Edited by: Mike Powell
When it comes to raising a well-behaved, happy, and healthy dog, one thing makes a huge difference – the right nutrition. Sure, there are other things that come into play, but exercise, training, comfort, and other factors won’t be nearly as effective if your pup isn’t getting the nutrients they need from their dog food.
The right food should be made of quality ingredients, provide enough protein to maintain muscle, the right carbohydrates to keep your pup active, and contain as little artificial stuff in it as possible. This will ensure your pup stays as healthy and strong as possible, and will also benefit you – think fewer vet visits, less money spent, and a much happier pet!
In this article we’ll check out the best dry dog foods on the market for your bulldog (whether English, American, or French!). Bulldogs are brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs, so their requirements are slightly different to others. We’ll cover all you need to know about providing your brachy the best food for his breed!
Table Of Contents
- 1 Featured Recommendations
2 10 Best Dog Food For Bulldogs
- 2.1 1. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- 2.2 2. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food
- 2.3 3. Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- 2.4 4. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Reduced Fat Dog Food
- 2.5 5. Nutro Limited Ingredient Dog Food
- 2.6 6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach
- 2.7 7. Diamond Naturals Premium Dry Dog Food
- 2.8 8. Natural Balance Dog Food
- 2.9 9. Blue Buffalo Adult Dog Food
- 2.10 10. Taste Of The Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
- 3 Testing Protocal & Criteria Used For Evaluation
4 Questions & Answers
- 4.1 What ingredients make dog food great for bulldogs?
- 4.2 What are the key elements to a balanced diet for bulldogs?
- 4.3 What are some health concerns that I should be worried about for my bulldog?
- 4.4 How much food does a bulldog need?
- 4.5 What many times a day should I feed my bulldog?
- 4.6 What vegetables should bulldogs eat?
10 Best Dog Food For Bulldogs
1. Nature’s Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Best Overall For Bulldogs: Health-Promoting and Affordable
Bulldog owners can feed this to their pup happily, knowing that they’ll be getting quality nutrition. It’s grain-free, contains no artificial anything, and has protein and fat levels that are optimal for your bulldog adult.
Their kibble size is also perfectly adequate for dogs with smaller (or flatter) faces). If your bulldog is moderately active, this food has the perfect nutrients to keep them healthy and fit. It might seem a little pricey, but it is fairly on-par with other quality foods.
Nutrient-Packed and Low Calorie
The protein and fat levels in Nature’s Recipe are perfect for bulldogs. As they are prone to overeating and tend to gain weight easily, a protein content between 24 and 30% is enough to keep their muscles strong but not pack on the kilos. The same goes for the fat content. This food comes in at 27% protein and 12% fat, which are great numbers to keep your bully well-nourished but not overweight. At 337 calories a cup, it’s packed with nutrients and should be quite filling without being too calorie dense.
As their name suggests, their ingredients are natural and high-quality. Real meat is first on the list, with quality fruits and vegetables following. You should note that even the flavours other than chicken contain poultry fat, so if your pup reacts badly to chicken, this may not be the food for them! If you spotted taurine on the ingredient list, it may spike your concern as it has received some controversial press about its presence in grain-free dog food. Don’t worry, though – there is no conclusive evidence that it’s bad for your pet, so you can rest easy feeding this to your bulldog.
With zero artificial ingredients, this food is already above many. They have added a few helpful vitamins and minerals, which can go a long way towards keeping your bulldog in good health. Calcium and phosphorus help keep your pup’s bones and teeth strong, Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids give their coat a healthy shine and keep joints lubricated, and added antioxidants contribute to overall health. Their analysis also reveals a decent glucosamine level, which helps support your bulldog’s joints (as they can be prone to dislocating knees and elbows!)
2. The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Dehydrated Grain Free Dog Food
Best For Senior Bulldogs
This is a “dry” dog food with a bit of a difference.
