Finding the right dog food for your Frenchie can be tricky. There are hundreds of different options on the market all claiming to be the best, no wonder our Frenchie parents constantly turn to us asking what they should feed their puppies. This is why we decided to gather all our knowledge and share the most important things to consider when selecting your puppy’s food. We will also answer some frequently asked questions about feeding so by the end of the article you’ll have no problem choosing the best dog food for your Frenchie!
Why is it so hard to find the right dog food?
Feeding is an evergreen topic among Frenchie parents in our Facebook group. They know they should feed their puppy with a high-quality premium dog food to keep their baby healthy and fit, but they are left puzzled when they see the plethora of different choices. If you’re a Frenchie owner yourself, this probably sounds familiar. After hours of researching and picking other people’s brains you finally settle for a dog food that seems to be perfect for your Frenchie, still your baby ends up either refusing it or having diarrhea and skin issues.
Why is it so hard to find the right food? The answer is actually quite simple: every Frenchie is different and what works for one puppy may unfortunately cause problems for the other. It usually takes a lot of experimenting and changing the food on multiple occasions until you find what works best for your Frenchie’s digestive system.
So what are the most important things to consider while trying to find the perfect food for your Frenchie? We’ll detail 7 criteria below.
1. The ingredients of the dog food
When looking to find the best food for your Frenchie, the first thing you’ll want to do is to check the list of ingredients. The quality of a dog food is always determined by the percentage of its protein content, in other words the amount of meat or fish it contains. The higher the meat/fish content of the food, the higher its quality, and the price usually increases in direct proportion to that.
So what should you pay attention to when looking at the ingredients list? In the first place you’ll always find the ingredient of which the particular food contains the most, so it’s crucial that there is a clearly stated fresh or raw meat/fish there. This could be beef, lamb, salmon or any other type of meat. If you see a food that doesn’t specify the meat and uses labels like animal protein don’t buy it! After the fresh meat may come some dehydrated or dried meat/fish, then eggs, organ meats and entrails, legume protein sources (peas, lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc.). The list usually ends with some sort of animal fat, vegetables and fruits.
Any other ingredient not mentioned above is only included to increase the volume of the dog food and to ensure the most economical production possible. So, if you see that a food contains an unrealistic amount of filler ingredients like wheat, corn or chemical preservatives, it is definitely not a suitable and healthy choice for your Frenchie.
2. Dog foods without chicken and grains
A question that always comes up when choosing the right food for a Frenchie is whether it has to be chicken or grain-free. Generally speaking, French Bulldogs belong to the group of sensitive dog breeds who tend to have allergic reactions to chicken and/or grains like wheat, corn, sorghum. For that reason, we usually recommend giving a chicken and grain-free food right from the start to avoid any possible problems.
This tendency of course doesn’t mean that a chicken-based food will certainly cause issues for your Frenchie, but if you notice any allergic symptoms, the first thing you should think of is the chicken: eliminating it usually solves the problem right away. Many people don’t know that dogs actually don’t need grains in their diet whatsoever yet many premium dog foods do contain them. Our recommendation is to avoid these foods, your Frenchie’s skin will thank you.
3. The price of the dog food
When looking for a food for your Frenchie, the price will definitely be a factor that you’ll consider. If you think that the more expensive the food the better it is, you’re not far from the truth. Still, it happens way too often that well-known dog food companies charge more for foods with poor quality and nutritional values than less known companies for much better quality.
That means that if you look at the list of ingredients, you can find companies whose food meets all the criteria we mentioned above and is much more affordable. Like with so many things, the name is not everything! Just because you’ve heard a lot about a dog food from commercials it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for your Frenchie.
4. The size of the kibble
French Bulldogs belong to smaller dog breeds, so it’s highly recommended that you choose a food specifically designed for small or medium sized dogs. That way you won’t have to worry about the size of the kibble. Neither too small nor too large kibble size is ideal: if it’s too small your Frenchie will just inhale it without chewing it properly, which may even cause choking! On the other hand, if the kibble is too large they will have difficulties to consume the food.
