Bulldog Diet & Meal Plan Advice
By Hungry Bark | February 27, 2021
Like people, every bulldog is unique with its own personality, interests, and nutritional needs. And just like humans have different dietary needs at various stages of life, so does your bulldog.
As a roly-poly little bundle, bulldogs are known as feisty yet lazy. Anyone who has owned a bulldog knows that they’re much more complicated than that.
In fact, a puppy has many nutritional needs that are different from a fully grown adult, which makes it essential to understand the dietary needs at every stage of your dog’s life.
Just as you wouldn’t feed an infant the same foods as an adult, you need to plan your dog’s diet to be appropriate for their age, weight, and other health factors.
We all know that most bulldogs like to eat and will eat anything that you place in front of them, including eating more than they should.
While your dog may have specific needs to its diet, ideally, your fully grown bulldog should eat twice a day, with the first coming in the early morning and the second later in the day.
It’s generally suggested that dogs are fed twice a day as they age. Consult your vet for specific needs for your puppy and dog.
While deciding on which food would best suit your dog’s needs, look for a brand that focuses on your dog’s nutritional needs as well as additional factors such as activity level and age.
For puppies and dogs younger than a year, feeding schedules are generally:
- Puppies 0-3 months feed four small meals a day
- Puppies 3-6 months old feed three small meals spread out throughout the day
- Puppies that are 6-12 months old feed medium-sized meals two times a day
- Dogs older than 1-year feed 1-2 times a day depending on individual nutritional needs
By focusing on high-quality ingredients for your dog’s nutrition, you are guaranteeing your puppy’s health, allowing you both to live and love each other for a long time.
Create a plan that focuses on exercise and nutrition, and always be sure to check with your veterinarian if you’re considering making any changes to your dog’s diet.
The Importance Of Getting Enough Exercise
As a breed, bulldogs are more prone than other types of dogs to being overweight. Like humans, being overweight can lead to many health issues with your bulldog.
An overweight and unhealthy dog will lack the quality of life they deserve and may lead to several costly health issues to treat later down the road.
Understand that the key to a long, healthy life is a combination of diet and exercise, and that’s as true for people as it is for our dogs.
As a species, bulldogs are an ancient breed used to bait bears and bulls in the English countryside. They were bred to be strong and have powerful bursts of energy of shorter durations. This type of physical exertion is known as anaerobic, and as a result, bulldogs have a tendency to be lazy until they need to act, and then only at the right moment, BAM they are explosive and run with a full head of steam.
Because of their passive nature, bulldogs are perceived as lazy and have a bit of a problem maintaining their ideal weight.
One easy way to gauge your bulldog’s weight is to press down on their ribs and try to feel any bones. if you can’t feel the bone without pressing hard, it is likely that your dog could need to lose a few pounds.
If you suspect your bulldog is overweight, contact a veterinarian to plan the best way to get them back to a healthy weight. In order to prevent your bulldog from becoming overweight and obese, a combination of diet and exercise will likely be the recommendation. Despite their overall size and age, a bulldog should have at least 1 hour of sustained exercise daily.
While bulldogs as a breed appear lazy, anyone around one for long-enough knows that a bulldog can have intense activity levels and energy when motivated. They are anaerobic by nature, meaning that they have a short, explosive energy burst with extra time needed to recover.
Any activity that gets your bulldog moving is a significant first step. Keep in mind that this can be an interactive process for each of you, one that you can do for the benefits of exercise and bonding at the same time.
Think about different ways you can play games with your pet while you get them to exercise, but if you need some help, we have a few suggestions to consider.
Our top suggestions for getting your bulldog enough exercise are:
Walking: All dogs, regardless of breed, enjoy exploring their surroundings. Taking a daily walk will scratch their itch of exploring their surroundings, stimulate the dogs’ minds, and get them the exercise they need. Your walks should be long enough to get your bulldog’s heart rate up, let them explore the area, and not be too rigorous. 30-40 minutes is ideal at any one time.
Tug-of-war: As a species, bulldogs have a powerful jaw and bite, making a game such as a tug-of-war an ideal way to get your dog some exercise.
Wrestling: Dogs of all types use wrestling and play as a way to create social bonds with others, establish hierarchies, stimulate their minds, and learn what is socially acceptable behavior with each other.
Getting down on your bulldog’s level and wrestling with them is a fun way for you both to bond and get them the exercise that they need.
Visit the dog park: As we mentioned, wrestling and jumping around with other dogs is a way for your bulldog to learn socialization and expend some energy as well. Let your pup run wild until they get tired and head home. The total duration of time spent running around with other dogs should be based on your bulldog’s biological age and overall health and should not exceed more than one hour.