Instead of your regular kibble, this is a dehydrated food that contains all the same nutrients. Dehydrated food is quite easily digestible, which makes this a great choice for senior bulldogs who may have quite sensitive tummies. If you’re the owner of a senior bulldog, you will most likely be aware that crunching on kibble can be harder for them as they get older.
This food is great for the older bullys out there – easy to eat, easy on the stomach, and easy to pay for too – it’s one of the most affordable out there!
With 24% protein, this is quite all right for your bulldog’s diet. The crude fat content comes in at 15%, which is good for pups that are prone to weight gain (like most bulldogs). The calorie count is slightly on the high side, at 446 calories per cup, so you will need to monitor how much you’re feeding your dog, especially if he or she is a little less active.
The Honest Kitchen’s food is manufactured in a human food facility and meets the standards set by the FDA for human food. Everything from their ingredients to their manufacturing processes are human-grade, which means that technically you could have a bowl of it for breakfast! They use high-quality natural ingredients that are dehydrated, making this a pretty nutritionally dense food. No by-products, preservatives, or artificial stuff makes this a great natural meal. It’s worth noting that although this food is grain-free, they do have other options containing grains, but they’re organic and dehydrated and should be all good for your pet to digest. You can rest assured that even though this food looks different, it’s still super high-quality.
Hydration for Inactive Pups
One of the awesome things about this food is that it’s great for keeping your dog’s water intake up. Dogs who aren’t very active can sometimes not drink as much as they should, and the fact that you add water to this food is quite helpful for keeping your pooch hydrated. Because a 10lb bag of this food makes 40lb of food, it’s also quite affordable, which is a bonus!
3. Merrick Grain Free Dry Dog Food
Best For Active Bulldogs
There’s no denying the quality of Merrick’s dog food, as they use natural, healthy, whole ingredients and real meat.
This particular food is great for active dogs, as the ingredient list more than satisfies your dog’s protein and carbohydrate needs, maintaining muscle mass and providing great energy. It also contains some useful extras (nothing artificial) to keep him as healthy as possible. The protein content in this food is a little high at 446 calories per cup, so as long as your active bulldog works it off this will be a great, high-quality food for him.
High Protein for Highly Active Pups
The ingredients in Merrick’s food are easily digestible, as they’re whole, healthy foods. The absence of grains in the food helps quite a bit with that too! The fat content is pretty decent, at 15%. The protein content is high (38%), and comes from a few different sources. We’ve labelled this food as being best for active bulldogs – with a protein count in the high 30s and a high calorie count, your bulldog will benefit best from it if he gets plenty of exercise. Inactivity will send those calories straight to your bulldog’s hips!
Wholesome, Natural Ingredients
As you will already have seen, Merrick’s food contains wholesome, healthy ingredients. Real meat is ingredient number one, which is always a sign of a quality dog food. Lamb meal is another protein source, which is easily digested. Healthy fruits and veggies make up the carb content.. They use natural preservatives (mixed tocopherols), so there’s nothing artificial in there! Be aware that some of their foods may contain poultry in the form of chicken meal or chicken fat (even if the main protein is something different), so check it out before you buy if your dog is sensitive to poultry!
Their food contains some good stuff apart from the actual food ingredients. Omega-3 and -6 levels are high, and the added glucosamine and chondroitin always helps keep joints supple! You may worry when you see long words like dried enterococcus faecium fermentation product, but this is simply a probiotic that helps digestion (as are the other similar long words on the label). Also, their kibble size is a little on the smaller side, which can make life easier for brachys with little mouths like bulldogs.
4. Wellness Core Natural Grain-Free Reduced Fat Dog Food
Best For Young Bulldogs
Wellness Core is a relatively new brand when compared to others, but their quality is on-par with more well-known brands.
This product offers some super nutrient values, and we recommend it for young bulldogs as the protein count will help build strong, healthy muscles as they’re growing and the low fat percentage will help keep the pounds off (which is essential to start paying attention to from a young age). Although Wellness Core’s food is a little pricey, you’ll be getting a lot of quality for your cash.
