The Bulldog is easily one of the most recognizable dogs out there, easy to spot by his short, broad stature and his wrinkled skin. But Bulldogs are more than just wrinkles – they also have friendly and fun-loving personalities that makes them a great choice for a family pet. The Bulldog is a medium-sized breed that has been around for 500 years. These dogs were originally bred for bull baiting, but today they are known to be faithful family companions and household pets. These dogs are easy to care for, though they do have some special needs when it comes to heat and exercise. Due to their heavy build and shortened facial structure, they are prone to overheating and cannot tolerate rigorous exercise. Another interesting fact about Bulldogs is that they can’t swim.
Bulldogs have short, stubby legs and a stocky build. They have large heads covered in loose, wrinkled skin and a slightly awkward bow-legged gait. Despite their somewhat odd appearance, however, these dogs are some of the most gentle and loving dogs you’ll ever meet. Bulldogs typically weight between 40 and 50 pounds and there isn’t an exact standard for height.
General Nutritional Recommendations
Just like humans, dogs require a blend of protein, fat, and carbohydrate in their diet. Unlike humans, however, dogs are mostly carnivorous which means that the majority of their nutrition should come from animal-based sources. Protein is the most important nutrient for all dogs, including Bulldogs, and it should comprise at least 18% of your adult dog’s diet and 22% of your puppy’s diet. High-quality sources of protein include fresh meats, poultry, eggs, and fish. These are also complete proteins which means that they contain all 10 essential amino acids that your dog needs. Essential amino acids are those your dog’s body cannot synthesize on its own, so they must come from his diet. A quality source of complete, animal-based protein should always be the first ingredient in whatever dog food you choose.
In addition to ensuring that your Bulldog’s needs for protein are met, you also want to make sure he gets the right amount of fat. You may think of fat as a bad thing, but it provides your dog with concentrated energy as well as essential fatty acids to promote nutrient absorption and to protect his immune system. Fat is particularly important for puppies to sustain their fast growth, though protein is a requirement for that as well. Like proteins, fats in your Bulldog’s diet should come from animal-based sources – some quality examples include salmon oil and chicken fat. Plant-based fats are not necessarily bad for your dog but they offer lower bioavailability. They can, however, work with animal fats to provide a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
In terms of carbohydrate, your Bulldog doesn’t have any specific dietary requirements. In fact, you should be worried about your dog getting too much carbohydrate rather than too little. Look for dog food formulas that don’t contain more than 5% crude fiber as a guideline. When it comes to the right kinds of carbohydrate for your Bulldog, make sure it comes from a digestible source. Digestible carbohydrates for dogs include whole grains, beans, legumes, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and white potatoes. Your dog can also get supplementary fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables and various supplemental fibers. Some of the best whole grains for dogs include brown rice, whole grain oats, and whole pearled barley.
Not only do you need to make sure that your Bulldog’s needs for protein, fat, and carbohydrate are met, but he also needs a specific list of vitamins and minerals. Many dog food formulas contain synthetic vitamins and minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition, but that isn’t always the best way to go. Natural sources of vitamins and minerals (like fresh fruit and vegetables) offer higher bioavailability for your dog which means that his body will be able to absorb those nutrients better than it would absorb synthetic supplements. A high-quality dog food for your Bulldog will probably contain both – some natural sources for key nutrients with synthetic supplements to ensure balance. You should also look for a recipe made with probiotics for digestive support and avoid recipes made with any artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Special Dietary and Nutritional Considerations
Though some might consider the Bulldog a small dog, their tendency to put on weight easily increases their risk for obesity so you want to avoid choosing a dog food recipe with too much fat for your Bulldog. This means that a small-breed formula is probably not the best choice. Unfortunately, most dog food brands only offer small-breed and large-breed formulas, so you might not be able to find a recipe for medium-sized dogs. This being the case, you should look for a high-quality dog food formula designed for adult dogs. Avoid recipes made specifically for active and working breeds because these will be too high in fat for your Bulldog. At the same time, a low-calorie or weight reduction formula probably isn’t necessary unless your Bulldog actually is overweight.
One of the best ways to ensure that your Bulldog gets the energy he needs without going overboard on calories is to calculate his daily needs according to weight. The average dog needs about 30 calories per pound of bodyweight which would put your Bulldog in the range of 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day. You must keep in mind, however, that Bulldogs are not as active as most dogs, so they won’t burn as many calories. This being the case, your Bulldog might only need 20 calories per pound of bodyweight, putting his daily range somewhere between 800 and 1,000. While your Bulldog puppy is growing, it is probably best to err on the higher end of the spectrum to avoid stunted growth. Once he reaches his adult size, however, you might need to scale back.
In most cases, a balanced adult dog formula will be sufficient to meet your Bulldog’s nutritional needs. There are, however, a few nutritional considerations you might want to take into account. For example, your Bulldog might benefit from a recipe made with higher levels of glucosamine and chondroitin – two supplements that help to support bone and joint health. Your Bulldog’s shortened stature and heavy build will put a lot of strain on his joints. Some Bulldogs are also prone to food allergies or sensitivities which could cause digestive issues. One way to deal with this is to switch your Bulldog to a grain-free formula or to try a limited ingredient diet (LID). If you aren’t sure which ingredient your dog is allergic to, switch to an LID made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate and stick to it for about 12 weeks, or until all signs of the allergy have disappeared. Then you can introduce potential allergens one at a time until you find the culprit then simply choose a dog food that doesn’t contain that ingredient. You can also just keep feeding your Bulldog the LID.