Written by Dr. Marcelle Landestoy, DVM
With the soaring popularity of French Bulldogs, more and more people are now adopting these Frenchies as extra members of their families.
Unfortunately, some French Bulldog owners fail to understand that this breed has specialized dietary needs.
Some of them overlook wheezing, sneezing, and coughing, taking them for some cute breed characteristics while they may be warning signs that they are feeding their canine friends the wrong food.
French Bulldogs should avoid foods that they are highly allergic to, ranging from plain milk to avocados, bones, and nuts. Others include cabbages, tea, and coffee. Frenchies are known for their delicate stomachs, whose condition can be exacerbated by feeding them the wrong foods.
One of your main goals as a pooch owner is to feed your furry canine friend a top-notch diet.
However, without an understanding of what to avoid in your dog’s food, you may end up hurting him innocently.
Read through this article where I, as a licensed veterinary doctor, give you an accurate idea of the foods to avoid in your French Bulldog’s diet to help raise a healthy and happy pup.
Knowing the Foods To Not Feed Your French Bulldog
Are you worried that you are probably feeding your Frenchie the wrong foods? I’m here to help you clear your doubts!
I’ve meticulously researched and compiled a list of the foods you might be feeding your Frenchie friend without a second thought which might cause food disorders and, even worse, lead your pup to the hospital.
To shed more light on this topic and make it simple to understand, I have categorized these foods into three separate groups denoted by the traffic lights (green, yellow, and red).
Sounds interesting, right?
GREEN represents those foods that will cause mild discomfort, such as mild itching, bloating and diarrhea on your canine friend.
These are simply the foods that will have long-term effects on your pup’s health if you continue including them in his diet for a long time.
You can relate these foods to kids and candies.
If you allow your kids to consume sweets repeatedly over a long time, the long-term consequences will be cavities.
However, if the same candies are not overconsumed, they aren’t a major concern!
Now, let’s get to the YELLOW foods. This category will comprise those foods that are likely to cause moderate to severe discomfort or pain on your pup.
They can cause moderate to severe allergic reactions, digestion issues, or diarrhea that may necessitate a veterinarian visit.
Lastly, I’ll use RED to represent the dangerous foods that are highly poisonous to your pup. Generally, you should be extra cautious about eliminating any chances of your dog ingesting these foods.
Let’s now dive deeper into each of these categories.
Green: Mild Discomfort
Your French Bulldog will most likely feed on anything that comes their way.
While some of these foods are not poisonous or toxic, they are considered unfit for consumption mainly due to their long-term effects if consumed over a long time.
Milk and Dairy Products
Let’s be honest; if you have a French Bulldog pup, you’re most certainly fascinated by his cuteness and cheerfulness, which gives you the feeling of handling a toddler, right?
As a result, you are by default tempted to feed him milk and other dairy products.
Unfortunately, you would be doing your pooch more harm than good.
Most dog breeds don’t possess enough lactase in their digestive system to break down the lactose found in milk and other dairy products. They are lactose intolerant.
These products won’t be toxic to your Frenchie friend but will cause mild vomiting, stomach upset, loose stool, and diarrhea.
You know how devastating it can be watching your French Bulldog struggle even with the slightest discomfort or pain, so avoid regular usage of dairy products in their food.
Most fatty foods such as bacon, sausages, and fried foods are tasty and have an inviting smell.
Yes, I know it’s hard to say no to those pleading eyes of your canine friend when he comes begging for your plate of fatty foods.
Although giving him a bite or two won’t kill him, it will cause some mild stomach upsets.
Remember, fatty foods aren’t your French Bulldog’s best friend.
In the long run, if you make it a habit to feed your pup fatty foods, he might end up suffering from pancreatitis.
If you’re used to giving your Frenchie pal sugary treats and snacks, it may be the right time to stop or reduce the frequency.
Like humans, overconsumption of sugary foods and drinks causes serious health issues to your furry canine friend.
Regularly, you may realize your Frenchie gets a stomach upset after consuming sugary food.
Although this isn’t a panic-causing issue, your pup may end up suffering long-term effects such as tooth decay (yes, canines suffer tooth decay from excess sugar), diabetes, and weight gain.
Raw or Undercooked Meat and Eggs
Some pooch owners swear by a raw diet, which they believe is the best for their canines.
Are you among this group of dog owners?
Well, here is what you need to know about feeding your canine raw meat and eggs.
Raw meat harbors bacterial pathogens such as non-typhoidal Salmonella spp and Escherichia coli (E.coli) that may have long-term health effects if consumed by your furry canine friend.
Additionally, raw eggs may contain salmonella and an extra enzyme, Avidin.
This enzyme inhibits the absorption of vitamin B7 (Biotin) and can cause skin and fur coat issues.
