The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

Dr. Kraemer what is the best bulldog food?”…..,  this million dollar qustion is one of the most frequent question I get asked during my bulldog and French bulldog physical exams, and it is also a popular requested Q on my “Ask Dr. K. / Q & A” webpage.

This “Best bulldog Diet” loaded question encapsulates a long list of variables, including ones that have little to do with your bulldog health and more to do with you and other bulldog owners lifestyle and personal dietary habits. Examples would be bulldog owners who are vegans or vegetarians and who would like their pet to be on a similar diet.

The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs:

First, there isn’t one superior single bulldog diet that fits all, your choice might depend on factors such as your bulldog age, food sensitivity, activity & lifestyle, medical history, and your bulldog personal taste and preference.

Second, when it comes to bulldog feedings, everyone seems to have an opinion and personal convictions to back it up.

Third, it seems like everyday food manufacturers attempt to crown a “new & improved” best food, the newfound “holy grail” of bulldog diets you must buy today. Those best food claims often pop up on your online search, FB page, Instagram forum, and any of the other half dozen social media platforms you might come by, most of which are paid ad’s vying for market share.

Disproving or proving those “Best Bulldog Food and Diets” ad campaign is a task for someone else, my goal is to allow you to make the best fact based,  educated decision on your own.

Here are a few ” Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs ” TIPS

DO NO HARM Tip: my short answer to the “Best Bulldog Food and Diet” question is rooted in my DO NO HARM oath. A good analogy is “What The Best Family Car” question. For most of us, the criteria for buying a family car is SAFETY & RELIABILITY over SPEED & STYLE. It’s your children safety, before the showroom Grand Prix engine, the flashy nickel-brass alloy wheels, and the posh convertible roof.

FOOD CONTROL & REGULATION Tip: Just like bulldog supplements, pet graded diets are loosely regulated (see Dr. Kraemer’s “The Best Supplements for Bulldogs and French Bulldog” article). Rather than providing pet owners with objective nutritional data and scientific facts, many bulldog food and diets manufacturer concentrates on seductive packaging, trendy buzz words, and social media shrowd campaigns that target buyer’s emotions.The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs MYTHS vs. FACTS

Best Bulldog Diet “LABEL & PACKAGING” 
MYTH: Bulldog diets with the words “Natural”, “Organic”, “Gourmet”, “Fresh”, “Premium”  printed on their label, are superior to others.
FACT: Those buzz words are a play on our emotion rather than a reflection of the diet nutritional true value. Objectively, you cannot evaluate the quality of your bulldog diet base on those claims.

Best Bulldog Diet “LABEL & INGREDIENTS” 
MYTH: Ingredients such as protein, carbohydrates, and fat listed on your bulldog food bag is the best way to evaluate the diet quality.
FACT: Ingredients are listed according to “weight as fed”. The % published provides minimal info about the ingredient’s quality, ingredients listed are not directly correlated with the diet true nutritious value or the quality of the manufacturing processing.
FACT: Pet food manufacturer labeling legal requirements are minimal and often lack transparency, it’s  nearly impossible for you to select an OTC diet base on the “ingredient list”
FACT SUMMARY: You should not evaluate the quality of a diet base on the “ingredient list”

Best Bulldog Diet “GUARANTEED ANALYSIS” 
MYTH: Pet food guaranteed analysis is helpful in assessing digestibility, palatability, and bioavailability
FACT: Pet food guaranteed analysis does little to help to measure digestibility, palatability and/or bioavailability

Best Bulldog Diet  “GRAIN-FREE” 
MYTH: Grain-free diets are carbohydrate-free. Also, grain-free diets known to eliminate food allergies and are in general much healthier.
FACT: Grain-free is NOT carbohydrate free! Grain-Free diets just replace one carb with another most of which are legumes loaded.
FACT: Recent finding suggest a link between Grain-Free diets and heart disease, to learn more click HERE

Best Bulldog Diet “CARBOHYDRATES & OBESITY”
MYTH: The carb’s in my bulldogs’ diet is the leading cause of obesity
FACT: It is not the carbohydrates that make your bulldog overweight but rather the calories and lack of exercise. A Calorie from Fat or Protein is equal to a calorie from Carb’s

Best Bulldog Diet “HOMEMADE” 
MYTH: Homemade diets are best because they are fresh, organic and low fat.
FACT: At times, when prepared correctly,  homemade diets might be beneficial.

Bulldog and French Bulldog HOMEMADE DIETS “TIPS & WARNINGS”:

CERTIFIED NUTRITIONIST: Have a board-certified nutritionist help you formulate the meals, you can reach one here 
TIME & MONEY: To save time and money, it’s best to prepare your bulldog and French bulldog homemade diet in batches that can then be frozen.
SAFTY: To be safe consider mixing it with one of the veterinary RX diets (prescription therapeutic diet)
DUE DILIGENT: If you opted for a bulldog homemade diet, I recommend an exam and blood test every 6 months.
ANALYSIS: Send your recipe to an independent lab for a review and nutritional analysis.
TREATS: Last, even if you are feeding your bulldog regular dog food you can still add some “homemade” treats. Most fresh produce’s are safe and healthy to your pet, but before you start please get a list of the few unsafe ones.

