Despite looking grumpy and irascible, bulldogs are excellent companion dogs. They are even-tempered, sweet-natured, and adorably loving pets.
The first thing you notice about bulldogs is their squashed faces and short but stocky build. These dogs are beefy. They’re like little tanks on legs.
To maintain that bulky physique, your bulldog needs high-quality food. It needs something with a decent amount of protein and the right nutrients to support healthy systems.
Choosing the right dog food is ruff! There are so many brands with different selling points, it can be overwhelming.
Luckily for you, we’ve done all the leg work. We’ve pulled together some of the best-loved and healthiest dog foods available for your bulldog.
We’ve given you a detailed review of each brand and highlighted the pros and cons of each food.
We’ve also put together a buyer’s guide which will help you understand what ‘high-quality dog food’ actually means!
So, without further ado, let’s tuck into the best dog foods for bulldogs!
Is Fido in need of a feast? Here’s our top pick:
OUR TOP PICK
This stuff is packed to the brim with animal protein! The top 5 ingredients are duck, lamb meal, chicken meal, chickpeas, and peas.
These five foods are full of protein and are definitely responsible for the 36% protein content. This food is lean!
The selling point of this food is the bits of freeze-dried raw meat. It is a dry food for people who want to experiment with raw feed but don’t want to handle and grind all that raw meat.
It’s a good compromise. Raw feeding comes with its issues, but this food is a safe way to add a bit of tasty raw meat to their bowl.
One of the things you’ll see on the ingredients list is that they’ve identified sources of glucosamine and chondroitin.
These are essential for bulldogs as they are at a higher risk of developing arthritis.
As well as the lamb, duck, and chicken, this food includes lamb hearts, boar, and rabbits. This makes for an almost irresistible recipe according to user reviews.
There are a number of fruit and vegetables in this food that help boost the vitamin and mineral counts. In particular, the calcium and omega-6 levels are pretty high.
This is great for bulldogs as these things help create healthy brains, bones, and guts.
This really is a quality, grain-free dog food. It doesn’t use pointless fillers or overuse plant-based proteins.
It relies on tasty meats and healthy plants to create a high protein, well-balanced dog food.
- 36% protein content.
- 16% fat content.
- Lamb is the main ingredient.
- Supplemented by a variety of different meat and meat meals.
- Contains good sources of glucosamine and chondroitin. ‘
- Rich in calcium.
- Seems to be a bit inconsistent in terms of the amount of freeze-dried raw bits.
This is another grain-free food that uses high-quality ingredients to provide huge amounts of protein.
The top 5 ingredients are deboned chicken, chicken meal, turkey meal, sweet potato, and potato.
It’s a protein-packed starter with the potatoes providing an allergen-free source of carbohydrates.
It’s always good to see sweet potatoes in the recipe as these are a great source of fiber. The inclusion of potatoes seems to be more of a filler ingredient. Apart from their calories, potatoes do not provide much nutritional value.
We’re pleased to see flaxseed and whitefish meal as these are both high in omega-3. The recipe also includes sunflower oil which does contain omega-6 but no omega-3.
It is considered to be less nutritional than flaxseed oil, so we’re not sure why they’ve used it. It could be from the cooking process.
Overall, this food has a protein count of 34% which is above average. The fat content is 17% which is pretty much your average for foods of this calibre.
The carb content works out at about 32% which is below average. This is good news as it means the food isn’t stuffed with fillers.
- 34% protein content.
- 17% fat content.
- Chicken is the first ingredient.
- Packed with meat proteins.
- Low on fillers.
- Includes glucosamine and chondroitin.
- Chicken can be an allergen for some dogs.
- Quite expensive.
This food comes highly recommended by my own dogs. They love this stuff! So much so, they get me up at the crack of dawn to feed them!
When you take a look at the ingredients it’s not hard to see why they love it.
The first 5 ingredients include 3 animal products and there is a considerable amount of other named meats lower in the list.
In the lamb and venison flavor, we see lamb, chicken meal, split peas, lentils, and chicken fat as the top ingredients.
I’ll admit that it’s a little annoying to have chicken meal in a lamb flavored food. It means that if your dog is allergic to chicken, they won’t be able to eat this stuff.
Split peas and lentils provide the carbohydrate base of this food. They are also high in fiber which promotes healthy digestion.
However, they do also contribute significantly to protein content. Normally, this would be a bit of an issue as we want mostly animal protein.
However, considering the sheer amount of animal protein in this food, we don’t think it’s too much of an issue.
Chicken fat, gross as it might sound, is really nutritious. It contains omega-6 which is a key nutrient for dogs. Chicken fat will always beat plant-based fats like sunflower oil or canola oil.
On top of the lamb and chicken, this food also contains pork meal, dried chicken, and fish meal. This is wonderful to see and according to my dogs, delicious.
We do see a few more plant-based proteins like alfalfa meal. Alfalfa is generally used for horse feeds and in this recipe, it seems to be more of a filler ingredient designed to bulk out the food and the protein content.
