Bulldogs may not look like the most delicate of the canine family but they are one of the best loved. Whether it’s good old British Bulldogs or their French cousins, ensuring the right diet is crucial to maintaining a healthy and happy pooch.
Understanding what goes in to a bulldog is more than simply filling its bowl with some water and any generic brand of dog food from the supermarket shelf.
What do Bulldogs Need?
Bulldogs, like their human companions, are omnivores. This means that they need a good combination of amino acids, fats, minerals and carbohydrates.
Sadly, finding the right balance is not always as easy as looking at the back of a packet of dog food, though this is a good place to start.
Many owners debate whether it is better to offer dry or wet food. Both have their benefits. Some opt to making the food from scratch.
In fact, use of a homemade meals does not preclude offering dry food, as it can provide an excellent way to work teeth and gums and maintain oral hygiene.
There are many recipes available, both online and in good old hardcopy books, suggesting ways to make kibble (dry food) or something a little juicer.
Nutritional needs can vary throughout a dog’s life and bulldogs are no exception. This means that where the homemade meal is prepared it should not be treated as a quick or cheap fix. Special attention should be made to ensure the ingredients are varied from day to day to ensure a balance of minerals and vitamins.
Whether buying or making a bulldog’s meal, it is always prudent to avoid unnecessary ingredients containing gluten as this is a noted allergy in English bulldogs.
How much is too much?
Of course, bulldogs wouldn’t be so beloved if it wasn’t for their ability to make anyone they look at melt with a simple glance.
As a result some owners can find themselves offering more food than is necessary in response to those pining looks. As with most breeds of dog, bulldogs will just try to eat and eat and they can become their own worst enemy.
A simple rule of thumb is to offer food to adult dogs twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. Amounts will vary with the size, age and activity level so always try to respond to what will benefit the dog’s health.
If in any doubt, consult a vet for advice.
Do Bulldogs need Supplements?
If supplements are used, care should be exercised to not over or under prescribe their use.
That said, often simply doing some research about what different foods contain may be sufficient to work out whether a little something extra from the drugstore is needed.
A perfect example of a ready made supplement is eggs.
Containing a high level of Omega 3 oils and many other vitamins, eggs are easily digested and their benefits fully absorbed by a bulldogs body.
This makes them a great no-brainer when choosing what to add to the dog’s bowl.
Cod liver oil is another really useful ingredient to add to the mix. A no nonsense addition to their diet, Cod liver oil can be used from the moment a puppy begins solid food.
As with humans, the oil is excellent for joints and is especially suited to bulldogs who go through a number of arthritic changes within the first eighteen months of life. High in vitamins A and D, the oil also contributes to a healthy looking coat and positively impacts upon the health of the heart, teeth, skin and ears.
In terms of pure supplements, a vet’s advice should always be sought. Often they may recommend Ester C, a more readily absorbed form of regular vitamin C.
This of course is great for the immune system, but it also protects the development of joints and hips, hopefully reducing the prevalent risk of Hip displacement amongst bulldogs.
To further protect against hip and joint problems, Dasuquin has also been touted as having a superb effect on bulldogs.
Treats can be a joy to offer the obedient hound but they should be used judiciously. Again these can be homemade in order to have a better understanding of how each one impacts upon the dog’s overall health.
Just bear in mind that it is the fats and sugars that appeal to the bulldog, so whilst they should be used in moderation, without those special ingredients, that old dog may well not be interested in performing for just another dry biscuit.
Never offer any dog macadamia or walnuts as these contain toxins that affect the rear legs.
Peanuts and Cashews may be given, though be cautious as some dogs may react adversely to these too.
Finally, whether purchasing ready made food, trying an expert’s recipe or putting something together from scratch, always monitor your dog when introducing a new food and if there are any issues, discontinue immediately and consult a vet.