Great Nutrient Content
33% protein is a little higher than your bulldog needs, although the calorie count is great at 360 per cup. The fat content is superb, at 10%. These two numbers are great for young, growing bulldogs – you can’t start healthy nutrition too early. There’s also quite a bit of fibre in this food, coming in at 12%. The carb count is made up of whole vegetables and fruits, which isn’t reflected on the analysis label but makes a significant difference in the nutritional value of the food. The beauty of this food is that you can get a lifetime of benefit out of it – it’s fantastic for young bulldogs, but it will still more than satisfy their needs as they get older.
Real Meat First
Real meat comes first, and then two sources of meat meal (turkey and chicken) which up the protein count. There are a good few veggies and fruits in here, which come in a little lower down the list but contribute plenty towards the quality of this product. Broccoli, carrots, blueberries, kale, and sweet potatoes are just some of what’s in it! Young dogs will benefit from the protein as well as getting plenty of energy from the great carb sources.
The product is naturally preserved using mixed tocopherols, so you don’t have to worry about unhealthy preservatives sneaking in there. Flaxseed oil and salmon oil are natural, healthy Omega fatty acids, and the superfood vegetables add a dash of antioxidant. Glucosamine and chondroitin are always a welcome addition, and go a long way towards stabilising and strengthening your pooch’s joints, especially in a high-protein food.
5. Nutro Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Best Low Protein Food
Nutro has a “Feed Clean” philosophy, and aim to make all of their limited ingredient foods with 10 or fewer ingredients (excluding vitamins and minerals).
They also make sure to avoid grains, artificial stuff, and chicken and beef, in order to keep potential allergies to an absolute minimum. They also guarantee a soft, shiny coat … And if that doesn’t happen, you get your money back! This food is great for bulldogs who need to be on a lower protein diet. This can be due to health reasons (usually recommended by a vet).
Low Protein, Low Fat
With 20% protein, this is below the average for bulldogs but it’s great if yours needs less protein. 14% fat is a great number, although the calorie count of 430 per cup is a little high considering the lower nutrients counts. Various health ailments can be improved by feeding a low-protein diet, so the protein content here is not a problem even though it is lower than the recommended count. If your bulldog suffers from kidney or liver problems or skin allergies, a lower protein option could help.
Wholesome, natural ingredients
The few ingredients in this food are fairly good quality. Deboned lamb is number one on the list, followed by lamb meal, both of which are good protein sources. Chickpeas, dried potatoes, dried sweet potatoes, and lentils are the next few ingredients – all wholesome, healthy vegetables. Canola oil and sunflower oil are generally seen as lower quality oils, but they shouldn’t cause any adverse effects. Dried beet pulp is slightly controversial, but it’s a good source of fibre and energy.
The presence of chelated minerals in this food helps with digestion. Mixed tocopherols and citric acids are used as preservatives, which are completely natural. The lamb is sourced from Australia and New Zealand, so you can be sure it’s high-quality! Although there is no added glucosamine or the like, the limited ingredient philosophy often extends to additions such as vitamins as well, so we can’t complain.
6. Purina Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach
Best For Bulldogs With Sensitive Stomachs
Purina is a well-known brand, and this is their offering for sensitive stomachs (which many a bulldog has).
It’s NOT a grain-free formula, but it steers clear of the main allergy culprits – wheat, corn, and soy.
Although they don’t use vegetables as their carb sources as many of the others on this list do, they avoid artificial stuff and have good protein and fat numbers. If you have a dog with a bit of a sensitive disposition or who suffers from allergies, and you prefer to stick to something with grains, our testing shows that this is one of the best options for bulldogs with sensitive stomachs.
Good Protein and Fat Percentages
26% protein is right in the zone for bulldogs, and 16% fat is an acceptable number. The moisture content seems to be ever so slightly higher than others, with crude fibre coming in at 4%, which is pretty average. It’s one of the highest calorie foods on the list at 490 calories per cup, so be careful to give your pup the right amount for his weight.