The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs “RAW DIETS”
MYTH: Bulldog raw diets are superior to other pet diets and are totally safe to feed
FACT: Bulldog raw diets might have benefits but also drawbacks.

Bulldog Raw Diets Possible Benefits:

  • Bulldog and French Bulldog raw diets  might be more digestible
  • Bulldog and French Bulldog raw diets might have limited ingredients which can reduce food allergy
  • Bulldog and French Bulldog raw diets might be more palatable
  • Bulldog and French Bulldog raw diets might improve elimination.
  • Bulldog and French Bulldog who are on raw diets might appear to have more energy, better coat and appear “healthier”

Bulldog Raw Diets Possible Drawbacks:

  • Some have a higher fat content
  • Some have abnormal calcium/phosphorus ratio
  • Raw diets (non pasteurized meals) have a higher risk of harboring and passing deadly contaminants.
  • Your family is also at risk from those contaminate (more so kids and immune-suppressed adults)

The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs, RAW DIETS “TIPS & WARNINGS”:  

AFFCO: Look for an official AAFCO label. Some manufacture posts a misleading AAFCO-like label

SAFETY: Always wash your hand after handling raw food

KIDS SAFETY: Don’t let young kids or immune-suppressed adults handle raw food.

IMPROVE SAFETY: Cook the outside of the pet and buy freeze-dried or flash pasteurized.

DUE DILIGENCE: For more information visit the Centers for Disease Control and Food safety   

The Best Food and Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs RULE OF THUMB

  1. “THE DO NO HARM” RULE: Like our family car analogy, I recommend you focus on Safty & Reliability
  2. “THE LARGE & REPUTABLE” RULE: the larger companies like Purina, Hills, and Royal Canine are not some obscure diet manufacture, they are well known,  well-financed, they have provided quality diets for decades, they publish peer-review scientific data and quality control transparency. They have Ph.D., nutritionist and scientist on their team and they also manufacture lines of prescription diets. Thus in my commonsense playbook, they have the edge over most of the other OTC diets. That does not mean that there are no equal or better diets out there, there very well might be. Unfortunately, most of us do not have the tools to screen and identified and screen them base on scientific facts (see below my “final advice”). Thus, I usually default to our  “DO NO HARM” RULE.
  3. “THE PRESCRIPTION & THERAPEUTIC DIET” RULE—because they are meant for medical conditions, Rx-Diets are more carefully formulated and are held to a higher standard and superior quality control when compared to the OTC diets. Even though they are only prescribed by veterinarians a good number of them can be fed to your perfectly normal healthy bulldog.
  4. “THE THE POOP-TEST” RULE: if you bulldog new diet generates healthy-looking poop with less volume and less frequency than his/her previous diet, there is a good chance it is a better diet with improved nutrition digestibility and bioavailability.

Dr. Kraemer’s Best Bulldog Food and Diets FINAL ADVICE 

Adhere to the “do no harm” rule, ignore emotionally-charged marketing schemes, stick to nutritional facts. Consider staying with a reputable manufacturer or even upgrade to one of their prescription diets. If you opt for a different OTC diet you can still take the “do no harm” initiative by doing the following:

Contact the food manufacturer and ask them the following questions (published by WSAVA): 

  1. CERTIFIED NUTRITIONIST: Do you have a boarded certified nutritionist? name and qualifications.

  2. FORMULATION: Who Formulated your diets and what their credentials.

  3. AAFCO CERTIFIED: Are you diets tested and formulated by AAFCO standards.

  4. AAFCO ANALYSIS: Does your diet meet AAFCO nutrient profiles by analysis.

  5. QUALITY CONTROL: What specific quality control do you implement.

  6. NUTRIENT ANALYSIS: Ask for complete nutrient analysis of the diet

  7. CALORIES: What the caloric value per cup.

  8. PEER REVIEW: What product research was done on this diet and is it published in peer-review paper.

Summary: pet food manufacturers should be willing to provide you with a response to those questions. If they are not able or willing to do so, be cautious and consider avoiding feeding their diets to your pet.

AAFCO Note: Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). It’s important to recognize that while AAFCO provides recommendations for states to consider as they update state feed laws, AAFCO does not regulate or inspect pet food. Regulations and enforcement of pet food labeling are done mostly at the state level by state feed control officials; not by AAFCO, but generally following AAFCO recommendations. Nutritional adequacy of pet food is labeled and written on the product in one of two

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