Overall, this food has a protein content of 34% a large portion of which does seem to come from animal products. It has a 17% fat content and a carb content of about 35%.
It’s above average for protein and fat which is good to see.
- 34% protein content.
- 17% fat content.
- Lamb is listed as the top ingredient.
- Contains a wide variety of quality animal products.
- Great omega-3 content.
- Great value for money.
- Contains chelated minerals.
- Fairly high plant-based protein content.
- No glucosamine or calcium boosters.
Starting with the top 5 ingredients we see deboned beef, beef meal, pea protein, pea starch, and tapioca starch.
The beef and beef meal in the top 2 positions is great news. Straight away we can tell that this food is high-quality and protein-rich.
It’s also great to see beef meal being used instead of chicken. This is because chicken can be an allergen for some dogs.
The pea and tapioca products also help to boost the protein count as well as providing a grain-free source of carbohydrates. These products will give your dog the energy they need to get through the day.
However, one thing to note is that this recipe seems to use ingredient splitting.
It contains several pea-based ingredients including pea starch, peas, pea fiber. They are all part of the same plant and if they were counted as just peas they would probably be much higher on the ingredient list.
This means it can sometimes be a way for the manufacturers to keep fresh meat higher on the list.
Peas are a healthy plant product, but we want most of the dog’s protein to come from animal meats. It’s a bit concerning that pea products are so prevalent.
We can also see fish meal and flaxseed listed highly in the ingredients. This is excellent as both are a bountiful source of omega-3. This is vital for maintaining a healthy coat and boosting brain health.
We’ve also got canola oil listed as an ingredient. This is another great source of omega-3. However, canola oil is often sourced from GM crops.
If you’re bothered by this, then you might want to try and find out where they get the canola from.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, this food is rich in calcium and glucosamine which helps stave off arthritis, a condition that bulldogs are prone to.
It also uses chelated minerals which are much easier for dogs to digest.
- 30% protein content.
- Balanced fat, protein, and carbohydrate contents.
- Beef is listed as the main ingredient.
- Rich in omega-3 foods.
- Great calcium content.
- Packed with vitamins and minerals.
- Much of the protein content comes from plant-based foods rather than animal-based foods.
- Contains canola oil which is often sourced from GM crops.
- Quite expensive.
This food is full of superfoods, real fish, and healthy fruits and vegetables. These work together to provide nutrient-rich, balanced food for your bulldog.
Looking at the first 5 ingredients, we can see salmon, fish meal, potatoes, lentils, and peas. It’s good to see real fish as the top ingredient.
Salmon is a great source of protein, omega-3, and minerals. It’s a great all-rounder!
We are less keen on ‘fish meal.’ This generic labeling suggests that the fish used are mixed or of uncertain origins.
Fish is, in general, a great source of protein so we’re not overly concerned.
Potatoes provide a good source of carbohydrates which will give your dog energy throughout the day. Outside of the carbs, potato is pretty much a filler ingredient, however.
The peas and the lentils also provide a lot of protein. We do prefer to see the majority of the protein coming from animal sources and their placement so high in a fairly meatless mix is a bit concerning.
When we consider that pea flour and dried yeast are the next ingredients, the protein content becomes even more questionable.
We’ve got some ingredient splitting going on. This is when manufacturers split an ingredient like peas into constituent parts like pea flour, peas, pea protein, to keep it lower on the list of ingredients.
Dried yeast is another excellent source of protein but it is also a plant-based source, obviously. Yeast can also cause allergies in some dogs.
If your bulldog does have a yeast allergy then you’ll want to stay away from this food.
The calorie count of this food is quite low. It comes in at around 337kcal per cup.
This means you’ll need around 3 or 4 cups a day to make sure your dog is full. If you’ve got a larger bulldog, you might find you go through this stuff too quickly.
- 25% protein content.
- 14% fat content.
- Contains fresh salmon as the first ingredient.
- Rich in omega-3 and other fatty acids.
- High mineral count thanks to superfoods.
- Large amount of plant-based protein.
- Lower calorie count.
- Contains coconut and yeast which some dogs may be allergic to.
Best Dog Food For Bulldogs Buying Guide
Bulldogs were originally bred as cattle dogs, hence the name. Their job was to herd the cows from the field to the market. They had strong and stocky bodies that allowed them to control the large animals.
Unfortunately, their strength and bravery in the face of a herd of cows led to these dogs becoming fighting dogs.
Bull Baiting was a popular pastime in the medieval and renaissance eras. Bulldogs were bred to have flatter noses, bigger heads, and stockier builds because it helped them bite the bull’s nose and drag them to the ground.
When bull baiting was banned in the 1800s, bulldogs essentially became redundant in the working worlds and so they became companion pets.
The damage, in terms of breeding, had already been done, however.
Bulldogs are prone to a myriad of problems thanks to excessive overbreeding. The shape of their face causes eye and breathing problems.
