Feeding your bulldog for health and wellness

Feeding your bulldog for health and wellness

Health & Safety

There are a huge different number of bulldog breeds and what we call bull-type breeds, from the archetypal English bulldog to their smaller relatives such as the French bulldog, which is today one of the most popular small companion dogs in the UK.

Anyone who owns a bulldog of any type will know that there are unique challenges to ownership of each of the different variants of the type too, including the need for caesarean section delivery in many bull breeds, and a propensity to having breathing problems, and putting on weight.

Bulldogs too also tend to be fairly sensitive to allergens, and many bulldogs will not get on well with a commercial mainstream diet, which means that extra care needs to be taken when feeding bulldog breeds as well.

In this article, we will share some guidance and advice on picking the best diet for your bulldog, to ensure their health, wellness and lifelong fitness. Read on to learn more.

Breathing issues

The main trait that most bull breed dogs have in common is their flat faces, which means that they have a shorter muzzle and throat than other breeds, which can make them prone to overheating in hot weather and also, being generally very snuffly and noisy when breathing.

This may mean that depending on the degree of flatness of your dog’s face, you will need to provide them with special food or water bowls in order to allow them to eat and drink comfortably. If you feed dry food, these should be of an appropriate shape and size for your dog to pick up and chew without risking choking.

The conformation issue that leads to the flat face and breathing issues in bull breeds can also be exacerbated by food allergies, which we will cover later on.

Weight control

The English bulldog in particular and many of the other bull breeds too tend to be stocky and muscular, with short legs and a rather square body. This means that like for like, their healthy weight is apt to be higher than a dog of a similar height of another breed, as muscle weighs more than fat.

However, breeds like these that are naturally stocky and muscular also run a greater risk of fast weight gain, added to the fact that bulldogs are not the most energetic of dogs, and can easily become overweight and then have problems shifting it.

This means that you should pick an appropriate food for your bulldog and follow the portion control and nutritional guidelines carefully, factoring in any treats your dog has too, to keep them at a healthy weight and with a diet that matches their activity levels.

Digestive issues

Anyone who has ever spent time around a bulldog in the couple of hours after they have eaten may have noticed that the back end of such dogs can produce some horrific smells, and bulldogs do tend to be among the most flatulent of breeds!

However, this can be an indication of digestive issues, as bulldogs are more prone than most breeds to suffer from sensitivities to generally innocuous ingredients in their food. If your bulldog passes wind a lot, or has runny stools and often needs to go to the toilet urgently after eating, they may be sensitive to something within their diet.

If this is the case, you can try switching them over to a sensitivity food, or trying different foods to rule out various ingredients that may be the problem.

Your vet can also perform exposure testing to definitively confirm any problem ingredients, so that you can avoid them in the future.

Skin problems

Many bulldogs suffer from skin and coat disorders, which are once again more prevalent across the various bulldog breeds than most others. Dermatitis, hot spots, dandruff and other skin issues are again often caused by an allergenic trigger, and so if your dog seems to suffer from flare ups and problems with their skin and coat, exposure testing might once again be the best way to resolve the issue.


When it comes to ensuring that your bulldog gets the appropriate nutrition, they should be fed a complete, balanced diet that is appropriate for their age and life stage, and that takes into account any issues they may have in terms of allergies or sensitivities.

A food that contains a good quality single source of protein is a good idea for bulldogs, but bulldogs actually need slightly less protein in their diets than most other breeds, so steer clear of high protein foods that are designed for very active or working dog breeds, as these are not a good fit for the rather slower bulldog!

You should also divide your pet’s food into at least two and preferably three smaller meals per day, instead of feeding them all in one go or in large portions each time, which are harder to digest.

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