Last updated on 2/11/17
“What kind of food should I give to my Bulldog?” It’s definitely one of the most prevalent questions being asked in the world of Bulldogs. Most never would have thought it was even a big deal until their Bulldogs’ began developing rashes, dry/itchy skin, chronic ear infections and excessive hair-loss and flatulence etc. There’s a good chance you’re reading this page because you too have suddenly found your bully’s food just isn’t working anymore.
Well, these are all excellent reasons to examine the food your feeding your bully, but there are even bigger issues at hand.
Use These Links Below to Zoom to the Results!
- See Our 3 Picks For Best Bulldog Food
- For Bulldogs With Allergies
- Puppy Formula
- Best Overweight Bulldog Food Formula
- Top 3 Treats For Bulldogs
Recently, I was floored to learn that 50% of k-9s are dying of cancer and 1 in every 4 dogs will develop a tumor in their lifetime.
Facts like these can leave us worried sick about our Bulldogs! 1 in every 4 dogs will have a tumor!! My anxiety is having anxiety! Oh to think, the kind of health problems we could be inflicting on our beloved pet with every new bowl of kibble!
Whatever the reason, you’re looking for the best available dog food for your bulldog and so am I.
In this article we’ll outline the benefits of supplying our bulldogs with a healthy and nutritious dog food. You’ll learn a few ingredients that should never enter your bully’s mouth.
Finally, you’ll get an inside look at a few of our favorite brands and the ones recommended by pet food specialists. In all my research I’m going to critically analyze the food we give to our own Bulldogs and I hope you will too. We currently give our Bullies Diamond Naturals.
Comment below the brand of dog food you give to your Bulldog and Why!
Does Having a Good Dog Food Really Matter?
Surely, there’s a whole slew of reasons why a pet owner would want to lavish upon their Bulldog the best food possible with the most considerable reason being the health of their pet. A good dog food plays an extremely important role in many facets of every dog’s health. Your bulldog’s diet will affect his muscle tone and energy, joint strength, coat and skin health, digestive wellness and even the ability to fight off and prevent sickness.
Does your Bully shed a lot? Does he often have loose stool? It could be the food.
Coconut Oil For Bulldogs? YES!!
Serving a quality food to your Bulldog can ensure your family enjoys the privilege of hearing him pleasantly snoring and passing gas while you all gather in front of the boob tube years from now. I’ve no doubt anyone who wasn’t already convinced of the gravity of this topic, suddenly has been made well aware. Oh wait a minute….we’re trying to get rid of the flatulence, not keep it. Actually, there have been certain weirdos out there in the Bulldog community that have told me they(clears throat) enjoy hearing and smelling their Bulldog’s farts. That’s another story…lol
So how do you know which dog food is the real deal?
We all know the most popular dog food brands. These include Purina, Iams, Pedigree, and Kibbles and Bits. Seriously though, most popular doesn’t necessarily mean best. These brands are all the most well-known brands on the scene, but only because they are also the brands that spend the most on fancy shmancy advertising and cute commercials.
There are hundreds of dog food brands out there, and nearly every single one has a gimmick to try and help them sell their product to pet owners. One television commercial even narrates the adaptation of dogs from their ancestors and how they used to hunt for real meat. (Though I don’t think ol’ Tank could catch a caribou by himself) All of these strategies try to draw attention away from what you’re buying: dog food.
So how do you narrow down the field to only the healthiest and most beneficial dog foods? Read On.
You may say, “What about the brand with the picture of a beautiful Bulldog on it?” It’s totally understandable a person with an English Bulldog would consider that food to be most fitting for their Bully. Let me just say, if the test of a good dog food was to pick the one with your favorite dog breed on the bag we’d have a sure winner, but this is merely another dead end. Whether or not your dog’s picture is on the bag should never be a determining factor in finding the best dog food; you know this.