The body shape causes musculoskeletal issues including difficulty birthing pups naturally. While the restricted genetic pool has resulted in allergies being common amongst purebred bulldogs.
Keeping bulldogs healthy is no mean feat but a high-quality diet can help ease some of the health conditions bulldogs face.
Bulldogs are prone to hip dysplasia which is where the leg bone slips out of the hip socket. Food alone can’t fix this issue.
It’s a problem with the shape of bulldogs, not a diet problem. However, foods can help alleviate conditions associated with hip dysplasia, namely arthritis.
You’ll want to look for foods that have glucosamine and chondroitin in them. Both of these are found naturally in cartilage and gristle.
Most dog foods remove the bones of animals so you’ll want to check whether they add glucosamine and chondroitin.
Bulldogs are unfortunately susceptible to several skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis.
Some of these conditions are caused or exacerbated by allergies to which bulldogs are also prone.
You’ll need to get your vet to test for and confirm allergies, but it’s a good idea to give them a gentler food in any case.
You’ll probably want to stay away from soy, corn, and gluten. These are some of the most common allergens for dogs.
Surprisingly, chicken is also a reasonably common allergen in bulldogs. It can be quite difficult to find food that has no chicken products.
Even if a product is labeled as lamb or beef, for instance, you’ll need to check the ingredients list. Often, chicken meal or chicken fat is used in the recipe.
To keep the skin and coat healthy, look for foods that are high in omega-rich foods like fish, flaxseed, and canola.
Stocky is good. Overweight is not. Bulldogs tend to lean towards the latter. They are pretty lazy dogs who love nothing better than a good nap.
If you’re not careful with their food, they can become dangerously overweight.
Being overweight makes many of their health problems worse including their breathing difficulties and their mobility issues. You want to avoid this at all costs.
Check that the food you choose has a good healthy balance between proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. All are essential for your dog, but too much fat or carbohydrates can increase body weight.
Dog Food Ingredients
The first thing you need to know about ingredients is how they are listed. Dog food ingredients are listed by the percentage of the total.
So the first ingredient makes up more of the food than the second ingredient and so on.
When you’re looking at the ingredients, the first one should always be protein.
Ideally, you’ll want fresh meat first. High-quality dog foods always include fresh meat and usually the first ingredient.
If fresh meat isn’t listed or it’s way down on the list, leave it alone! Generally, this means that subpar ingredients have nabbed the top spot.
You’ll want to look for meals as one of the top five ingredients. Meal is ground down animal or plant matter.
Usually, a lamb flavored food will have fresh lamb and lamb meal as the first two ingredients.
The meal supports the fresh meat as fresh meat tends to lose a lot of its mass when cooked. Meals provide the lost protein.
When you do see meal on the list you want it to be a named animal meal. If it just says ‘meat meal’ stay well away. It’s probably all the beaks, guts, and other nasty bits from processed meats.
The other things you want to see in the top five ingredients are fats and carbohydrates.
Carbs will come in the form of rice, cornmeal, oatmeal, or potatoes. If you have a dog with grain allergies like gluten intolerance or wheat intolerance, you’ll want to look for a food with potato, rice, or oatmeal.
Outside of the top five, you’ll probably see a selection of fruits and vegetables, vitamins and minerals, and perhaps some flavorings.
Try to choose foods without artificial flavorings, colors, or preservatives. These can be quite harsh on your dog’s digestive system.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much should my bulldog eat?
Each manufacturer will have their own feeding recommendations. It’s hard to give a single answer because the composition of each brand is different.
In general, adult bulldogs need about 1300 calories a day. They are less active than other dogs their size so they don’t need quite so much.
Younger dogs who still have a bit of puppy energy need around 1500 calories a day.
The extra calories will give them a bit more energy to help with their growth and development.
For a more specific feeding guide, bulldogs need about 2g of protein for every pound of weight. This information should be provided on the packaging.
In general, your bulldog will need about 2 cups of food twice a day. If you’re mixing kibble with wet food, you can reduce the amount of kibble.
What foods are bad for bulldogs?
In general, feeding any dog scraps from your plate is not a good idea. We, as humans, tend to eat a lot of processed food that doesn’t digest easily in a dog's system.
Then of course there are natural foods that are toxic to dogs. This rings true of all dogs, not just bulldogs.
Below you will find a list of foods that your dog should not eat. It is not exhaustive but will give you a general idea. The best option is to stick to dog food and treats to be on the safe side.
- Macadamia nuts
- Corn cob
- Xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in candy and gum.)
- Cooked bones
- Milk and dairy
- Fat trimmings including bacon
- Salty snacks
- Uncooked dough
Some of these are toxic and your dog should go to a vet if they’ve eaten them. Others like fatty meat, caffeine, and salty snacks are inadvisable to feed to dogs.
They will, over time, cause real problems.
If you have a french bulldog, check out our guide on the best dog food for frenchies next!
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