Grain Free Diet Bulldogs And French Bulldogs

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

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are very popular among bulldog owners. In our day and age, due to overwhelming, accessible. instant, unfiltered, online content,  looking at a food bag label is a challenge.

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs MYTH or FACTS  

  1. Bulldog Grain-Free Diet COST $: Are bulldog grain-free diets worth the extra money?
  2. Bulldog Grain-Free Diet BETTER: Are bulldog grain-free diets superior to other diets?
  3. Bulldog Grain-Free Diet HYPOALLERGENIC: Are bulldog grain-free diets hypoallergenic (do they prevent food allergies)?
  4. Bulldog Grain-Free Diet CARBO-FREE: Are bulldogs on grain-free diets free from carbohydrates?
  5. Bulldog Grain-Free Diet SAFER: Are bulldog grain-free diets safer and healthier than other diets?

“BULLDOGS CAN NOT DIGEST GRAIN” MYTH or FACT

GRAIN-FREE MYTH: Bulldogs CAN NOT Digest Grain Bulldog 

GRAIN FREE MYTH BUSTER #: YES, they can! During the domestication evolution, dogs genetically evolved as we humans did from being predominantly meat carnivore protein eaters to the present mixed-diet omnivore.

Humans and dogs became better suited to digesting grain, fruit, vegetables, and other starch.

Over thousands of years of domestication, your bulldog and French bulldog digestive tracts have evolved and now possess the digestive tools to deal with a variety of grains.

“BULLDOG GRAIN FREE DIET = CARBOHYDRATE FREE” MYTH or FACT

GRAIN-FREE MYTH: Grains-Free diets eliminate carbohydrates:

GRAIN-FREE MYTH BUSTER: Grains are dry seeds harvested from flowering plants, Examples include:

  • RICE
  • CORN
  • OATS
  • QUINOA
  • WHEAT
  • BARLEY

Some of my bulldogs and French bulldog owners choose to feed their pets a grain-free diet due to the erroneous notion that dogs’ diets should be limited to meat and carbohydrate-free.

FACT: In reality, those “Grain-Free” diets simply replace the grain with other carbohydrate sources like:

  • POTATOES
  • LEGUMES
  • GREEN PEAS
  • CHICKPEAS
  • LENTILS

“GRAINS ARE BAD FOR MY ENGLISH BULLDOG” MYTH or FACT:

GRAIN-FREE MYTH: Grains are Bad for Bulldogs:

In contrast to this erroneous popular belief among bulldog and French bulldog owners, there are many nutritional benefits to grain portions in your dog food.

Grains are Bad for Bulldogs FACT:

Grains stimulate the growth of beneficial, “good” gastrointestinal bacteria (i.e., probiotics).

Many of  grains provide your bulldog puppy essential vitamins & minerals.

The latest research has shown compelling evidence to the benefits of grains and their importance to the general health of your bulldog puppy.

“GRAIN LEADS TO FRENCH BULLDOG ALLERGIES” MYTH:

GRAIN-FREE MYTH: Grain Leads to Bulldog Allergy

GRAIN-FREE MYTH BUSTER: Contrary to common belief, food allergies are NOT derived from carbohydrates but rather from the meat/protein portion of your bulldog meal (i.e., animal sources like chicken, beef, fish, lamb, etc.).

Grain Leads to Bulldog Allergy FACT:

Proteins NOT grain is usually the cause of bulldog food allergy.

Grains are mostly carbohydrates, but if it turns out that your bulldog is allergic to grains, the treatment should happen under the care of your veterinarian, who will conduct a proper dietary elimination trial. 

For more about this topic see my “bulldogs and food allergy” article

“GRAIN-FREE BULLDOG DIEST ARE SUPERIOR” MYTH or FACT: 

GRAIN-FREE MYTH: Grain-Free diets are superior

GRAIN-FREE MYTH BUSTER:There is no scientific evidence that bulldog grain-free diets are superior to other common diets.

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

CARDIOMYOPATHY ASSOCIATION WITH BULLDOG GRAIN-FREE DIETS

Recently (July 2019), an FDA news alert was published stating that there is a likely link between Grain Free diets and canine cardiomyopathy (heart disease that can lead to congestive heart failure).

