English bulldogs are known for their snorting, wrinkly cuteness. Besides being so squeezable, they’re a fantastic breed for families. Whether you’re single in an apartment or you have a handful of kids and a big yard, English bulldogs fit in everywhere. Knowing their temperament (sweet, loyal, and relatively lazy) is important, but it’s even more important you know the best way to feed your bulldog.
English Bulldog Macronutrient Requirements
Dogs are natural carnivores, but since domesticated dogs don’t have access to the diet a wild dog does, they need a dry food that’s balanced with nutrient-dense ingredients.
English Bulldog Protein Requirements
Protein is the number one nutrient needed in all dogs’ diets regardless of their breed. English bulldogs need access to good protein because they’re a naturally muscular breed. Protein is needed by all species to build muscle, but certain breeds do better with a quality protein. Chicken is an okay source, but there are far better options out there. A protein ratio of 23 percent is plenty, and don’t fall prey to brands that claim dogs need 30 or more percent protein. Too much protein can actually damage the kidneys.
English Bulldog Carbohydrate Requirements
English bulldogs aren’t necessarily an active breed. They’re pretty content to just lounge around the house instead of going for long walks or playing a game of fetch. Carbohydrates are the building blocks of energy and very necessary, but an English bulldog does not have the same energy requirements a Labrador does. Active dogs need more carbs, but your bulldog definitely doesn’t need that many!
Focus on high quality carbs. A lot of cheaper dog food brands use cheap carbs like corn and soy to bulk up the food. These aren’t necessarily unhealthy for your dog, but they’re the equivalent of you eating nothing but white bread and pasta without any whole grains. Find dog food that uses whole grains like brown rice or whole wheat.
English bulldogs aren’t just low-energy; they’re also prone to weight gain. Simple carbs like corn are going to add calories your dog doesn’t need. Complex carbs offer energy without adding empty calories.
Common English Bulldog Diet Pitfalls
Nutrition doesn’t completely prevent or cure common diseases found in bulldogs, but good nutrition is incredibly effective at minimizing certain disorders. These are just a few things English bulldogs are prone to as a breed that good nutrition can help minimize.
Excess Weight in English Bulldogs
English bulldogs are naturally rotund, but that doesn’t mean they’re doomed to being overweight. It’s very possible for a bulldog to retain their natural barrel shape without being overweight. With their naturally out-turned elbows and hips that are significantly more narrow than their shoulders, their joints already have an unnatural amount of stress on them. Adding extra weight to their frame is going to lead to joint issues or speed up the process of any joint problems that are already present.
Common Allergies in Bulldogs
Ask any veterinary professional and they agree that English bulldogs are basically walking allergies. Contact allergies are very common, but bulldogs are known to be sensitive to certain food ingredients. Grain is a big trigger in terms of allergens, so if your dog has a family history of allergies, you should probably avoid grains in general and feed a grain-free diet. Poultry is also big in terms of being an allergen, so if your dog is eating a grain-free chicken-based diet and still experiencing allergies, it’s possible the chicken is causing their symptoms.
Hip Dysplasia Due to Excess Weight
English bulldogs have unique anatomy, and unfortunately, poor breeding choices have made hip troubles a genetic problem. Good breeders only breed dogs who have been cleared of any hip issues like hip dysplasia, but there are too many breeders out there who aren’t breeding responsibly. If a dog is born with the genes for hip dysplasia, no dog food is going to prevent it from manifesting.
Instead, you should find a food that is free of empty calories. Being overweight will exacerbate any existing joint issues, leading to arthritis, inflammation, and chronic pain. Since bulldogs are so prone to being overweight anyways, you’ll already be extra-diligent on their caloric intake.
You can find foods that have joint supplements like glucosamine added to the recipe, but essential fatty acids also play a positive role in joint health. If you can find a food with a good amount of fish oil or some other kind of essential fatty acid, you’ll be promoting healthy joints. If you can’t find a suitable food with these added, you can give your dog fatty acid supplements. Fish, flax, or coconut oil are considered safe for dogs, but check with your veterinarian before making it a regular addition.
The biggest dietary concern in regards to feeding your English bulldog is controlling their weight. Choosing a quality brand of food with the essential nutrients and feeding healthy portions is the best way to keep your dog from getting chubby. Since this breed isn’t known for their self-control, it’s up to you to be in charge!