5. The flavor of the dog food
When looking at dog foods, you can choose from lots of different flavors like lamb, fish, beef, duck, etc. If one of the foods from a particular brand works fine for your Frenchie, the flavors can and should be changed as long as they have the same nutritional values. A varied diet is important not only for humans but dogs as well, not to mention that your fur baby will be very happy to taste some new flavors. So, if you notice a greater appetite in your pup when introducing a new flavor don’t be surprised!
6. The stool of your Frenchie
A very important criteria and perhaps the best indicator if the given food is suitable for your Frenchie is their stool. A healthy stool should always be completely solid, which means you can easily collect it with a bag. A loose stool probably doesn’t require much explaining but too hard may be trickier: you will see your Frenchie straining and taking longer to defecate.
So, if you notice that your puppy’s stool is either too hard or too loose all the time, that means that you should change their food immediately. You should always ensure a smooth transition by gradually mixing in more and more of the new food with the old to avoid any dietary issues.
7. Signs of a food allergy in your Frenchie
We have already mentioned that Frenchies tend to be allergic to chicken, but what are the actual signs of a food allergy? The most common symptoms include scratching, hair loss, dull lifeless fur, inflamed eyes and ears often with some discharge, paw licking, swelling, but also vomiting and loose stools. You may not notice all of these and the degree in which they occur may also vary. Any of these symptoms indicate that an immediate change of diet is necessary, about which you should always consult your vet first.
+1 How much and how many times
The general rule of thumb is to feed your Frenchie 3 times a day until the age of 5 months old and after that switch to 2 times in the morning in the evening. This is only a suggestion of course: as you’re the one who sees your puppy daily it will be your task to decide when it’s time to make the switch and also what amount works best. Eating a bit more slowly and with less appetite are usually signs telling you to cut out the middle meal. As for the amount, nice-looking French Bulldogs are a bit stockier, so you should always increase and lower the amount of their food with that in mind. Read our article to learn more about maintaining a healthy body weight for your Frenchie.
Should I give store-bought or home-made food to my Frenchie?
Even though processed dog foods might not look healthy to us, they actually contain all the nutrients that Frenchies need to stay healthy. Home-made and raw diets like B.A.R.F. are of course considered to be healthier alternatives but you should always do your research beforehand to make sure your Frenchie gets all the necessary nutrients.
Should I opt for dry kibble or canned wet food?
That’s up to you to decide, but in our experience you will be better off with a dry dog food as it’s easier to store and is more affordable. Wet foods are of course more appealing to dogs, which means they get used to them easily and will not want to eat dry food again. If your Frenchie is a picky eater you can mix the dry and wet food but never give them the latter only. We recommend wet food for dogs who are ill and have no appetite.
What are the signs that your Frenchie’s food needs to be changed?
The most common symptoms of a food allergy include scratching, hair loss, dull/lifeless fur, inflamed eyes and ears often with some discharge, paw licking, swelling, vomiting and loose stools. If any of these occur, you should change your Frenchie’s food.
How much time does my puppy need to adjust to a new food?
If your Frenchie has been eating their new food for at least two weeks and you still don’t see any improvement in their skin or stool, unfortunately you’ll need to change again. Here’s a friendly tip: always buy a smaller package first when trying a new food.
At what age should I switch to adult food?
We usually recommend switching to adult food at the age of 8-12 months old. If you notice that your puppy looks a bit chubbier or bigger compared to other Frenchies you can make this change even sooner.
Visit our webshop for some amazing foods from Chewy that we recommend for your Frenchie!
The article is based on the expert knowledge of the TomKings Puppies team who have been breeding French Bulldogs for more than 10 years on their farms. All the pictures in the post belong to them and their customers, and show puppies from their breed. Check their available French Bulldog puppies, or if you have any questions or comments let us know below the article.