Royal Canin comes to mind. Sorry to be “that guy”, but did you know Royal Canin Bulldog first few ingredients are:
- Brewers Rice -Rice is a quality grain, but the most prevalent ingredient in dog food should be meat.
- Chicken By -Product Meal -These are inedible pieces left over from animal processing like, feet, spleen, stomach, brain, and intestines.
- Brown Rice -More grain. Remember the Wendy’s commercial? “Where’s The Beef?”
- Wheat Gluten -Gluten is sort of a grain by-product. It’s what you get when the good stuff has been stripped. See what DogFoodAdvisor.Com has to say about this “protein imposter.”
[blockquote cite=”Bulldog Enthusiast, Mitch Haynes”]I’m glad you laid Royal Canin to rest. Thank you for that. Just because it has a happy bulldog on the front, and it is expensive, does NOT mean it is good food!!!
The same with Science Diet. Unfortunately our vet carries it exclusively, and recommends It. When I looked at the ingredients, I knew then that they were paid to carry it. Unfortunate.[/blockquote]
Lot’s of people think, “I’ll just play it safe and buy the super expensive brand, that way I know I’m getting the best food.” This reminds me of a time my younger brother, a huge Cleveland Browns fan, showed me his prized Jim Brown trading card.
This card was autographed by the Hall of Fame Running Back and flawless! Clearly, the autograph was a fake, the signature was only a copy, but my little brother steadfastly proclaimed, ” No, it’s definitely real, I paid a lot of money for this card!”
So you see, just because something costs a lot of money…. does not mean it’s the best. This is true with dog food!
Decipher the Ingredients.
Ever Consider the BARF Diet?
When choosing a dog food provider you’ve absolutely got to get a good look “under the hood”. Every used car salesman’s desire is that their perspective customers become mesmerized by the shiny clear coat finish or the well kept interior while totally neglecting their duty to check out the most important thing. The: engine compartment! Like the used car salesman, disingenuous dog food manufacturers aim to win your business based on outside appearances and empty phrases like, “made with real, meaty bits.” What in the world is a “meaty bit” anyway?
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It’s not science. No college degree needed here. Just take a quick gander at the small square on the back of every bag of dog food before you make your purchase. This is the “engine compartment” I referred to. It’s here we get to see what’s really been put into the bag. It tells dog owners exactly what went into the pouch before the picture of the smiling Bulldog was stamped on the front. Just because he’s smiling doesn’t mean the food was good. He got paid to be the happy face on that bag.
I chose to use the word “decipher” above because lots of times the big dog food companies like to be a bit deceptive. Ever heard of “ingredient splitting”? Splitting is basically the manufacturer’s practice of playing musical chairs with the bag’s list of ingredients in order to make you believe a desirable additive like whole chicken breast is more prevalent in the food than a far less desirable one like corn or wheat.
Here’s an Example on Ingredient Splitting:
Let’s say a certain dog food contains 20% Corn as the first ingredient and 15% Lamb as the second. Any dishonest dog food producer may lawfully divide or “split” the corn additive into two parts on the list; corn meal and corn flour. Voila, the Lamb(15%) can now move up to the top element on the list of ingredients followed by corn meal, now 10% and corn flour, 10%. There is still more corn in this bag of dog food than Lamb and many times the consumer is none the wiser! This is a common practice among dog food manufacturers.
Ever wonder just how prevalent a named ingredient such as chicken actually is in the food you’re buying? Here’s another way in which the manufacturers can cheat their way to a sale using clever wording and still abiding by the rules. If on the front of a bag of dog food it says, “chicken and rice,” it lawfully must contain at least 26% chicken. “Rich in chicken”- it must contain a minimum of 14% chicken. If it says, “made with chicken,” it needs only 4% chicken and if it says, “chicken flavor,” it can contain 0% chicken. These facts are astounding!
Run From These Dog Food Ingredients…..RUN!