In the cases where the dogs ate only a single primary diet and did not eat multiple foods, excluding treats, 90 percent reported feeding a GRAIN-FREE food, the release states there appears to be an association with GRAIN-FREE diets and the development of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).”

Upon investigation of all of the diets associated with both the taurine deficient and non-taurine deficient forms of DCM, a few key associations were apparent. Many dogs were being fed some variety of boutique (small manufacturer), exotic ingredients (non-traditional protein sources), or grain-free diets. These findings make up the basis of recommendations that have come from each study group and now the FDA.”

English Bulldog Grain Free Diet and heart disease

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS

GRAIN-FREE DIET IN FRENCH BULLDOG TIPS:

V4B bulldog multivitamin plus Handout - French Bulldog

Supplementing Homemade, Grain-Free, and Raw Diets

Tip #1 “PROTEINS”: Protein is the most important ingredient in your bulldog puppy diet.

Proteins from animal sources, rather than from grain sources are the most complete, easily digested, and deliver the best biological value.

Tip #2 “MANUFACTURE”: Whether a diet contains grains or not, it’s important that you buy your bulldog food from a reputable company with experienced pet food formulators.

Ignore the sexy grain-free diet package and hyped language. Your focus should be on the manufacture.

Tip #3 “WHOLE FOOD”: Whole food meals are better than processed. Your own physician does not advocate that you regularly eat highly processed foods, the same should apply when looking for the best food for your bulldog.

Tip #4 “WHOLE GRAIN”: Whole, fresh, organic, unprocessed ground grains such as rice, oats, barley, millet, and alternatives such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, etc. retain more of their nutrients and are better than processed and engineered diets.

Tip #5 “HUMAN GRADED DIET”: Human-grade pet diets are likely to be better regulated than animal-grade pet diets.

Tip #7 “LABEL”: Reading pet food labels and brochures is not easy, even for a professional, so assessing the quality of the ingredients based on the label is usually inadequate.

Tip #8 “PEER REVIEWS”: I typically recommend using one of the more known, trusted dog food manufacturers, like those who publish scientific studies in veterinary journals and make presentations in veterinary medical meetings.

When choosing your bulldog diet ahere to our “DO NO HARM” rule. 

Tip #9 MORE Vs. LESS: Not all bulldogs are the same. Some might do better with more grain, while others might benefit from a reduced-grain diet.

Tip #10 “TRAIL DURATION”: If you believe that your bulldog puppy allergies are due to grains, then your grain-free dietary trial should last at least ten weeks and then be challenged by a non-grain diet, ideally from the same brand with only the grain being the difference.

Grain-Free and Bulldog Food Allergy Trials

FOOD ALLERGY LEADING TO BULLDOG ATOPIC DERMATITIS: 

8-10 weeks trial on a prescription elimination hypoallergenic diet is the gold standard, rather than grain-free diets.

FOOD ALLERGY LEADING TO BULLDOG GASTROENTERITIS:

3-4 weeks trial on a prescription elimination hypoallergenic diet is the gold standard, rather than grain-free diets.

To find out more about food allergies and hypoallergenic diets, CLICK HERE

Tip #11 “POISONOUS FOODS”: Offering fresh, organic, unprocessed fruits and vegetables to your bully is great; remember to avoid onions and grapes (raisins). If you are unsure whether a certain food is safe for your bulldog to eat, speak to your veterinarian.

Tip #12 “GRAIN”: Some grain is often better than no grain.

GRAIN-FREE DIET IN FRENCH BULLDOG WARNINGS:

Warning #1 HYPE: I don’t recommend you choose your bulldog and French bulldog puppy diet based on the advertised and often hyped-up add-on supplements. These are more of a marketing ploy than real science and fact-based. The most popularly advertised supplements on food bag labels are fish oil (omega 3 and 6), glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and probiotics.

As a rule, there is not enough of the active ingredient in pure bioavailable dosage to therapeutically impact a medical condition in these diet’s daily feeding recommendations.

When medically indicated I recommend supplements to be given separately as a standalone treatment.

Warning #2 GRAIN Vs. PROTEIN: Grain should count for less than one-third of your bulldog’s whole diet, the other 2/3 should be in the form of meat-animal-protein, fruit, and vegetables.

