
- First 5 ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, barley, and fish meal
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids (from fish meal, fish oil, and flaxseed), dried chickory root, probiotics, taurine, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 29% (min); crude fat 17% (min); crude fiber 5% (max)
- Calories: 417 kcal/cup
Wellness Core Small Breed Puppy (Grain-Free)
This Wellness Core formula is crafted with high calories and protein to give your active little guy plenty of fuel. While a bit on the pricey side, it’s fortified with tons of added nutrients for whole-body health and development. This small-breed puppy food features a small kibble size and real turkey as the first ingredient.
A grain-free recipe, it includes whole superfoods such as broccoli, carrots, kale, spinach, blueberries, bananas, and sweet potatoes (with no corn, wheat, or soy). It could be a good option if your puppy has a sensitive stomach, although some customers said it causes excessive gas.
- First 5 ingredients: deboned turkey, chicken meal, turkey meal, peas, and chicken fat
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids, DHA & EPA (from salmon meal, salmon oil, and flaxseed), dried chickory root, probiotics, and taurine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 38% (min); crude fat 18% (min); crude fiber 4.5% (max)
- Calories: 504 kcal/cup
Diamond Naturals Small & Medium Breed Puppy (Grain-Inclusive)
We love the brand Diamond Naturals for its affordably priced food that certainly doesn’t skimp on quality ingredients and nutritional value. This formula crafted especially for small and medium breed puppies, features real cage-free chicken as the first ingredient and a smaller kibble size for little jaws.
With ideal caloric, protein, and fat content plus wholesome grains, it will keep your Frenchie fueled throughout the day. And it’s packed full of nutrients, including those from chia seeds, kale, pumpkin, blueberries, oranges, coconut, spinach, and carrots. As with most puppy food, some experienced diarrhea and gas on this diet, but an overwhelming majority of customers love this formula — and its excellent value.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, ground white rice, chicken fat, and cracked pearled barley
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids, DHA (from salmon oil, fish oil, and flaxseed), chia seeds, dried chickory root, and probiotics
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 32% (min); crude fat 22% (min); crude fiber 3.5% (max)
- Calories: 453 kcal/cup
Best Food For Adult French Bulldogs
Frenchies should slowly transition to adult food around 11 months of age once they’ve finished most of their growth. AAFCO guidelines recommend a minimum of 18% protein and a minimum of 5% fat for all adult dogs, regardless of size or breed. However, small breeds continue to have faster metabolic rates than larger dogs throughout their adulthood. So, be sure to choose a small-breed adult dog food for your Frenchie.
The Farmer’s Dog (Grain-Free)
One of the most nutritious diets you can provide your pup are fresh, human-grade meals, and our favorite brand is The Farmer’s Dog. Every meal features whole-food USDA animal protein, vegetables, and fruits, all fortified with an ideal blend of vitamins and minerals for your pup’s life stage, size, and specific needs. A huge plus, they pre-portion and personalize all recipes. All you have to do is fill out a brief survey, which includes your dog’s age, breed, current weight, body shape, and whether she has any health conditions.
The Farmer’s Dog offers grain-free beef, chicken, pork, and turkey recipes developed by board-certified American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) nutritionists and flash-frozen to preserve nutrients and freshness. While The Farmer’s Dog requires a subscription, they regularly deliver your pup’s super healthy meals to your door, and you can cancel anytime. The only downsides? Their meals are expensive compared to premium kibble, and they don’t offer any grain-inclusive options.
Each recipe includes different ingredients, but here’s an overview of their turkey formula.
- First 5 ingredients: USDA turkey, chickpeas, carrots, broccoli, and spinach
- Formula highlights: human-grade & whole-food ingredients, omega fatty acids (from fish oil), and taurine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 38% (min); crude fat 26% (min); crude fiber 2% (max)
- Calories: not available
- Starting at $2/day for small dogs, but varies based on each dog’s weight, age, and other factors (e.g., $51.74/week for mixed-breed male, one-year-old, 38 pounds, healthy size, neutered, no health problems, or allergies)
Our readers have access to 50% off your first box. No code is needed; just use this link, and the discount will be applied! You can also visit our dedicated The Farmer’s Dog coupons page.
Full Review Of The Farmer’s Dog
Open Farm Small Breed With Ancient Grains
Open Farm is one of our top-choice brands because of its superior ethical and sustainable practices (on top of quality food ingredients). This bite-sized recipe is formulated specifically for smaller breeds and features humanely raised chicken and turkey, easily digestible grains, and locally sourced fruits and veggies. It’s also free of corn, wheat, soy, peas, potato, and legumes. Open Farm also offers a grain-free version of this small-breed formula.