With so many ingredients in each bag of dog food, which ones should we steer clear of? Harmful ingredients most commonly found in dog food include corn, wheat, soybean meal/soy flour, grain fractions and flours, nut/grain/bean hulls, and synthetic preservatives. Corn often times makes up as much as 70% of a low quality dog food and holds very little nutritional sustenance.
Don’t allow your Bulldog to eat food with generic meat sources, digests, by-products, meat and bone meals. Generic meat sources are any meat ingredients that don’t specifically name which animal has been put into the food. You don’t want your dog eating squirrels right? (Other than the ones they catch for fun anyway) Can you believe it! Our Bulldog, Lily, actually caught a squirrel once. Try to imagine a Non-Sporting Bulldog…running quick enough to catch a lighting fast squirrel!! We’re pretty sure the squirrel saw the Bulldog up close and just flat out died of a heart attack -Little side story for ya.
Some other ingredients to look out for are lard, tallow, and other low-quality fat sources. While these ingredients are extremely tasty to dogs, they offer nearly nothing beneficial in regards to a healthy diet . Gluten is another ingredient you don’t want in your dog food if it can be avoided. Gluten is basically leftover material from human food production. It’s difficult to digest for dogs, which is why it is something to look out for. Heavy sugars, sweeteners, colors, and dyes are all ingredients that aren’t necessary in dog foods and are usually only added to enhance taste or appearance; some dyes can even cause allergic reactions. This is just not necessary in our Bulldogs’ food!
Tip: Remember to Always Wash Your Hands After Handling Dry or Raw Dog Food to Avoid salmonella Contamination to yourself or family members.
3 Best Foods for Bulldogs
The search for the best food for English Bulldogs has not been an easy one! Over the coarse of a 3 months we’ve purchased and introduced different foods to our bullies including, Wellness Core, Taste of The Wild, Castor and Pollux Organix and Merrick. Obviously, we could never test each and every brand, but we did carefully scrutinize many of the 4-5 star foods and their manufacturer.
I also made a point to try and pick three foods of varying price ranges. This because I understand there are those of us who don’t care about the money as long as the food is tops and still others who want the best food at the lowest possible price. You’ll notice each of these recommendations are easily accessible on popular websites and in box stores too.
Merrick Back Country Raw Infused
This has got to be the most fun food we tried with our bullies! I should have recorded our Bulldog, D.C. while eating this because it was hilarious watching him pick out the soft, larger pieces of freeze dried raw bits he found on the top of the kibble. I can only imagine how he enjoyed the different texture, feel and taste of those cubed bits of meat! This stuff is like the doggie version of Lucky Charms cereal!
Back Country is probably as close as you can get to a raw diet while still enjoying the convenience of pouring it straight out of the bag. How many brands can you think of that offer whole pieces of freeze dried meat in them!
This food is heavy laden with omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. As stated before, these omegas are so helpful when it comes to keeping a Bulldog’s coat and skin healthy.
Just listen to these ingredients! Deboned beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Sweet Potatoes! What do you know about lamb and fish meal? When I first began researching dog foods I thought less of proteins with the word “meal” after them. Eventually, I found that a protein like whole chicken breast contained far less protein than chicken that had been processed into a “meal.” Most foods we’ve reviewed include just one named protein in their long list of ingredients. Back Country has listed three awesome meats right off the bat making this a top-notch dog food!
So much good stuff in this bag! Back Country is loaded with glucosamine and chondroitin which we all know is just awesome for our heavy Bulldogs and their need for healthy joints.The addition of salmon oil can’t be overlooked.
One other great addition to this food that I think really sets it apart are the ingredients at the bottom of the list. You know, the ones that are impossible to pronounce. Here’s one of them: Enterococcus faecium. This is a living bacteria added to the food for the purpose of bolstering your Bulldog’s digestive health and over-all health in general, actually. This bacteria is naturally found in a healthy dog so it’s inclusion is nothing to worry over. Basically, this is a probiotic and there are plenty of them listed in the ingredients. The Enterococcus serves in this food as an aid to digestion as well.
