Bulldogs And French Bulldogs Grain-Free Diets

By: Dr. Roy Kraemer |
DVM, Bulldog Specialist Veterinarian

Bulldogs and French bulldogs grain-free diets myth and facts expert advice courtesy of Dr. Kremer […]

While bulldogs belong to the Carnivora order, they exhibit omnivorous feeding habits and can thrive on either a vegetarian diet or one rich in meat. Unlike cats, bulldogs are not obligate carnivores, and exclusively relying on a meat-only diet may lead to significant deficiencies, necessitating supplementation with essential minerals and vitamins.

However, bulldogs do not have specific carbohydrate intake requirements, except for pregnant and lactating individuals.

Despite common misconceptions, carbohydrates play a vital role in their diet, as bulldogs possess anatomical and physiological characteristics that enable the digestion and utilization of a diverse range of nutrients from both plant and animal sources.

  • Over time, bulldogs have developed increased dietary flexibility 
  • They require specific nutrients, primarily found in animal products.
  • Genetic adaptations have allowed them to digest a wider range of foods, enabling them to thrive on mixed diets that include plant-based foods.
  • Recognizing your bulldog’s evolutionary history and digestive needs is vital for ensuring balanced and suitable nutrition.

Bulldog Grain Mixed Diets

Grains are dry seeds harvested from flowering plants such as

  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Wheat
  • Barley

Erroneously, many bulldog and French bulldog owners equate grain-free with carbohydrate-free. In reality, “grain-free diets” simply replace the grain with other carbohydrate sources like potatoes and legumes, such as:

  • Green peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils.

Grain-Free Bulldog Diets and PREBIOTICS:

Grains serve as prebiotics, intricate carbohydrates that nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome.

These “good” probiotic bacteria play a vital role in digestion, immune function, and overall health. 

Bulldogs Probiotics Grain-Free Diet Bundle - Essential

Grain-Free Bulldog Diets and ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS:

Grains serve as excellent sources of vitamins and minerals essential for the health of our bulldogs.

Examples are:

  • B vitamins
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Protein
  • Iron
  • Lysine. 
  • Fiber,
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus

Grain-Free Diets and SUSTAINABLE ENERGY:

The complex carbohydrates present in grains offer sustained energy. Unlike simple sugars that cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, grains release energy gradually, aiding your furry friend in maintaining consistent energy levels throughout the day.

Grain-Free Diets and DIGESTIVE HEALTH:

Contrary to common belief, most dogs, including bulldogs and French bulldogs, can easily digest properly cooked whole grains.

The fiber content in certain grains can contribute to digestion and help prevent constipation.

Botanical fiber therapeutic supplement for bulldogs

Grain-Free Bulldog Diets and WEIGHT MANAGEMENT:

Whole grains generally have a lower calorie and fat content compared to other carbohydrate sources like potatoes or legumes. This can be advantageous for bulldogs, who are prone to weight gain and its associated health issues.

To learn more, click HERE

Bulldogs Grain-Free Diets HEART DISEASE WARNING:

There is a new alert from the FDA (July 2019) showing a possible link between grain-free diets and canine cardiomyopathy (a heart disease that can lead to congestive heart failure).

“In the cardiomyopathy cases where the dogs ate only a single primary diet and did not eat multiple foods, excluding treats, 90% reported feeding a grain-free food.”

Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Grain-Free Diets Cardiomyopthy Risks
Grain-Free Diets and Cardiomyopathy
The release states there appears to be an association between Grain-Free diets and the development of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).”

Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Grain-Free Diets MYTH

The popularity of grain-free diets among bulldog owners has grown, mainly driven by the erroneous belief that grains may be harmful to their pet’s health and the perceived link between grain-containing diets and allergies.


Many bulldog owners consider grains the leading cause of food allergies, hence the rising popularity of grain-free diets.


Protein sources overwhelmingly stand out as the most common allergens for bulldogs and French bulldogs.

Grains rarely trigger allergies in bulldogs. Proteins, not grains (carbohydrates) are the most common source of bulldog food allergy


Although uncommon, some bulldogs and French bulldogs may experience grain allergies. If you suspect your dog has a grain allergy, it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and dietary recommendations.


For dogs with confirmed grain allergies, grain-free diets formulated with alternative carbohydrate sources like potatoes or legumes can be suitable.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that these diets provide all the necessary nutrients, especially taurine, which is essential for your bulldog’s heart muscle. 


An elimination diet trial test under veterinary guidance is the best method to diagnose a specific food allergy, including one potentially caused by grains.


  • Dermatitis Due to Bulldog Food Allergy: If the allergy is skin-related, you should run the trial for 8–10 weeks
  • Food allergy, gastroenteritis: if it’s gastrointestinal-related, two weeks are usually enough.

Dr. R. J. Kraemer:

With a specialization in Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and other Brachycephalic breeds, Dr. Kraemer has dedicated his career to educating the bulldog community about the breed’s unique medical and surgical requirements. These encompass preventive care and wellness, customized anesthesia, and employing a multimodal approach to address their unique medical conditions.

Some of the breed-specific medical issues he focuses on include.

  • Airway obstructive disease
  • Orthopedics, disc and back
  • Ear canal disease
  • Skin and allergies
  • Skinfold moist dermatitis
  • Eyes and eyelid abnormalities
  • Pain and stress control
  • Dietary, digestion, and supplementation

Dr. Kraemer is also a leading provider of cutting-edge regenerative and alternative medicine, for services such as stem cell therapy, laser, and PRP.

Additionally, he maintains a longstanding relationship with Bulldog Rescue, contributing funds and providing shelter, medical, and surgical expertise.


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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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