Fetch: The key to playing fetch with a bulldog is to be sure not to throw the toy or ball too far. At first, your bulldog will burst with energy to chase the toy, but as bulldogs are anaerobic animals, they’ll burn out too quickly. In order to get sustained exercise, it’s better to toss the ball not too far away and have your pet do shorter bursts of activity.
Before you begin running a boot camp for your bulldog, understand that their exercise needs are different at various life stages and their overall conditioning. For example, puppies may only need 30 minutes of activity at a time, and even those 30 minutes should not be continuous high-intensity for the entire duration.
Instead, you should think about ⅓ of the time being intense running or other activity, while the other portion of the time you’re doing slower, more sustained activities. Older dogs should have a similar exercise routine, though midlife adults can go for up to an hour with the same 1:3 ratio.
Keep in mind that bulldogs are known to experience hip dysplasia, a condition where the ball and socket of the hip don’t function as they should, leading to discomfort and immobility,
Over time, hip dysplasia may become debilitating, impacting the quality of life for your dog. Diagnosis, proper nutrition, and maintenance are ways to mitigate the issue, though medical procedures may be necessary in some cases.
Another consideration is that due to their short, stubby snouts, bulldogs may have some respiratory issues in severe, inclement weather.
The Importance Of Proper Nutrition For Your Bulldog
Just as feeding yourself and your children proper nutrition, it’s just as essential to providing your dog the right food type. Dogs need to have the right balance of protein, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins, and water every day.
Proper nutrition assists your dog with maintaining the right body weight, energy levels, as well as giving the body the useful tools to regenerate and heal.
Benefits of good nutrition in your bulldog’s diet include:
- Strengthen Muscle Tone
- Repair and maintain the skeletal-muscular system
- Build and repair teeth and bones
- Increase energy levels for everyday activities
- Balance the digestive system
- Enhance the immune system to ward off illness and infection
The protein in your dog’s diet helps build, repair, and maintain your dog’s muscular system. Proteins are the building blocks of life and are critical to your dog’s overall health. It’s thought that for every pound your dog weighs, they require 2 grams of protein in their diet.
Carbohydrates act as an energy source that can be fast-acting, allowing your dog to be active. Carbohydrates aid with digestion since they provide fiber to your dog’s diet. Additionally, carbohydrates may have some antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins as an additional benefit.
Fats serve as delayed energy stores instead of the faster burning carbohydrates that provide primary energy sources. Fats also assist with your dog’s mental function, give their coat the sheen and shine, as well as keep their skin and coat healthy.
Vitamins and minerals act to boost the immune system, help with muscle contraction and assist with nerve function.
Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and zinc all provide different benefits, but in general, minerals aid in fighting infection, promote bone and teeth growth and help in overall health.
Water is singularly the most important nutrient of your dog’s diet. Water helps regulate body temperature, transport nutrients throughout the endocrine system, assists with nerve function, assists metabolism, and helps the body eliminate waste.
A well-balanced diet from a high-quality food will keep your bulldog healthy, limit the chance of chronic illness, and provide for a happy, long life.
Why Your Bulldog’s Food Ingredients List Is Important
Selecting the right type of food for your bulldog, coupled with regular exercise and water, is essential for their health and happiness.
Dog food manufacturers focus on making the food as digestible as possible, making it easier for your dog to absorb all the necessary nutrients in their food and help with digestion.
When looking over the ingredients listed on your dog’s food, it should name one or multiple protein sources.
And to maximize your dog’s food’s nutritional value, you must understand the ingredients list first. A close examination of the ingredients should find items such as pure protein sources with limited grain and other fillers is a good indicator of food quality.
Clean, natural ingredients eliminate concerns over potential health issues for your dog. The purity of ingredients will help mitigate allergies or other health concerns for your pup to give them the best quality of life.
Your dog food selection should take into account various amounts of and types of macronutrients. Macronutrients are the largest sources of nutrients and calories derived from protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
So why do clean ingredients matter for your dog, and how could it impact their health?
Additives may impair some of the dog’s ability to digest the food, may leave your bulldog more sluggish (yes, that’s a thing), and may cause health issues in time.
Bulldogs especially are prone to food allergies at various stages of their life, so finding the right mix of nutrition and satisfying your dog’s individual taste is essential for their health and happiness.
Additionally, some “human foods” can be toxic for your dog and may lead to serious illness. Typically the types of seasonings we use on our food are toxic for dogs, and by sharing our food with them, we are possibly making them sick.