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Merrick is produced in Texas and the company is a stalwart in quality products and customer satisfaction. I like that there are more than a few different recipes of this Back Country Raw available so that a person can switch between them allowing their Bulldog a change in taste from time to time.
Wellness Core Grain Free
For our review of Wellness, we chose to use the Turkey and Chicken formula. Right away, I appreciated the tough plastic bag with the resealable zip top. All brands should do this with their bags! This one detail allows the user to keep the food in the bag after opening instead of being forced to transfer the kibble to a plastic container. The resealable bag holds in the freshness all on it’s own.
Of course, this food, like all the others in our trial is grain, corn and soy free. The first five ingredients are deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas and potatoes. This is a nutrient rich food including antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosomine and probiotics.
Some ingredients or details that really make this food stand out are ground flax seed, chicory root and that it’s mineral ingredients are chelated. Let me explain.
“Chelated” means the minerals have been chemically attached to protein in production thus rendering them far easier to absorb by the dog. Many of the lower end dog foods include minerals that are eliminated without much benefit to the dog because they have not been chelated.
Chicory root has been added to this food in order to aid in the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal system. Chicory helps create a robust G.I. system primarily through the use of it’s own inulin. Inulin, is a excellent at producing prebiotics which then promote the growth of helpful bacteria.
Flax seed is an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids and is a heck of a lot easier to absorb after it’s first been ground. These fatty acids help give a Bulldog a shiny coat.
Taste of The Wild
Let me explain why TOTW, an American Made product, is an excellent food for your bully!
I love the direction TOTW has taken with it’s food! The first 5 ingredients included are bison, lamb meal, chicken meal, egg product(supports a healthy coat) and sweet potatoes. It’s quality ingredients like these that make a clear statement about this dog food manufacturer’s main objective.
What is TOFTW’s goal? It’s right there in their slogan, Your Dog Craves a Taste of The Wild…Go Ahead and Give Him One! It’s perfect! They’ve cut out all the non-essential additives, chemicals and controversial fillers leaving only the finest components for an above average dog food.
Taste of The Wild is grain, corn, wheat and soy free. I was pleased to see the inclusion of Salmon oil, a naturally rich omega-3 fatty acid which encourages a healthy coat and skin.
Again, like with Wellness Core, we see the inclusion of “Chelated Minerals.” Previously discussed above, it was noted chelated minerals are a particular type ingredient typically found only in higher quality foods. You’ll see it listed as an ingredient in each bag of TOTW.
Chelated minerals are minerals like calcium, copper, zinc and iron that have been made up to 15% easier to absorb thanks to their being chemically combined with amino acid. This means the necessary minerals every dog needs to thrive can now be absorbed and used by the body rather than being thrown out as waste.
We picked TOTW not only because of it’s superior food quality and it’s a great choice no matter what stage of life your Bulldog is in. It’s filled with amino acids, fruits and vegetables and antioxidants.
To put it simply, I always say Taste of The Wild is a 5 star dog food at a 4 star price. There is no other dog food in it’s price range that compares.
[blockquote cite=”Taste of the Wild User”]I buy this for my two Bulldogs, Dozer + Dotty. I mix in a can of wet totw food twice a week as a treat. My English Bulldogs have always had severe allergies and skin problems that seemed to get out of control with other foods. It’s been 1 year now and I’ve noticed an improvement with both my bullies since switching. Through Amazon it’s cheaper than anywhere else, I get free shipping and I don’t have to go to the store carrying 30lb bags all over the place!![/blockquote]
Store Bought Foods Just Not Working for Your Bulldog? Consider the BARF Diet!
Taste of The Wild is one of the more favorable products we’ve found in our research that’s received commendations by veterinarians and their faithful customers alike. So how can Taste of The Wild’s manufacturer produce such high quality dog food in comparison to their snidely competitors? Maybe they see the value in spending less money on cheesy advertisements and more on wholesome products?
