Owning a Frenchie is an absolute joy, but this breed can be prone to various allergies. One of the more common complaints will be around chicken; some French Bulldogs can react badly to this meat, so today I wanted to explore why this happens and what you can do to tell if it is a chicken allergy.
Are Frenchies allergic to chicken?
Some French Bulldogs will be allergic to chicken, but not all of them will. For example, our own Frenchie Claude, loves chicken and we give it as a treat once a week. Typically we will boil it up, and then put it onto his normal kibble diet as you can see in the photo below.
Many Frenchies will happily eat chicken, cooked or raw, without any allergic reactions. But not all of them will; it’s quite a common food type that can lead to an allergy.
If your French Bulldog eats chicken and then shows the symptoms of allergy, then it could very well be the poultry causing it.
Sometimes your Frenchie could be eating chicken in his diet without you even realising it. How? It’s because chicken is a common ingredient in any dog foods including kibble, wet food, and treats.
Why are some Frenchies allergic to chicken?
French Bulldogs develop food allergies when their immune system develops a sensitivity towards a certain food type. Poultry meats do tend to have a higher than average chance of causing allergic reactions – but not for all French Bulldogs.
If your Frenchie’s immune system does become sensitive to chicken, his body will react negatively when this meat is eaten. That can result in a range of symptoms which are lower down the page.
The more chicken your Frenchie eats, the worse the allergic reactions will become as his body will respond more aggressively each time, meaning the allergy symptoms will become more uncomfortable.
Are all French Bulldogs allergic to chicken?
Our Claude has no problem with chicken; he’s a lucky Frenchie and cannot get enough of this meat. But not all French Bulldogs are as fortunate, and some will be allergic due to their genetics – it’s an allergy that can be passed down from their parents.
It’s not always genetic either. Some Frenchies can develop an allergy at any point in their lifetime, even if they have been eating chicken with no problem for many years.
How do you know your Frenchie is allergic to chicken?
There are ways you can confirm your suspicions if you believe chicken could be causing an allergy for your French Bulldog. Here’s are the symptoms of a food allergy:
- Bald patches of skin.
- Dry and itchy skin.
- Ear infections and inflammation.
- Excessive licking.
- Excessive scratching particularly near their ears, face, and paws.
- Hot spots.
- Skin infections (see a list of possible skin allergies).
If your Frenchie experiences any of these, get them to a vet who can do a proper diagnosis on what could be causing the allergic reaction.
Handy Hint: If you see your Frenchie scratching his ears, it might not necessarily mean an allergy. Here’s a list of 9 other things ear scratching could mean.
How vets treat chicken allergies
According to the vets at Willows Vets in the UK, there’s only one way you can properly check for a chicken allergy with a French Bulldog:
“At present, the only reliable way to diagnose a food allergy is to perform a dietary trial for six-eight weeks. The principle of this test is to remove all the food items in the current diet and feed a completely new and novel diet for the test period to ‘flush out’ any food substances that might be triggering a reaction. If there is an improvement in clinical signs by the end of the trial, a food allergy might be present.”
By doing so, it’s also possible to then reintroduce chicken back into your Frenchie’s diet. If an allergic reaction happens, it can be part of the confirmation process that chicken is the problem.
Social media comments
As part of my research into this guide, I looked on various social media forums and found a few comments from other Frenchie owners about their dog eating chicken. Here’s a selection of the best and most relevant comments.
“Our French Bulldog has been on raw chicken now for a week and now started chewing and constantly licking his paws. It has only started in the last week so my suspicion is that he is allergic to chicken, so we might switch away from the raw diet.”
“We had the very same problem and found that beef, chicken, and pork really bring out bad allergies in our girl. We tried her instead on raw duck and she’s not had an allergy since chicken was cut from the diet.”
“I don’t recommend letting French Bulldogs eat chicken as in my experience it’s an allergen. A few years back my two Frenchies would come out with really bad itchy paws after eating any type of meat with feathers.”
“Stick to game meats and you should be fine as a lot of poultry causes allergies. We don’t feed our Frenchie poultry ever. Our vet told me that it’s the grain that the chicken and turkeys are fed that your dog can be allergic to, not the actual meat.”
“Our Boris started chewing and licking his paws the minute he has any poultry-based food. It turns out lots of the beef, lamb and fish variety dog foods have poultry ingredients too so your Frenchie might have a chicken allergy without you even realising he’s eating it!”
“Cooked chicken seems to be better over raw chicken. A raw diet won’t suit every dog and uncooked chicken can cause itching, rashes, and sticky eyes. This is what I found with my bullies.”
Can French Bulldogs eat chicken?
If your Frenchie isn’t one of the unlucky ones that will develop an allergy, chicken can actually be a very good for them to eat. As I mentioned, our Claude has it once a week boiled and loves it.
French Bulldogs can eat chicken, but there are some caveats.
- Don’t feed it on the bone, as bones can splinter and cause internal injury.
- Be wary of feeding chicken raw as it can come with the risk of salmonella or bacterial infections. Having said that, many Frenchie owners are comfortable feeding their dog a raw diet, but you do need to know what you’re doing.
- Some vets recommend boiled chicken and rice as one of the best foods to feed a dog with an upset stomach. We often do this for Claude when he is ill.
The bottom line is this; aside from allergies which can affect a small percentage of dogs, chicken can actually be quite good for Frenchies to eat.
French Bulldogs can eat chicken as it’s a great source of protein, Omega 6 fatty acids that aid healthy skin and coat, plus amino acids for healthy bone development… unless of course they are allergic.
Can French Bulldogs eat chicken leg bones?
Cooked chicken bones are more dangerous than raw ones. Once a chicken leg bone is cooked, it becomes brittle and can splinter when chewed by your Frenchie.
Broken chicken bones can cut your French Bulldog’s gums or get stuck in their teeth. More seriously though, when swallowed they can lead to choking, internal punctures, and even fatalities.
Here’s what you should do if your dog eats a chicken bone according to PetMd.com.
- Call a vet immediately if the chicken bone is stuck in your dog’s upper airway or the upper intestinal tract.
- If you can see the chicken bone in your Frenchie’s mouth or throat, try and get it out providing you don’t stress the dog out more, or get bitten.
- If your Frenchie has eaten a chicken bone and displays any symptoms, get your dog seen a vet immediately.
Raw bones on the other hand are a lot safer for Frenchies to eat. When the bones are in their raw form, they are softer and more flexible, making them easier to chew and digest.
Me personally though; I’d never take the risk with chicken bones. Whilst my French Bulldog can eat chicken, I draw the line at bones as I don’t wish to take any risks.
All Frenchies are different and can react in opposite ways to chicken. Whilst chicken is high on the list of foods that can result in allergies, not all Frenchies are affected. You might want to read this post though that explains in a lot more detail about Frenchie food allergies, including the symptoms.
Of course, if you want to be completely risk-free, just don’t let your Frenchie eat chicken ever. If you do want to supplement their diet with healthy alternatives, here’s a list of ideas:
I would also like to draw your attention to an article I published which lists the most dangerous foods for French Bulldogs. Please can you print off and keep this somewhere visible in your kitchen – you never know when you might need it.