Real Meat and Grains
In comparison to others, this food is of slightly lower ingredient quality. The biggest difference is the lack of fruits and vegetables, although their protein sources are good quality. They get points for having real meat as ingredient number one, and although vegetables are more often used these days, oatmeal and barley are generally considered to be fairly easily digestible carb sources. Brewers rice is the most eyebrow-raising ingredient here, as it is considered to be of little to no nutritional value to a pet. “Animal fat” is the next, as it’s too vague to be able to tell whether or not it’s good quality! If your dog has no problems with grains, though, this food should be quite all right for them.
The addition of fish oil and egg products give the food a pretty nice Omega-3 and -6 content, which promotes overall health and wellbeing. Fish meal (which also adds a little dose of protein) is a good source of glucosamine, which many of these foods don’t have on their guaranteed analysis list. Their Sensitive Stomach formulas come with either lamb or salmon as their protein source, which means the chances of allergies to the protein are far less as these two are great sources.
7. Diamond Naturals Premium Dry Dog Food
Best Value For Money
Diamond Naturals are the pick for best value for money as you can get a 40lb bag for less than $40, which is quite noticeably less than most others.
While this is reflected somewhat in their ingredient quality, the protein and fat levels of this food are quite adequate to fulfil a bulldog’s dietary requirements. They also contain no corn, soy, or wheat, although even their beef product does contain chicken fat.
Low Calorie with a Great Protein Count
The numbers are pretty good here, with 25% protein and 15% fat. At 337 calories a cup, this is also one of the lowest calorie foods we’ve found, while still keeping a great protein content. We attribute this to the fact that beef meal is used instead of real meat, but it’s a good option for pups who need to keep an eye on their weight while still getting the nutrients they need!
No Real Meat, But Quality Protein Sources
Although the Diamond Naturals has no real meat in it, the ingredients are fairly decent. Beef meal has a higher protein content than fresh meat, so it’s an acceptable protein source, although fresher is better! Rice bran, although not particularly nutritionally dense, is a good source of fiber. There are a good few vegetables and fruits in there too, although they are further down the ingredient list, meaning they are not there in large amounts.
Flaxseed and chia seeds up the Omega fatty acid levels, and Diamond Naturals enhance their foods with K9 Strain probiotics for easier digestion and absorption. The vegetables that are included in this formula are considered to be superfoods, which means they have antioxidant properties too.
8. Natural Balance Dog Food
Best Limited Ingredient Food
This food is quite a nice one for bulldogs, as it’s low in fat and fairly low calorie too.
Your bulldog will get more than enough nutrients without adding unnecessary calories to his diet, so it’s a great one to feed your pup from when he or she is young. Natural Balance Pet Foods company was created by actor Dick van Patten, who was known for doing charitable work for many animal organisations during his lifetime (including founding National Guide Dog Month in 2008!).
They were also one of the first companies to create limited ingredient foods. They do have quite a few nice flavours in their limited ingredient range too!
Low Protein, Low Calorie
This is a lower-everything kind of food, which is kind of the point of a limited ingredient product! The protein count sits at 21%, which is adequate, and the fat content is perfect for the average not-so-active bulldog, at 10%. At 350 calories per cup, this is also lower on the calorie count than some others, which is always good for less active pups.
Limited But Wholesome Ingredients
The ingredients are fairly good quality, with sweet potato at the top of the list. This is a quality carb and also adds a good bit of fibre to your dog’s diet. Salmon comes next, with menhaden fish meal following, two good sources of protein. There are plenty of chelated minerals in this food, but that’s nothing at all to worry about – in fact, they can help make digestion easier.
Flaxseed and salmon oil add essential amino acids, which promote health, brain function, and a sleek and shiny coat! There aren’t many extra vitamins or minerals added (in keeping with the limited ingredient philosophy), but their foods are certified safe by qualified microbiologists and the results of tests are shared on their website.
9. Blue Buffalo Adult Dog Food
Best For Overweight Bulldogs
Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight is great for bulldogs who are overweight and may need to be on a more strict diet.