Best Food For Bulldog Puppies
We recommend you use a puppy formula dog food like Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula with Bison and Roasted Venison until your Bulldog has become fully grown. This is usually about 12-14 months for females and 14-16 months for males. Why? So many reasons. Simply put, puppy foods contain a higher amount of calories and protein to assist growing puppies in achieving maximum size and health as he approaches adulthood. The kibble is smaller as well so it’s not as tough to chew and swallow.
Taste of the Wild is also wildly beneficial to a Bulldog puppy’s GI tract because of the inclusion of pro-biotics in the food. They say that 70% of a dog’s immune system is in the GI tract so having a healthy intestine is so important for our young bullies. Especially with young puppies ages 6-16wks receiving anti-biotic treatments from the vet, loose and runny stools can be a problem until healthy bacteria can again propagate the digestive system. Young puppies also have the added stress of transitioning to a new home.
It’s just as important you make the switch from puppy formula to adult when necessary as these higher concentrations of calories can lead to an adult dog becoming over-weight.
Tip: For puppies 8 weeks – 16 weeks of age you might prepare the kibble by first adding just a bit of water over the top. This will allow the kibble to soften up and be easier to chew and digest.
Food For Bulldogs With Allergies
About 10-20% of Bulldogs will suffer from food allergies, while seasonal allergies to grass, weed or tree pollen and bug bites are the source of most other allergic reactions. Excessive licking, biting, gnawing and scratching of the paws, legs, belly and face are common side-effects to seasonal allergies. Symptoms brought on by food allergies can appear similar, but are almost always coupled with more frequent, softer bowel movements and chronic yeast infections in the ears and on the skin.
Food or Contact Allergy
Ask yourself whether your Bulldog’s symptoms are always present, or if they come and go. Is your bully truly experiencing food allergies or allergies caused by coming in contact with something environmental? Plastics, carpet fibers, household chemicals like carpet cleaner or softener sheets, bug bites and pollen are all seasonal or temporary. For instance, a Bulldog with a seasonal allergy to ragweed pollen might be feeling itchy every Fall season. This could be called a “contact allergy” because it’s been caused by something the dog has come into physical contact with, not from eating his food.
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This sort of allergy cannot necessarily be remedied with any special food, but there are methods of control that can help. A cool bath with a medicated shampoo, a steroid injection from your vet, the use of hydrocortisone, or a simple dose of Benadryl (1mg/lb/8hrs) may help to sooth your Bulldog’s seasonal allergies.
True Food Allergies
If you think your bully is allergic to something in his food you’ll need to identify which ingredients are causing all the trouble. Soy, grains, wheat, corn and dairy are the most common offenders. Some Bulldogs can even be allergic to proteins like chicken and beef. There are blood and skin tests your veterinarian can do. These tests aren’t extremely accurate, but still can be helpful at pointing a person in the right direction. Possibly a more proven method is the process of elimination or trial diet.
Try a limited ingredient food containing none of the above listed ingredients. It should be something simple. This can be done with store bought kibble or by implementing the Bulldog Specific BARF diet, or raw food diet. The BARF diet demands more effort due to the fact you must prepare the food yourself, but it is easier in that you can precisely control the ingredients going into your bully’s bowl allowing you to accurately pin-point those foods his body disagrees with.
Best Food For Allergies
This Zignature Grain Free Trout formula is what I would recommend. I love the simplicity of this food. I’ve scarcely heard of a Bulldog that’s allergic to salmon or trout which are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Sunflower oil and flaxseed are also named among the ingredients and they are fatty acid powerhouses!
Flaxseed is thought to be the #1 source for omega-3s! What’s the big deal about fatty acids? Well, scientists believe that fatty acids play a big role in slowing down the growth of yeast infections like the ones our bullies so often get in their ears and on the skin. Fatty acids are also thought to prevent allergic reactions to airborne pollens.