Warning#3 LOW-GRADE Vs. HIGH GRADE: Most commercial diets offer lower quality feed than human well-regulated (USDA)-grade pet diets.

Warning #4 IMMUNE MEDICATED: Lower-grade diets have a higher risk for unwanted adverse effects such as allergies and immune-mediated diseases like IBD, due to a higher possibility of unwholesome elements, and contaminants.

Warning #5 GLUTEN: Some bulldogs and French bulldog puppies should avoid high-gluten grains (rye, oats, barley, and wheat), in favor of low-gluten grains (quinoa, milo, rice, and millet)

Warning #6 CONTAMINATE: Remember that food allergies related to grain and meat might not be a direct allergy to that source but rather to an undetected contaminant or a tainted portion within that grain or meat.

Warning #9 FOOD COLOR: Bulldogs and French bulldog puppies don’t care what color their food is. Usually, the dye in various diets is designed to lure the buyer as a marketing gimmick. Worse, it might hide evidence that could clue you in to the poor quality of the food.

PROTEIN SOURCE #9: I don’t recommend diets with a large portion of their protein derived from a grain source. Its bioavailability which is your bulldog’s ability to utilize that protein is marginal.

Warning #10 OBESITY: Too much grain will increase the chance of your bulldog becoming overweight.

Obesity is a major contributor to your bulldog and French Bulldog’s poor health and marginal quality of life.

Warning #11 QUALITY Vs. QUANTITY: Poor quality protein is a bigger problem than “too much protein,”  even for bulldogs with kidney disease.

Your bulldog diatery emphasis should be on good, high quality, proteins.

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs Diet DCM 

If your bulldog suffers from a medical condition that requires a nonstandard or prescription diet, consult your veterinarian.

GRAIN FREE DIETS & BULLDOG HEART DISEASE (DCM):

Dilatative Cardiomyopathy related to your bulldog diet may be reversible if it is detected early. If your bulldog was diagnosed with DCM and is eating a diet with nonstandard ingredients, you should consider switching to a diet that contains standard ingredients.

BULLDOG GRAIN FREE DIETS DCM PRESENTATION:

Heat disease medical presentation often includes exercise intolerance, coughing fainting, and trouble breathing. On exam, bulldogs with DCM usually, have a heart murmur or/an abnormal rate and rhythm.

BULLDOG GRAIN-FREE DIETS DCM TESTING:

In those cases,  in addition to the medical exam, testing such as x-rays, blood tests, EKG, and an echocardiogram are required.

TAURINE SERUM TEST: If your bulldog or French bulldog is diagnosed with DCM, ask that Taurine levels be tested and, if needed, supplemented

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs FACT CHECKING SUMMARY: 

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs BE INFORMED:

“No grain,”  “limited grain,”  and “grain-free” diets are the Holy Grail for many owners in the Bulldog community. It is NOT my intention to discourage you from using those diets, but rather to better inform you.

The internet is littered with conjecture, urban myths, and misinformation, You should do your due diligence, seek credible sources, and make educated fact-based decisions.

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs OVERCHARGED:

If your bulldog or French bulldog puppy likes the current grain-free diet you are feeding him/her and does as well or better on it than on previous diets, then your bulldog might be better off staying on that no-grain diet. Nevertheless, some of you might be spending large sums on false assumptions propagated by diet manufacturers, biased marketing campaigns, and internet buzz manufactured by profit-seekers.

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs MANUFACTURE & STANDARD INGREDIENTS:

Choose a diet made by a well-established manufacturer. Feed a diet that contains standard ingredients.

Grain Free Diets Bulldogs and French Bulldogs DIET CHANGE:

If your bulldog diet is

  • BOUTIQUE BULLDOG DIET
  • EXOTIC INGREDIENTS BULLDOG DIET
  • GRAIN-FREE BULLDOG DIET

You may want to talk to your veterinarian about the FDA announcement and what diet may be best for your dog.

Recommended by Owners Approved by Bulldogs

 

Our Bulldog Community Prefers
“PREVENTION OVER RX”
Unlock The Benefits

Visit Our Shop

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.

Related Products

Subscribe to our news