Raw feeding is growing in popularity as a lifestyle plan many people have chosen for their dogs. It involves giving your French Bulldog raw meat and fish instead of processed dog food or leftovers. But not just meat… also fruit and vegetables.
If you are interested in finding out the pros and cons of feeding your Frenchie a raw diet, read on. I go into some depth about whether raw food is good for a French Bulldog, how much to feed them, a plan, and some basic recipes.
Before you read too deep though let me get one thing clear; I don’t actually recommend you feed your French Bulldog a 100% raw food diet. To date there has not been any scientific study on the risks or benefits, so I prefer to be on the safe side.
However, I wanted to give you as much of an overview as I possibly can, so please read on.
Is raw dog food good for French Bulldogs?
There can be many benefits to a raw food diet. It can cut out many of the unnecessary ingredients and preservatives added to shop-bought food that can have negative effects on your Frenchie’s health.
However, there are also some risks, including food poisoning, unbalanced diets and even difficulties in chewing and digesting certain raw foods.
Let’s take a closer look at what the disadvantages could be on a raw diet plan.
Is raw feeding better for dogs?
Raw feeding is often lauded as the best option for your dog, but there seem to be just as many drawbacks as there are benefits, with you having to weigh them up depending on your individual dog and your own lifestyle. Plus… your own research!
However, there isn’t (as yet) any research into the benefits and risks. But, in a survey conducted in 2019, 94% of pet owners believed a raw dog food diet to be completely safe (view source).
What a raw diet actually means
Raw feeding often requires more care and attention given to the meal than simply opening a can, and raw diets can easily become unbalanced, lacking the nutrients found in shop-bought food if they do not contain the right amount of vegetables, supplements and organ meat.
Handy Hint: I published a guide explaining what vegetables Frenchies can eat. It contains a huge list of veggies, some of which are safe, some of which could be potentially poisonous.
Because of this, raw diets are best recommended to pet owners who are properly able to spend the time to properly figure out a balanced diet for their French Bulldog.
Many people think it just means feeding your French Bulldog raw meat. This isn’t true and is where the unbalanced diet issues can arise.
You will need to get the 37 essential nutrients your Frenchie needs into the food, plus be able to balance out how much iron and zinc they need in their system to stay healthy.
Proponents for raw feeding often cite raw feeding as the natural way, being that dogs were domesticated from wolves. However, dogs and wolves are not the same animal as they were thousands of years ago, with dogs having evolved through their domestication to adapt to what humans were feeding them.
This means that raw meat alone can actually be detrimental to your dog’s health, as they need additional vitamins, minerals and additional nutrients that they need to survive. French Bulldogs, much like people, need a balanced diet to properly function.
Handy Hint: If you are considering starting to put your Frenchie on a raw diet, please speak to your vet for more information. They will be able to properly recommend a raw diet plan and talk you through the pros and cons of the diet specific to your own pet.
Do French bulldogs eat raw meat?
Yes, French Bulldogs can eat raw meat. As many pet owners are aware, French Bulldogs will eat pretty much anything they can get their paws on. Like all dogs, you could put your French Bulldog on a raw meat diet and might even see benefits due to the lack of allergens that can arise from commercial food.
But like all dogs on a raw meat diet, French Bulldogs need an equally balanced diet of meat, vegetables and other plant-based material to properly get the full range of nutrients needed for their body to healthily function.
French Bulldog raw diet plan
So, what kind of food should you feed your French Bulldog on a raw diet? What are the benefits? And are there any drawbacks or dangers with cutting out ready-made dog food entirely?
Unfortunately nobody is yet to create a French Bulldog raw diet calculator… so, as with all dogs, to ensure that your Frenchie is eating well on a raw diet you will need to make sure that you are feeding them the correct amount and with the correct ratio of meats to grains and vegetables.
As mentioned above, a raw diet will consist of between 25% and 75% meat, depending on your dog’s size and energy level, with the rest being taken up by vegetables, supplements and additional ingredients.
If your Frenchie has particular allergies to common dog food ingredients or additives, feeding them a raw diet can skirt around the worry of them eating a processed meal that contains allergens.
Additionally, certain health issues can also benefit from having a raw diet (read more on WebMD.com).