See how your bully does on the new food you’ve chosen. Symptoms from food allergies can take up to 8 weeks to subside so be patient. Once you’ve found a food that’s successful in curbing the symptoms of his food allergies you may add a new ingredient to your Bulldog’s kibble. If say, after adding rice back into the food, your Bulldog breaks out with a rash on his legs, paws and face, you would then be sure he is allergic to rice.
Best Reduced Fat/Low Calorie Formula Bulldogs
Do you suspect your English Bulldog is a bit “chunky” these days? The average weight for a male Bulldog is 50-65lbs. and 45-55lbs. for females. If you’ve got a 7o pound male Bulldog it doesn’t necessarily mean your boy’s over-weight; he may just have a larger frame.
Obesity is very rarely a problem for Bulldogs 2 years and younger, but very common for those over 4 years of age. This probably because of their natural Bulldog ability to lay around for days totally content. Also, just like us humans, a Bulldog becomes less active as he ages. Compare the non-stop energy your Bulldog had as he was a puppy to the increasing amount of time he spends lying on the couch today. He’s consuming the same or more amount of calories he always has, but in his older age he’s become half as active.
Remember to exercise your bully at least 15 min. a day whether he wants to or not. Table scraps should be kept to a minimum. Dog treats can be high in fat too and their ingredients should be just as carefully scrutinized as your Bulldog’s main food choice.
Sometimes even when you’ve been doing everything else right, environmental or genetic circumstances can make a Bulldog heavy. In this case, you can gain a lot of ground by cutting down on the calorie/fat intake your Bulldog is getting every day from his kibble.
The most commonly prescribed dog food for over-weight dogs is Purina Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management, but many of the ingredients included in this food (wheat, corn, soy, animal by-products) are sub-par to say the least. I would encourage you not to take your vet’s word for it on this one.
Instead, go for a specialized weight management food like Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free, Reduced Fat Recipe. It’s a 5 star food that’s got everything we recommend in this article for giving your bully a healthy diet and 25- 50% less fat than regular food. Unlike popular veterinarian prescribed weight management kibble, Wellness doesn’t include any harmful ingredients like wheat, corn, soy and by-products.
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The Final Word
Keep in mind that all dogs are different and may need special ingredients. Some dog food brands carry special diet dog foods that cater to the needs of every animal. There are different recipes that consider weight-loss, allergies, and individual diet options to allow the best selection for any pet. If your Bulldog is having digestive or health issues, his diet could be a factor. Make sure to let your veterinarian know your Bully’s diet and the ingredients in their food. They’ll be able to help you select the correct meal plan for your pet to make sure they get the necessary nutritional value.
Tip: When changing a Bulldog’s diet it’s not recommended you switch his food all at once. This can cause diarrhea, gas, unsettled stomach etc. Instead, gradually change his food over a span of 7-10 days to ensure your bully’s digestive system can keep up with the change. Just mix in small amounts to begin and larger amounts as you near the 5 day mark.
So, like I said, I decided I had better analyze the food (Diamond Naturals , Chicken and Rice ) we give to our Bulldogs. Clearly it’s not the best dog food available, but I want to make sure I’m at least giving a food with quality ingredients like some of the a fore mentioned. Here’s what I found.
According to DogFoodAdvisor.Com, there are some “controversial” fillers like beat pulp. I also read that although the grains in the food are high quality grains, two of them are forms of rice. I’m a victim of “splitting!” There apparently is concern that when the two forms of rice are combined, they would outweigh the first meat ingredient. This makes it likely that the meat content is low on our brand of dog food.
The good news is that we knew most dog foods are low in total protein content. To make up for this we’ve been supplementing our Bulldogs’ diets with cooked chicken breast. We’re also considering switching to the grain free version of this food.
What food do you trust and how does it stack up to other brands on the market?