All of Open Farm’s pet food is formulated by a team of animal nutrition experts and made in a facility that’s regularly audited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the American Institute of Baking (AIB International), and Certified Humane to ensure strict food safety practices. And every batch of their food is tested by an independent third-party lab. While their puppy and dog food is pricey, we think their many formulas are among your best choices for commercial kibble.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken, turkey, menhaden fish meal, barley, and brown rice
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids (from salmon oil and flaxseed), taurine, New Zealand green-lipped mussels (excellent for joint support), and dried chicory root
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 27.5% (min); crude fat 16% (min); crude fiber 5% (max)
- Calories: 436 kcal/cup
You can save 5% off every order if you sign up for auto-shipping with Open Farm.
Full Open Farm Dog Food Review
Solid Gold Mighty Mini Toy & Small Breed (Grain-Free)
If your adult Frenchie is on the smaller side for this breed (20 pounds or below) or if she’s not particularly active, this Solid Gold puppy food could be an excellent option — especially if you’re concerned about your pup’s penchant to gain weight easily. This small/mini breed food has fewer calories and less fat content than some of your other choices.
This formula could also be a good option if your pup has sensitive stomach or skin issues. It’s grain-free, features salmon as the primary ingredient, and includes prebiotics and probiotics. It also contains carrots, pumpkin, blueberries, cranberries, and green beans for natural sources of vitamins and minerals.
- First 5 ingredients: salmon, ocean fish meal, lentils, peas, and chickpeas
- Formula highlights: lower calories and fat, omega fatty acids, DHA (from salmon oil), taurine, dried chickory root, and probiotics
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 26% (min); crude fat 6% (min); crude fiber 10% (max)
- Calories: 355 kcal/cup
Merrick Classic Healthy Grains Small Breed
Merrick is a long-time favorite brand for premium kibble. Featuring a combination of real deboned chicken, wholesome grains, carrots, apples, and more, this formula is also crafted with high levels of glucosamine and chondroitin. So, if your little buddy shows signs of hip dysplasia or joint problems, this could be a fantastic diet for her. It’s a highly nutritious, well-balanced food for any small breed doggy.
- First 5 ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, and barley
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids (from salmon meal and flaxseed), taurine, chia seeds, glucosamine, chondroitin, and probiotics
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 27% (min); crude fat 16% (min); crude fiber 3.5% (max)
- Calories: 404 kcal/cup
Best Food For Senior French Bulldogs
Frenchies begin entering their golden time of life around eight years old, so you should slowly transition your pup to a senior dog food around this time. The same recommendations apply to older French Bulldogs to put them on small-breed dog food. Less-active elderly small breeds need to eat a lower-calorie and fat diet to help prevent weight gain. But lean protein is still an important part of senior diets.
A diet rich in antioxidants and other immune-boosting nutrients is also essential to help prevent free radical damage to cells, which can occur with Frenchies and other small breeds with a longer life expectancy (up to 12-13 years) compared to larger breeds. Free radical tissue damage can lead to a higher risk of cancer, heart problems, cataracts, and other issues as our pups age.
Now Fresh Small Breed Senior (Grain-Free)
A lesser-known brand, Now Fresh carries this highly nutritious formula crafted specifically for senior small-breed pups. And a vast majority of customers give it fantastic reviews. It has fewer calories than many adult small-breed foods and moderate levels of protein and fat to help less-active Frenchies maintain a healthy weight as they age.
Crafted by pet nutritionists, this grain-free recipe features real fresh de-boned turkey, salmon, and duck, as well as a whole egg for high-quality protein sources. It also includes more than a dozen whole fruits and veggies, including carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, blueberries, and more. All fresh ingredients are cooked only once at low temperatures to maintain nutritional value.
- First 5 ingredients: de-boned turkey, potatoes, peas, potato flour, and pea flour
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids, DHA & EPA (from real salmon), taurine, New Zealand green-lipped mussels, dried chicory root, probiotics, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 24% (min); crude fat 12% (min); crude fiber 5.5% (max)
- Calories: 375 kcal/cup
Nutro Natural Choice Small Breed Senior (Grain-Inclusive)
Another excellent choice for weight maintenance as your Frenchie ages, this Nutro recipe is made with all non-GMO ingredients, real chicken as the first ingredient, and easy-to-digest grains (no corn, wheat, or soy). It also contains dried pumpkin for healthy fiber and dried kale and spinach for natural vitamins. Many customers say the small kibble size is perfect for their aging seniors who have difficulty chewing.