If this sounds like your pooch, this food would be a great option as it uses a single source protein (in two different forms – turkey meat and turkey meal), and contains decent carbs. It does contain grains, but health ones (oatmeal and brown rice). It’s relatively average in terms of calories, which is great as its right in the zone for dogs who need to lose or maintain weight.
Great Nutrient Levels
20% protein may not be enough for some, but certain dogs do require less protein in their diets so this one is well worth taking a look at. The fat level is fantastic for bulldogs, at 9%. A cup of Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight will give your pup around 350 calories, which is fairly average but over a long period of time will make quite a difference in your pup’s weight and health.
Quality Ingredients Including Grains
The ingredients are pretty decent, with real meat being upfront and the same meat meal added in there for a little more protein. Real fruits and veggies also feature in this one, although they take a back seat to oatmeal and brown rice as carb sources. These are all fairly easily digestible ingredients, which is helpful for bulldogs’ sensitive dispositions. The only 2 ingredients that may be slightly controversial are dicalcium phosphate (a form of phosphorus) and canola oil (a lower quality oil than some). It’s up to you to do your own research though – the amounts of these in dog food aren’t necessarily bad for your dog.
This recipe contains Blue’s LifeSource Bits, which are which are made up of a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This kibble also contains l-carnitine, which is a healthy amino acid which helps convert calories to energy. Glucosamine and chondroitin are once again a good addition here, as is ascorbic acid (a source of Vitamin C).
10. Taste Of The Wild Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
High Quality, High Protein
Taste of the Wild is a high-protein, grain-free kibble that would be a great food for active, energetic bulldogs.
This food aims to strike a balance between what your dog would eat if they were a wild, roaming canine, and the dog food that domesticated pets eat, which makes it packed full of nutrients but also quite high in calories. The variety of protein sources and healthy vegetables and fruits is great, but the calorie count is what makes this one best for energetic bulldogs who get plenty of exercise.
High Calorie for Active Dogs
The protein in this food is at 32%, which is higher than your bulldog would need (especially if he only gets moderate exercise). The crude fat (18%) is also slightly on the high side. That’s not to say this wouldn’t be suitable for a bulldog, though – you just need to make sure it would do well for YOUR bulldog. If she is healthy, energetic, and enjoys some bouncy, playful exercise, this food would work quite well for her. At 370 calories a cup, this is slightly more calorie-friendly than other foods with the same or similar protein counts.
Multiple Protein Sources
The ingredients in Taste of the Wild’s foods are natural, with no fillers or artificial things thrown in there. They tend to use a few protein sources in each flavour, so if your pup is sensitive to poultry, don’t assume that the product is poultry-free until you’ve checked the ingredient list. You’ll also see a few meat “meals”, which is a meat concentrate that is super high in protein (and easily digestible protein, too). As long as the type of meat is specified, this is a decent quality ingredient.
The fresh fruits and veggies provide a nice dose of antioxidants, and they’ve added some “species-specific” probiotics as well (added after the cooking process to make sure they don’t get cooked away!). Great levels of Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids will give your pet’s coat a lovely shine and keep their skin healthy, as well as keeping them supple. The garbanzo beans also help promote good digestion as they are high in fibre!
Testing Protocal & Criteria Used For Evaluation
Criteria 1 – Ingredient Quality
The quality of what goes into your dog’s food cannot be understated! Would you feed your kiddie food that had zero nutritional value? Most likely not … Why would you do the same to your pet?
The dog food industry is, unfortunately, plagued with cheap, low-quality products that really do your dog more harm than good. The quality of the ingredients are the single most important factor in determining whether or not it is good for your dog’s health. All-natural, fresh ingredients are always the winner here, and real meat is the protein of choice (and should be the first ingredient on a list). Low quality ingredients can have a negative impact on your pet’s health but also on your pet’s mood. Who wants a grumpy pup when you can have a cheery one?
Criteria 2 – Digestibility
Bulldogs have more sensitive stomachs than most people realise, so this is a key factor when it comes to choosing the right food for them.
