Ask any experienced French Bulldog owner whether Frenchies like to eat and you will soon find out these dogs love their food!
As this video shows, Frenchies love all food – their food and their people's food. It doesn't take Frenchies any time at all to learn how to start begging at the table and using their cuteness to try to get more treats out of people.
But not all foods are safe for French Bulldogs to eat. For that matter, Frenchies, in particular, need to stay within their ideal weight range to control breathing and gastrointestinal issues they can be prone to developing.
In this article, we take a close look at the French Bulldog diet. What can Frenchies eat? How much can they eat? Are there any foods that are on the no-no list that you should never feed your French Bulldog? Let's find out now.
What Can French Bulldogs Safely Eat?
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) points out, French Bulldogs really need their people to strictly monitor how they eat and how much they eat.
No dog breed should be allowed to get fat. But when Frenchies get fat, it can put extra pressure on their entire respiratory system, causing serious breathing problems and even death.
So what should you be feeding your French Bulldog? How much is too much food or treat food?
The answer to this question is more complicated than you might think because your Frenchie will need different types and amounts of food at different ages and life stages.
What to Feed a French Bulldog Puppy?
During puppyhood, your French Bulldog should be eating a complete and balanced canine food specifically created to meet the nutrient needs of small breed puppies.
This is very important! Small breed puppies have different nutritional needs than large breed puppies because of the rate they grow and the number of calories they need to sustain their growth.
Puppies with flat, short muzzle shapes like the French Bulldog can also benefit from eating a puppy food that is specifically designed for these dog breeds. Changing the kibble shape can help short-faced puppies more easily grasp and chew their food.
If your French Bulldog puppy is struggling to grasp and chew dry kibble, you can moisten it or add some wet food or broth in to make it easier.
The general rule of thumb with small breed puppies like the French Bulldog is to offer smaller meals more frequently, especially in puppyhood.
Depending on the guidance you receive from your breeder and canine veterinarian, aim for three to four small meals per day, with the last meal being offered at least two to three hours before bedtime.
By the age of six months old, you may be able to transition to giving meals just twice a day. But check with your veterinarian before altering your puppy's regular meal schedule.
What to Feed a French Bulldog Adult Dog?
Small breed puppies grow up faster than large breed puppies. So the transition to an adult dog food may happen faster.
By the age of 12 months old, your French Bulldog should be transitioning to an appropriate small breed adult dog food that offers whole and complete, balanced nutrition.
Here again, choosing a food that is specifically designed for short muzzle dog breeds can make eating easier and more enjoyable as well as safer for your dog.
You may want to continue with the twice per day feeding of two smaller meals rather than offering all the food in one meal to make it easier for your dog to eat and also more fun.
While most adult dogs are perfectly capable of eating dry kibble, French Bulldogs may still benefit from moistened kibble or the addition of a little broth or wet food to make grasping and chewing their meal easier.
French Bulldog Foods to Avoid
As one experienced French Bulldog breeder explains, the French Bulldog can be particularly prone to developing food allergies.
Many commercial dog foods contain ingredients that some dogs may have an allergy to. Common examples include the following ingredients:
- Wheat (gluten).
- Poultry protein.
As Four Paws Animal Hospital highlights, there are some warning signs to look for when your Frenchie develops allergies.
Licking paws, rubbing ears, scrubbing at the face, and scratching or biting paws and skin are all signs that your dog may have a food or environmental allergy.
No-No Foods Your French Bulldog Should Never Eat
In addition to the common allergens we just talked about, there are other foods that are quite dangerous to dogs (regardless of breed). Some of these foods can even be deadly.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Canine Journal reviews the most dangerous foods that your French Bulldog should never eat:
- Avocado: fruit, hull, pit.
- Caffeine: chocolate, coffee, tea, soda.
- Any kind of alcohol and tobacco.
- Citrus fruits.
- Grapes (any color) and raisins.
- Nuts: especially walnuts and macadamia nuts.
- Dairy: with the possible exception of yogurt.
- Garlic, chives, scallions, onions.
- Salt, sodium.
- Xylitol: this artificial sugar replacement is deadly to dogs!
- Raw yeast dough.
- Cooked meat bones (raw is usually okay).
- Fatty or fried foods.
- Fruit pits and seeds.
- Corn on the cobb (off the cob is fine if your Frenchie is not allergic).
- Cat food.
- Rhubarb leaves.
- Tomato leaves.
- Hot peppers.
- Spices: sweet and savory.
This is a pretty lengthy list of foods your Frenchie should never have access to. Xylitol is the deadliest one on this list – even a tiny amount could kill a small dog like a Frenchie.
It is always smart to keep your closest veterinary urgent care center number in your phone just in case an accident does happen.
A Word About Feeding Your French Bulldog a Homemade Diet
If you are planning to make your French Bulldog's food at home, it is important to work closely with a veterinary dietitian who can help you plan your menu and additional supplements that will be needed.
Commercial dog food diets are not without their flaws, but if you choose a food designed for small breed dogs that are marked "complete and balanced" it will include the right blend of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your dog needs.
When you make your dog's food at home, it isn't as simple as just offering tasty food your dog likes. You need to be sure your dog is getting the right amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to promote healthy growth and gut health.
Human Foods Your French Bulldog Can Safely Eat
Now that you know what human foods should always stay on the no-no list, here is Healthline's list of foods you can safely offer to your Frenchie to keep meals and treats interesting.
- Nut butter (but not macadamia or walnut).
- Salmon and other fish and seafood.
- Eggs (if your Frenchie is not allergic).
- Yogurt (with your veterinarian's okay).
- Fruits, berries, and melon (not citrus or grapes/raisins).
- Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, some mushrooms, squash, pumpkin.
- Greens like lettuce, celery, parsley.
- Rice (white, brown, and wild).
- Starches like potato and sweet potato.
If you have never given your French Bulldog a certain food before, offer a very small quantity and wait 24 hours to see if your dog tolerates it well. Don't offer more than one new food at a time so you can easily tell what is well tolerated and what isn't.
Weight Management for Food-Loving French Bulldogs
Managing a French Bulldog's weight tends to be more challenging than for many other breeds. The reason for this is because Frenchies, with their short muzzles, can't do a lot of physical exercises safely.
Not only do Frenchies tend to overheat quickly, but their breathing difficulties can quickly catch up to them.
When you can't help your dog lose weight by adding exercise, what you are left with is managing your dog's weight through portion control and food choices.
Ask your dog's veterinarian to teach you to do a feel test on your dog to determine whether they are gaining weight. You can use this test at home in between weigh-ins to make sure your pup isn't packing on the pounds.
Setting up a treat rotation can make sure your dog is getting a variety of foods with different important nutrients without over-feeding. For very hard raw foods like carrots or celery, chop them up into smaller bite-sized pieces or steam the veggies.
It may be helpful to print out the lists above and put them on your refrigerator or in the area where you keep your dog's food. This way, you will never forget and feed your French Bulldog something they can't eat.
As a freelance pet writer and blogger, Shannon is passionate about crafting knowledge-based, science-supported articles that foster healthy bonds of love and respect between people and animals. But her first and very most important job is as a dog auntie and cockatiel, tortoise, and box turtle mama.