- First 5 ingredients: chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, split peas, and brewers rice
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids (from fish oil), chia seeds, and glucosamine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 26% (min); crude fat 14% (min); crude fiber 4% (max)
- Calories: 320 kcal/cup
Merrick Lil’ Plates Senior Small Breed (Grain-Free)
This Merrick senior food for small breeds may be ideal if your Frenchie has a sensitive stomach or grain intolerance because it’s grain-free and contains high levels of probiotics. It’s also fortified with plenty of other ingredients that are important for older pups’ joint, heart, and skin health.
We love that it has a high-protein content but moderate calories and fat to maintain healthy muscles and provide your pup energy without gaining weight. Some customers said the kibble size was too small, but most said their dogs love this food.
- First 5 ingredients: deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, and sweet potatoes
- Formula highlights: omega fatty acids, DHA (from salmon meal and flaxseed), taurine, glucosamine, chondroitin, chicory root, probiotics, and L-carnitine
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 30% (min); crude fat 12% (min); crude fiber 3.5% (max)
- Calories: 388 kcal/cup
Best Dog Food For French Bulldogs With Allergies
Allergies and food intolerances are fairly common problems for Frenchies. If your pup suffers from chronic itchy skin, certain ingredients in her dog food or environmental allergens, such as dust mites or pollen, could be to blame. A limited-ingredient diet containing a novel protein (one she’s never eaten before) could help ease her skin troubles. You may also want to consider a dog allergy supplement, with your vet’s okay.
If you suspect your Frenchie has a food intolerance or is allergic to environmental factors, you may want to consider an at-home dog allergy test to uncover the source. All you have to do is send a saliva or hair sample to the company’s lab and get results within a few weeks. You can then share these results with your vet to help further narrow down possible causes.
Ollie Lamb Recipe (Grain-Inclusive)
Ollie is another of our favorite fresh dog food delivery services and is similar to The Farmer’s Dog (see review above). While this brand offers chicken, beef, and pork recipes, you may want to try their lamb formula if you suspect the other common proteins could be giving your Frenchie troubles. This is also their only grain-inclusive recipe.
Like the Farmer’s Dog, Ollie uses only human-grade, whole-food ingredients carefully chosen by animal nutritionists for optimal health in all life stages. They too, personalize your pup’s food based on her profile (age, gender, breed, weight, body shape, activity level, allergies, and other health issues). The limited ingredients plus fresh whole foods could be the answer to your furry friend’s allergy problems.
- First 5 ingredients: lamb, butternut squash, lamb liver, chickpeas, and kale
- Formula highlights: human-grade & whole-food ingredients, organ meat, omega fatty acids (from salmon oil), chia seeds, and taurine
- Guaranteed analysis (wet food basis): crude protein 10% (min); crude fat 7% (min); crude fiber 2% (max)
- Calories: 1804 kcal ME/kg (note: this isn’t kcal/cup like our other reviews)
- Starting at $2.50/day for small dogs, but varies based on each dog’s weight, age, and other factors (e.g., $58/week for mixed-breed male, one-year-old, 38 pounds, healthy size, neutered, no health problems, or allergies)
Our readers can get 50% off their first order. Use this link to take advantage of this offer (no discount code needed).
Canidae Pure Petite Adult Small Breed With Salmon (Grain-Free)
This grain-free, limited-ingredient formula by Canidae (made without corn, wheat, or soy) features real salmon as the only animal protein source which may help your pup if she’s experiencing allergy symptoms. And the high levels of omega fatty acids may help your Frenchie’s itchy, irritated skin.
This bite-sized kibble, which is coated with freeze-dried salmon, is a tasty and super nutritious mealtime treat for your adult Frenchie. However, it is higher in calories than many other options, so you’ll want to ensure that your furry friend isn’t gaining weight on this diet.
- First 5 ingredients: salmon, salmon meal, peas, lentils, tapioca
- Formula highlights: Limited ingredients, omega fatty acids (from real salmon and flaxseed), and probiotics
- Guaranteed analysis: crude protein 24% (min); crude fat 12.5% (min); crude fiber 4% (max)
- Calories: 525 kcal/cup
Should I Consider Pet Insurance For My Frenchie?
Because French Bulldogs have the potential to develop an inordinately high number of health problems throughout their lives, you may want to plan ahead for expensive veterinary bills. One of the wisest choices you can make to protect your finances and your pup’s health is to sign your pup up for pet insurance.
It’s best to get your dog covered as early as possible before problems arise because pet insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Learn how pet insurance works and if it’s worth it for your furry family member. If you’re already familiar with it, be sure to see our reviews of the best pet insurance companies.
Tagged With: Comparison, Food Delivery
This article was originally published by Caninejournal.com. Read the original article here.