Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Myth or Fact

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Myth or Fact

Grain Free Diets for Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are very poplar among bulldog owners. “BULLDOGS CAN NOT DIGEST GRAIN” Myth:  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 puppy digestive tract has evolved and now poses the digestive tools to deal with variety of grains.

“GRAIN FREE = CARBOHYDRATE FREE” Myth: grains are dry seeds harvested from flowering plants, examples include, rice, corn, oats, quinoa, wheat, and barley. Some of my bulldogs and French bulldogs owners choose to feed there pets a grain-free diet due to their notion that dogs diets should be limited to meat and carbohydrate-free. Erroneously many bulldog owners equate grain-free with carbohydrate-free. In reality, those “Grain-Free” diets simply replace the grain with other carbohydrate sources like potatoes and legumes such as green peas, chickpeas, and lentils.

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 ingredient (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.”

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs and heart disease

Dr. Kraemer’s Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs V4B  Maintenance

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs

“GRAINS ARE BAD FOR MY BULLDOG” MYTH: In contrast to popular belief among bulldog and french bulldog owners, there are many nutritional benefits to grain portion in dog food. Grains stimulate the growth of beneficial, “good” gastrointestinal bacteria (i.e. probiotics).

It’s important to know that many of those grains also 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.

Dr. Kraemer’s Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs V4B Bulldog Rule Of Thumb:

“GRAIN LEADS TO ALLERGIES” Myth: Proteins NOT grain are usually the cause of bulldog food allergy.  Contrary to common belief food-allergy is NOT derived from carbohydrates but rather from the meat/protein portion of your bulldog meal (i.e. animal source like chicken, beef, fish, lamb, etc). 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 DIEST ARE SUPERIOR” Myth:  There is no scientific evidence that bulldog grain-free diets are superior to other common diets.

Dr. Kraemer’s Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs V4B Bully Tips & Warnings

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #1: 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.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #2: 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 package and hyped language, instead concentrate on the manufacture

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #3: Whole food meals are better than processed. Your own physician does not advocate that you regularly eat highly processed foods, the same should apply to your bulldog.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #4: 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.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip#5: Human grade pet diets are better regulated than animal grade pet diets.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #7: Reading pet food labels and brochures is not easy even to a professional,  thus assessing the quality of the ingredients based on the label is usually inadequate.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #8: 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. Always adhere to our “DO NO HARM” cardinal rule. 

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #9: Not all bulldogs are the same. Some might do better with more grain, while others might benefit from a reduced-grain diet.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-BulldogsTip #10: 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 challenged by a non-grain diet, ideally from the same brand with only the grain being the difference.

If you suspect a food allergy, then the gold standard is an 8-10 weeks trial on a prescription elimination hypoallergenic diet, rather then grain-free diets. To find out more about food allergies and hypoallergenic diets Click Here

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #11: Offering fresh, organic, unprocessed fruits and vegetables to your bully are 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.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Tip #12: Some grain is often better than no-grain.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning #1: 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.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning #2: Grain should count for less than one-third of your bulldog whole-diet, the other 2/3 should be in the form of meat-animal-protein, fruit, and vegetables.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning#3: Most commercial diets offer lower quality grade feed then the human well regulated (USDA) grade pet diets.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning #4: Lower-grade diets have a higher risk for unwanted adverse effects such as allergies and immune-mediated disease like IBD, due to a higher possibility of unwholesome elements, and contaminants.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning #5: Some bulldogs and French bulldogs puppies should avoid high gluten grains (rye, oat, barley, wheat), in favor of low gluten grains(quinoa, milo, rice, millet)

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning #6: 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.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning #9: Bulldogs and french bulldogs 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 into the poor quality of the food.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning #9: I don’t recommend diets with a large portion of its protein derived from a grain source. It’s bioavailability which is your bulldog ability to utilize that protein, is marginal.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-BulldogsWarning #10: Too much grain will increase the chance of your bulldog becoming overweight. Obesity is a major contributor to poor health and quality of life.

Grain-Free-Diets-Bulldogs-and-French-Bulldogs Warning #11: The poor quality protein is a bigger problem than “too much protein”, even for bulldogs with kidney disease the emphasis should not be on excessive quantity but rather on good, high quality, proteins.

SUMMARY: 

  1. FACT BASE: “no grain”, “limited grain”, “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 own due diligent, seek credible sources, and make educated fact-based decisions.
  2. 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 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 manufactures, biased marketing campaigns, and internet buzz manufactured by profit-seekers.
  3. MANUFACTURE: Choose a diet made by a well-established manufacturer
  4. STANDARD INGREDIENTS: Feed a diet that contains standard ingredients.
  5. MEDICAL CONDITION: If your Bulldog suffers from a medical condition that requires a nonstandard diet or prescription diet consult your veterinarian.
  6. 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.
  7. DIET CHANGE: If your bulldog diet is boutique, contains exotic ingredients, or is grain-free, you may consider a diet change to one without these properties. Talk to your veterinarian about the FDA announcement and what diet may be best for your dog.
  8. DCM PRESENTATION:  medical presentation often includes exercise intolerance, coughing fainting and trouble breathing. On exam bulldogs with DCM usually, have a heart murmur or/and abnormal rate and rhythm. In those cases, additional testing such as x-rays, blood tests, EKG, and echocardiogram are required.
  9. TAURINE SERUM TEST: If your bulldog or French bulldog is diagnosed with DCM ask that a Taurine levels are tested and if needed supplemented

*The guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “must-read” for any current or future bulldog owner.

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