Digestibility really refers to the amount of nutrients that are absorbed into your dog’s body when they eat the food. It goes without saying that if your pet is only absorbing 50% of the stuff in the food and the other half is going to waste (literally), then what’s the point? Although most foods don’t display the info, a digestibility level of 82% or above are considered high quality. As the info is not readily available, we looked at general health and wellness of dog’s eating the food, as well as the quality and quantity of their poop. Yep – this is a good sign of how easily digestible your dog’s food is!
Criteria 3 – Protein Content
Bulldogs are not the most active of pets out there, and are prone to overeating and putting on weight fairly easily. A protein content of between 24% and 30% is a great number as it’s enough to keep them strong and muscular without adding too much excess weight.
While protein content itself isn’t the main culprit when it comes to weight gain (that would be overfeeding!), the level of protein is makes a difference as it is quite a calorie-dense nutrient. Therefore, the more protein in your dog’s food, the more calories. Apart from that, the protein levels contribute towards growth and strength, and are an essential part of any dog food.
Criteria 4 – Flavour Variety
Our pets have more human qualities than we tend to give them credit for, and they do sometimes get bored with eating the same flavour! They also have their own tastes so while beef flavour might be great for one, another pup might prefer chicken, and so on.
Also, in high-quality foods the flavour is usually based on the protein source. While a dog food may be high-quality, some dogs just don’t deal well with certain ingredients. Even if we aren’t completely aware of which specific thing they’re reacting to, a flavour variety is helpful for cases like this, where you can keep the high-quality product, just change the flavour.
Criteria 5 – Affordability
While we all want to be feeding our pets the best stuff we possibly can, there are some options out there that are just not practical because of their high price tag. What takes a dog food from good to great is a combination of quality and affordability.
The price of an item is not always a true indication of its quality, but it’s a fact that you should expect to pay more for a better quality food. This doesn’t mean you need to break the bank just to feed your pet, though! We’ve added this in here to prove that there are high-quality products out there at a decent cost. Price doesn’t have to stand in the way of your dog getting the best nutrition!
Questions & Answers
What ingredients make dog food great for bulldogs?
Whole, natural ingredients are always best. Bulldogs’ stomachs can be sensitive, so it’s best to avoid grains and artificial ingredients. Real meat should always be the first ingredient, and vegetables and fruits are the best carb sources.
What are the key elements to a balanced diet for bulldogs?
Bulldogs are not the most active of dogs, so they need a moderate protein count (24 – 30%), and a fat content on the lower side (15% or lower). The lower the calories, the better, to prevent weight gain. The carbohydrates should be natural fruits or vegetables. Feeding your dog a balanced diet also depends on their individual needs and things like age, weight, and general health.
What are some health concerns that I should be worried about for my bulldog?
Some health issues that are common to bulldogs (English, American, and French) include brachycephalic syndrome (a group of respiratory problems), elbow and hip dysplasia, skin conditions, cherry eye (a form of conjunctivitis), cataracts (American), hypothyroidism (American), and middle ear inflammation (French).
How much food does a bulldog need?
This really depends on your individual bulldog – their weight, health, and activity level – and the calorie content of the food that they’re eating. Most foods have a handy guide that you can follow to work out exactly how much you should be feeding your dog. If you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to consult your vet.
What many times a day should I feed my bulldog?
Bulldog puppies should be fed four times a day (up to 3 months old). 3 to 6 month-old puppies can have three meals a day, and 6 to 12 month-olds can be fed two meals a day. Thereafter, you can lower it to one meal if you wish, but it’s recommended to stick to 2 meals a day.
What vegetables should bulldogs eat?
You’ll most likely notice that certain vegetables are favoured when it comes to manufacturing dog food. This is because some are great for dogs, and others are toxic. Veggies that are good for bulldogs include carrots, peas, green beans, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. For a more comprehensive list of fruits and vegetables your pup can and can’t eat, check out this article.