You need to understand your dog and nutrition
When putting your French Bulldog on a raw diet, setting out a diet plan can be very important. Different dog breeds all come in different shapes and sizes, meaning that different sizes and types of meat need to be chosen so that your Frenchie is able to eat well without any issues.
French Bulldogs, because of their unfortunate history of overbreeding, can suffer from breathing and joint problems, and also are known for having numerous gastrointestinal issues and allergies. For a full list of all their health problems, click here.
Because of this, extra care may have to be taken when feeding your Frenchie, catering to any allergies that they may have.
Raw feeding, therefore, can actually be quite beneficial as it cuts out any additives or extra ingredients added to the recipe during manufacture that may cause an allergic reaction in your Frenchie.
French bulldogs can often suffer from allergies from common dog food preservatives, including Ethoxyqiun, Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) AND Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), which are used in brands such as Purina, Iams, Alpo and Pedigree.
Raw meat, grains, vegetables and supplements are a great combination to create a fully balanced diet that provides them with all of the nutrients that they need.
When feeding your French Bulldog a raw meat diet, most recommend feeding them out of a stainless-steel bowl. Stainless steel is a sterile material, meaning that bacteria cannot be easily transferred, and they are very easy to clean between meals.
Frenchie raw diet recipes
When finding the right mixture of ingredients for your DIY raw dog food, you can actually mix and match to suit your French Bulldog’s personal preferences.
Many raw diet recipes are available online, but what is most important is that you get the right ratio of meat to grains, vegetables and other supplements.
- Meat: dogs can happily eat any kind of raw meat, as long as you remove the fat, the larger bones and the skin from any poultry, which can be unhealthy and even pose a choking hazard to your dog. The heart, lungs, stomach, muscle meat and intestines can all be fed to your dog.
- Organ Meat: organ meat should only take up a small percentage of the meat given at mealtime, at around 5% to 10%. Organ meat is classified as the liver, kidneys, spleen, brain and pancreas.
- Vegetables: dogs are actually omnivorous, and a pure meat diet alone can cause negatives effects on their health. To ensure a balanced diet, vegetables should take up around a 3rd of your dog’s diet. Vegetables that are raw to feed to your dog raw include carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, green beans and asparagus. Celery and spinach can also be included but in smaller amounts.
- Grains: grains don’t just pad out a French Bulldog’s meal, they also provide nutrients. While some dogs do suffer from grain allergies, most can eat them without a problem. Add cooked rice, pasta or other grains to their meal. Never feed your dog uncooked rice, and while some dogs do enjoy chewing on uncooked pasta be sure to keep an eye on them in case they start choking.
- Fruit: as well as vegetables, fruit can provide a great source of vitamins and also taste great. you can even replace shop-bought treats for the occasional piece of fruit. Fruits French Bulldogs can eat include blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, oranges, mangos, melon, bananas and apricots. Your dogs can eat apple but be sure to remove the core first as this can be toxic to dogs (click here for the full list).
- Supplements: to add to their vitamin and mineral intake, as well as improving their digestion and even help to prevent infection, you can add additional supplements to your dog’s meal. Coconut oil, yoghurt and other probiotics help your dog’s digestion and immune system, as well as making their coats look glossier. Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids which can help to treat high cholesterol, arthritis and boost your dog’s immune system.
Raw food to avoid
While everyone knows that chocolate is toxic to dogs, there are in fact many different human-friendly foods that can be majorly harmful to dogs, especially when given to them raw.
Fruit and veg such as avocados, grapes, onions, garlic, chives and raw potatoes are all toxic to dogs (potatoes can be fed to them, but they must be baked or boiled first).
Also, while dogs do love chewing on bones, they can post a choking hazard and sharp shards can cause internal injuries when swallowed. This is why I suggest you never you let your Frenchie chew on rawhide.
How much to feed a French Bulldog on a raw diet
A good basis for a raw meat diet is around 25% to 75% raw meat, with additives such as vegetables, supplements, bones and organ meat taking up the remaining percentage.
This percentage of meat depends heavily on the age, size and energy level of your dog. Typically, once they have grown out of their puppyhood, adult Frenchie’s don’t usually need more than 25% meat as part of their diet.
