It’d be nice if your French Bulldog could just come with a built-in calculator letting you know when they’re hungry and how much they needed, right? Unfortunately, this is not the case (good thing, too, ‘cuz that’d be creepy…) and it can be challenging to get used to the art of feeding your pooch and, more importantly, how much to feed your French Bulldog. From the start to the end of his doggy life, including all types of health conditions and types of food, this ultimate Frenchie feeding guide has got you covered.
As far as the rule of thumb in how much to feed a French Bulldog, you’ll want to aim for an approximate ratio of 25-30 calories per lb (0.45 kg) of your Frenchie every single day. This is not the only criterion to keep in mind, but it can be helpful when you need a general area to focus on to start you off in the right direction!
How Much to Feed Your Frenchie Pup
As you probably already guessed, the amount to feed your Frenchie pup is going to be a little different from your adult Frenchie because one is a baby with a still-developing body, and one is an adult with a set body and nutritional needs. When your Frenchie is a puppy, you’ll want to focus on a few of the following milestones for feeding amounts:
Your Frenchie will be feeding entirely off his mama’s milk and the nutrients and vitamins that it gives him. After 6 weeks, he can be gradually weaned from the milk to wet food, and then eventually to puppy kibble. This process tends to take 2-3 weeks and you won’t get to bring your puppy home until he is fully weaned. As far as a portion, go for about 1 cup (108.83 g) a day and try to let him free-feed at first if he’s still stubborn about eating puppy kibble.
2 months-6 months
Now that your Frenchie puppy is properly used to solid kibble (for wet food, keep reading), you’ll want to aim about 1.5 cups (163.25 g) of puppy kibble every day, split up into 3 meals (more on that in a moment) rather than free feeding.
For this next little hop, you’ll find it helpful to keep an eye on the chart on the back of your puppy kibble bag. Since you should be giving him about 30 calories per lb (0.45 kg), it can be helpful to use the back of the bag to keep it all straight! Remember to split it up into 3 meals, though.
Through your Frenchie’s puppyhood, stick with a trusted puppy kibble brand that is high in calories and also has at least 50% proteins and around 8% of healthy source fats (such as omega 3s). Most puppy kibbles do have these milestones, but always be sure to check! Once your little guy gets around 11 or 12 months you can gradually shift him over to adult food (more on the transition process later).
How Much to Feed Your Adult French Bulldog
Once your Frenchie has his first birthday, he’s officially a big boy (aka an adult) and you can adjust your portions more seriously to the ratio above of 25-30 calories per lb (0.45 kg) per day. Since the average adult Frenchie should weigh about 48.5 lbs (22 kg), you’ll be aiming somewhere around 600 calories spread out evenly throughout the day. This is with your average Frenchie. However, there are a few other categories to think about with your adult Frenchie and portions:
Highly active Frenchie
If you’ve got a Frenchie that just never stops, you’re going to want to up his calorie intake to make sure that he’s getting enough calories throughout the day! The average is about 800 calories per day (stay tuned for more information on how to figure out calorie content with a cup or gram measurement).
If you’ve got a pooch that is starting to slow down a bit, you can also address his eating by aiming for around 450 calories per day. If he’s no longer going for walks, he doesn’t need the extra calories anymore and if he continues to get the full 600, he’ll quickly put on weight!
The thing to keep an eye on especially with your adult French Bulldog is his weight. It’s common for Frenchies to be overweight but they can also slip underweight, and it may be challenging to notice right away! Try to get in the habit, as a responsible Frenchie mom or dad, of weighing your pooch every few weeks to make sure his weight is staying steady. This will help you to adjust your portions and calorie content, too, to make sure that he always feels great and isn’t under- or over-weight.
How Often Should I Feed My Frenchie?
So, now that you’re getting a feel for the portions and calorie readings for your pup and adult French Bulldog, you also need to take a look at the scheduling of his feedings as well! Before, we talked about the idea of feeding your Frenchie pup 3 times a day. This is also a trend that you should keep up even when your pup graduates into being an adult. While your vet may tell you it’s okay to drop down to 2 portioned meals per day, most vets will often still recommend 3 square meals a day if possible.