Foods such as alcohol, avocado, grapes, onions, garlic, caffeine, milk and dairy products, macadamia nuts, chocolate, fat trimmings and bones, salt, and sugar are all problems for your dog. They may be toxic and lead to digestive and other health problems.
When reading the ingredients list that is ideal for your bulldog’s nutritional health:
- Look for quality meats such as chicken, fish, beef, or lamb, and don’t list “meal” as their primary source of proteins
- “Meat Meal” is code for fillers of unknown sources as well as from grains such as soy, corn, or wheat, and may lead to allergies for your bulldog
- Avoid brands with soy in the ingredient list, as some bulldogs are allergic.
- Avoid fillers such as corn, wheat, and other grains
- Avoid healthy fats other than those from good sources such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, sesame, and hemp seeds
A healthy mix of meat, grains, fruits, and fats are what your dog needs, and getting the proper amount of minerals and vitamins will be a byproduct.
Selecting The Right Meal Plan For Your Bulldog
Unlike cats, dogs are not strictly carnivores. They may eat a combination of meats, some grains, even fruits, and vegetables.
Most dog food is manufactured as dry food or wet canned food, and high-quality manufacturers adhere to strict regulations that other lesser quality manufacturers may skirt.
Dogs, though they tend to be less picky than you or your child may be, are just like people; they have individual tastes and preferences.
Your bulldog may like wet food more than dry food. While wet food is more comfortable to eat, there are added benefits to dry kibbles. Depending on your bulldog’s age, dry food is less messy and can be used in multiple ways, such as a treat during exercise and training.
When you are researching the right meal plan for your bulldog, consider your dog’s age, physical fitness, and preferences as crucial in the decision-making process as the ingredient list.
The dog food brand should have a list of ingredients approved by veterinarians. The better brands will offer certifications, offer transparent food labels, and provide some other guarantees such as a money-back opportunity.
Your dog has a unique personality just like you do, and their food choices and preferences can change over time. For example, the dry food that you feed your puppy may be ignored by your fully grown bulldog.
There are a few different reasons that your bulldog may appear to be fickle with their food.
One reason is that as they age, so do their taste buds, especially if they’ve been “spoiled” with eating scraps or other human food.
While it’s a nice gesture to give your dogs treats, human food isn’t composed for the optimal nutrition of a dog, and as we discussed, the seasonings we use may be toxic for your dog.
Another problem is that bulldogs as a breed are prone to developing food allergies over their lives. There are two types of allergies that a bulldog develops, food intolerance and food allergies.
The most common symptom of food intolerance in dogs is excessive scratching and upset digestive tracts.
Check with a veterinarian to see if your dog is suffering from food intolerance or other health issues. Causes of food intolerance stem from different protein forms, and a dietary specialist can identify and treat the cause.
Food allergies are usually associated with grains and other fillers found in most dog foods. Symptoms of food allergies and intolerance may appear similar, from digestive distress to excessive itching.
However, other symptoms such as hives and swelling in the face, vomiting, and diarrhea may also be signs of food allergies, though check with a veterinarian to be sure it isn’t a more severe issue.
When putting your dog’s meal plan together, keep an eye on how they react to the food. If you believe that there may be some food-borne allergies or intolerance, bring that up with your vet as soon as possible.
Your obligation is to provide a safe, healthy environment that nurtures your bulldog’s development as a pet parent.
High-quality food brands or companies pride themselves on transparency in their food labels. Pure foods should be listed by name, such as chicken or salmon, carrots, peas, and other vegetables.
The purpose of listing foods is that vegetables, protein, and others provide more nutritional value than processed sources in their original state.
Supporting a dog food brand or company that is socially conscious is perhaps as important as the ingredients on the food list. A manufacturer that works for all dogs’ betterment, while being environmentally friendly, is a manufacturer that you can have confidence in their product.
These traits are important because their actions show a genuine interest in all dogs’ well-being and that philosophy would guide one in how responsible they are with their product offering.
Another thing is that being aware of the purity of ingredients in dog food, combined with your bulldog’s preferences, age, and physical conditioning, is crucial to choosing the right type of dog food.
There are so many things that can impact your pup’s health. Getting them the right amount of exercise and the proper nutrition provides them the best opportunity for long, healthy lives.
Your bulldog makes you so happy, and by focusing on their health, you return the favor, building lifelong bonds and enhancing your pup’s health.
From providing enough exercise, regular check-ups, and finding the right type of nutrition for your bulldog, you’re providing them with the best quality of life for both you and your dog.