Handy Hint: Here’s how much food you should be feeding your French Bulldog puppy. It includes an easy to understand feeding chart.
To figure out the portion size for your dog, speak to your vet for a good recommendation, as they will also be able to provide a good estimate for how much raw meat to feed them and inform you about the benefits and negatives of a raw food diet.
What do you feed a puppy on a raw diet?
Have you recently got a new French Bulldog puppy and want to get them on the same raw diet as your other dogs? Or do you simply want to see whether they will be happier and healthier on that kind of diet?
Feeding a puppy a raw diet can be trickier than for adult dogs, as they have different eating habits.
Frenchie puppies typically need to be fed around three to four times a day, while an adult dog only needs to have two meals a day. These meals are smaller, adjusting the amount fed as they grow larger and need more energy for the amount they are burning off.
If your puppy has previously been eating processed, shop-bought dog food, it is important that you transition them slowly, replacing one of their meals with a raw alternative over the course of a few days, until all of the meals they are eating are raw.
This is because their digestive system needs to adapt to the new kind of food.
When they are fully introduced to a raw diet, Frenchie puppies can begin to be given small, softer chews to begin to strengthen their jaw muscles to help them eat tougher meat and bones.
Hard bones shouldn’t be given to puppies until they are older, as they can damage a dog’s teeth, with smaller chicken and duck bones being softer. However, as with all dogs, care should be taken as bones can pose a choking hazard.
If you are interested in introducing your French Bulldog puppy to a raw diet, please speak to your vet who will be able to properly guide you through the transitioning process and suggest a tailored diet plan to your particular dog.
The pros and cons of a raw food diet
Health benefits of a raw diet
1. You know exactly what is in the food
Commercial and processed pet food can contain additional sugars, filler ingredients, preservatives, colours and flavours that may either pose a risk to your dog or simply offer no additional benefits.
By making your own French Bulldog’s food from scratch, you can have complete confidence that you know exactly what your dog is eating and how much.
2. It can be much healthier
By sourcing your own ingredients, you will be able to properly balance out a dog’s ratio of meat to grains and supplements.
Also, a French Bulldog raw diet of freshly sourced ingredients may be better in quality to that used in commercial dog food, as will not contain any additional additives to extend its shelf-life.
3. Possible additional benefits
Whilst there is no scientific evidence, fans of raw dog food diets say it can lead to healthier coats, cleaner teeth, better skin, higher levels of energy, and even smaller stools.
Risks of a raw diet
1. Bacterial infections for your dog (and you)
Untreated and raw meat can be infected with salmonella and other bacteria that can cause food poisoning in both humans and animals.
There aren’t only risks to your Frenchie, but also to you. Harmful bacteria from the raw meat can be released into their faeces, and people with weak immune systems can get infections even with microscopic trace contact.
2. Choking hazards
Bones can cause dogs to choke, break teeth or cause internal injuries from sharp shards inside the intestines.
3. Unbalanced diet
When people say that dogs are carnivores, many assume this means that they live off meat alone. This isn’t actually true, and a pure diet of meat alone can actually negatively affect their health.
It is important that you feed your French Bulldog a balance of meat, grains and vegetables, with an overly meat-based diet causing dogs to even get gout and uric acid stones.
While a French Bulldog raw diet does consist of meat, it also needs to include fruit and vegetables, with some dairy (such as raw eggs and yoghurt) added in.
I’ve tried to offer a fair and balanced overview of what a French Bulldog raw diet could do for your dog. However, it’s not something I will be switching our own Frenchie Claude onto anytime soon.
Yes, we do let him have some raw food occasionally, but honestly, I would rather cook it first. There are pathogens in raw food that can lead to vomiting. Frenchies are renowned for being sick a lot anyway, and have very delicate stomachs.
Until proper scientific research has been completed by people far cleverer than me, it’s not something I would recommend you switch your Frenchie onto 100%.
Whilst many owners will say that raw feeding is the more natural option and lauded as superior to feeding your dog human-manufactured pet foods, I am not in that camp.
Unless you completely understand the basics of nutrition and understand what supplements your Frenchie needs, only feed raw food in moderation.