Why 3 meals? It’s an expected question. The best way to understand is to take a look at how much your Frenchie is chowing down. If he gets his full 600 calories in one meal at breakfast, that’s a massive bowl of food and then he’s hungry again at 5 or 6 pm but has no more calories to eat. When you split up the meals into 2 or, ideally, 3, he gets regular intervals and calorie content to keep him satisfied and energetic throughout the day. Having regular meals throughout the day helps his blood sugar levels even, too, which can prevent him from having health issues down the line!
The schedule in which you feed your Frenchie is equally as important as the kind of food that you feed him. Yes, seriously. You should feed your French Bulldog at the same time, every single day for the rest of his doggy life, ideally. Maybe it doesn’t seem practical, but it’s important. If you have to set reminders and alarms on your phone, then do it! Realistically speaking, having improperly spaced meals and fluctuating feeding times can create a lot of health problems, including a twisted gut and painful flatulence.
It’s very important to always keep your feeding timings regular down to the minute! As a bonus, this also helps you know when your Frenchie is going to need to go to the bathroom, reducing accidents.
How to Slow Down Your French Bulldog When Eating
Just like there’s an amount for how much to feed your French Bulldog, there’re also best practices when it comes to how to feed your Frenchie. Whether they’re puppies, adults or seniors, Frenchies are notorious for scarfing down their food the second that it’s within their reach. This can make proper feeding a challenge for even the most attentive pet parents, as eating too fast can cause a lot of stomach issues, particularly in Frenchies. When it comes to the methods, here are some great helping details.
These are great for Frenchies because it forces them to slow down. These are bowls with a series of ridges and bumps that “hide” the kibble and, more specifically, force your pup to slow down because he has to work to get it out of the bowl. You’ll be able to find a variety of options out there in the marketplace!
Multiple, smaller portions
Another option to helping your French Bulldog slow down is to just give him less food. Instead of giving him 3 meals a day, consider giving him 5 or 6 instead, though you’ll want to adjust the amounts to make sure that you are not overfeeding him. Just make sure you stay true to the consistency in scheduling, though, as far as making sure that you are feeding him at the same time every day.
Timed amounts for feeding
Lastly, consider the option of giving him only a certain amount of time to eat. This could mean taking his food up after 10 minutes if your pooch is a lazy, slow eater, but it could be the other way, too. Put a bite of food down, then wait 5 minutes and then give him another, and so-on. Evenly spaced out, this can help keep him down to a healthy speed for eating.
All About the Food
The food that you choose for your Frenchie is also very important, though it can be confusing to new Frenchie parents. The first is the difference between the cup (or gram) size as your dog ages. How do you know how much to give him?
There’s a ratio that has to do with calories. Puppy food is high calorie, whereas adult and senior food is often lower calorie. That being said, certain brands are higher in calories than others. When you are measuring out your food in sizes, make sure that you are not over-feeding or under-feeding in your calories (25-30 per lb [0.45 kg]) based on your specific food brand itself). Always do the math and don’t hesitate to get a vet’s opinion if you need it.
Another key part of the food (more on the types in a moment) that you choose is what is actually in it. Certain ingredients are better than ever, as are certain amounts of those ingredients. Much like in human food, some food for Frenchies is the equivalent of junk food, which can cause a lot of short- and long-term health problems. Try to avoid any kind of fillers such as wheat corn, soy, and grains as they can create bowel issues and bloat.
These are also very common allergens, particularly in sensitive Frenchies. Also, try to avoid dog foods that are necessarily rich in proteins as they can actually create an imbalance in nutrition, increase the risk of diabetes, and even put pressure on internal organs!
Types of Food for Your Frenchie
With the world full of choices, you now can experience a wide selection in options for the food and diet that you consider for your Frenchie. To help you figure out which is best for you, we’ve listed the three main options that most Frenchie parents consider in doing their research:
Dry food diet
The cheapest and easiest option, most parents of French Bulldogs go with a dry food diet. You’ll want to choose a puppy/adult kibble that has high-quality ingredients and isn’t chockablock full of fillers or sugars. Also, as mentioned, watch the protein amount to make sure your pup isn’t getting too much. Unless you’re committed to getting into the world of research, it’s a great idea to consult with your vet to see what their recommendations are.
Wet food diet
Some pet parents consider wet food instead. It tends to be easier to serve and it’s great for adding in a little extra hydration to his day. With this, however, you do tend to need with more per day in terms of amounts. Wet food is lower in calories than dry kibble (there’s that calories thing again!).
Raw food diet
Relatively new in the larger community of Frenchie parents, a raw food diet is where you essentially make his food for him. You’d buy all sorts of raw ingredients and then prepare his food daily just like you would with your human family. This can be challenging and expensive, though it’s a great way to make sure he isn’t getting any additives. If you do decide to go this route, make sure that you work closely with your vet so you know that he’s getting the right amount of everything that he needs for a healthy diet.
How to Adjust Feeding Your Frenchie With Health Concerns
Now that we’ve gone over how to properly feed a Frenchie who is in great health and can have the most freedom, let’s take a moment to address the many parents that have pups who need a little extra TLC in the food department.
A pup who is overweight
A common problem since Frenchies are known to be couch potatoes, you can help your pup get to a healthy size by gradually reducing their portions, switching to a high-quality dog kibble and increasing their water intake as well as exercise.
A pup who is underweight
Common with rescues, you can boost your daily calorie count gradually and keep a sharp eye on their weight. Keep up with exercise and hydration, of course, but gradually increase their portions until they get to a healthy weight. Then adjust to the rule of thumb mentioned above!
A French Bulldog with allergies or dislikes
Whether it’s actually disliked or an allergic reaction — common with French Bulldogs — you’ll want to take note of what is causing the bad reaction to the food and figure out what ingredient is causing it. This can be challenging and it’s a great idea to work with your vet on this. For those that are especially sensitive, a raw diet could be a great idea.
A French Bulldog who is sick or frail
Recovering dogs can often need a special diet to help them gain back energy, muscle mass, and more. A lot of times high-calorie food will be recommended for those pooches until they get back to their strong, healthy selves.
Whatever the health issue may be or how “simple” it may seem, it’s still a good idea to work alongside a vet. Since it can be hard for even the most attentive pet parent to understand the signs that a Frenchie is telling us, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got trained eyes aware of the issue and working with you to help solve it.
General French Bulldog Feeding Tips
On a more general note, here are some helpful tips to give you a bit more control over everything to do with your pooch’s food in the long run. Since Frenchies are especially sensitive in diet and weight, feeding can often be a pain point for new pet parents.
Use a calculator to help you get the calorie/cup (or gram) ratio right
There are quite a few calculators online that can help you program in your Frenchie’s data and they’ll give you a measurement on how much food you should be giving your pooch. This is both in calorie count as well as the actual unit measurement. Use this as a general starting point and then talk to your vet and/or read the back of the bag for a more specific number. Less math for you!
Heighten or lower your pooch’s food at 1/2 cup increments
If you have to either add or take out food from your Frenchie’s diet, don’t do it all at once. You’ll want to gradually shift the portions higher or lower at increments of 1/2 a cup (54.42 g) at a time or even less. This will help your pooch manage the transition easier.
Change your Frenchie’s food brand gradually
In changing your pooch’s food brand or from puppy to adult food, you’ll also want to do it gradually. Slowly transition in the new food with 3/4 of the portion being old and 1/4 new, then 1/2 old and 1/2 new, and then 1/4 old and 3/4 new, etc. Your Frenchie won’t notice and it helps stabilize any drops or swings in his nutrition, too.
Hollow days can happen to even healthy Frenchies
As mentioned above, Frenchies are well-known as scarfers and gobblers of food. They’ll often act as if they’ve never eaten a meal in their life but you know for a fact that they just ate, like, five minutes ago. Some days, nicknamed “hollow days”, this may seem especially prominent which can be frustrating for pet parents. This is a characteristic of the French Bulldog breed and it’s something to be prepared for. Stick to the calorie and portion budget and don’t let him convince you otherwise!
While you may not have thought that something as simple as the food was going to be a big issue with your snuffling French Bulldog, it’s a large issue with this particular breed due to their health sensitivities as well as tendency to eat everything in sight. This ultimate feeding guide will help you stay on top of all things feeding when it comes to your Frenchie!