Therefore, you would be giving these vehicles of disease transmission access to your French Bulldog without knowing it.
So, next time you think of giving your Frenchie raw meat, think of its cute smooth fur and the bacterial infections you might be exposing him to.
Salt and Salty Foods
Would you be comfortable eating highly salted foods? Most likely, no.
Your French Bulldog wouldn’t be comfortable as well.
Although your dog may take a few bites of your salted food, you shouldn’t worry about rushing him to the vet.
However, excess consumption of salt will cause excessive thirst and abnormal urination in your pup.
You may also notice mild vomiting, diarrhea, and increased body temperature in your dog in such a case.
Therefore, note that not all that adds taste to your food is good for your furry Frenchie pal.
Based on the notion of healthy eating, you may consider feeding your pup some broccoli.
However, it’s important to note that broccoli contains isothiocyanate, a substance that can be toxic if consumed in large quantities.
Therefore, your pup can experience some mild stomach upset upon eating broccoli, but the havoc can worsen if broccoli constitutes more than 10% of the dog’s total daily diet.
If yours is a mixed pet home with felines and canines, you may sometimes substitute dog food with cat food.
Although this won’t harm your dog, it’s not recommended for regular usage.
Generally, cat food has higher levels of proteins than what most pups need.
An excessively high amount of protein is likely to cause long-term musculoskeletal issues in growing French Bulldogs.
Additionally, your pup can convert the excess protein into fats and carbohydrates, leading to weight gain.
Your canine friend can develop kidney stones from the excess proteins stored in his body in extreme cases.
Besides cat food, you should be cautious about feeding your Frenchie friend any foods with high amounts of protein.
So, what should you do if your French Bulldog consumes these foods?
The ‘green’ category foods are not so toxic or poisonous to your furry canine friend except when consumed in large quantities over a long period.
Instead, they cause some mild discomforts that often go away on their own.
However, if you are in doubt, seek medical attention.
Therefore, all you need to do is limit their ingestion. These foods shouldn’t be consumed over a long period or in huge quantities.
When it comes to French Bulldogs and foods in the ‘green’ category, little is always enough!
Yellow: Moderate to Severe Discomfort
Let’s find out what foods fall under this category.
Most definitely, the first thing that comes to your mind is, ‘what?’ Well, yes, avocados aren’t good for your French Bulldog.
Avocados are among the foods that have grown in popularity over the past few years and have been majorly touted as ‘superfoods.’
However, before thinking of sharing that yummy piece of avocado with your canine friend, make sure you remove all the harmful parts.
By harmful parts, I mean the skin, pit, and seed. These parts contain a toxic element known as persin, which, when consumed by dogs, causes severe vomiting and diarrhea.
In extreme cases, persin can damage the heart and lung tissues and cause gastrointestinal blockage.
Additionally, the pit of the avocado can easily choke your pooch.
Generally, nuts are not recommended for dogs as most of them pose a choking hazard.
When it comes to macadamia nuts, their consumption can cause moderate to severe vomiting, loss of muscle coordination, fever, muscle tremors, and paralysis of the hindquarters.
Garlic and Onions
We all like the taste of fried onions and garlic in our food.
However, don’t be tempted to show love to your French Bulldog by feeding him food rich in onion and garlic.
Both garlic and onion contain sulfoxides and disulfides, safe for human consumption but harmful to your pup.
They can cause severe stomach upset and hemolytic anemia, which means they break down red blood cells, leaving your dog short of oxygen.
Hemolytic anemia in dogs can be triggered by a single ingestion of many onions or garlic or repeated meals containing small amounts of these two substances.
You wouldn’t want to see your pup struggling to get oxygen out of a mere feeding mistake you would have avoided, right?
So, keep onions and garlic out of pooch food.
Whether cooked or uncooked, these substances are harmful to your French Bulldog.
Some pooch owners feed their dogs cabbage which is considered a good antioxidant.
However, despite its nutritional benefit, it can cause severe bloating if consumed in large quantities.
Therefore, you can still give your French Bulldog this veggie on an occasional basis but in minimal quantities to avoid severe stomach discomfort.
Coconut and Coconut Oil
Coconut is highly cherished for its nutritional aspects.
Unfortunately, coconut flesh and milk can severely upset your favorite pup’s tummy.
Additionally, coconut water is not ideal for your pup’s consumption. It contains high levels of potassium that can interfere with the normal functioning of the heart.
Grapes and Raisins
Even in small quantities, grapes and raisins can cause havoc to your pup.
Their toxicity can cause severe kidney damage, which, if left untreated, can cause kidney failure and even death.
A dog suffering from grape or raisin toxicity will show signs of severe vomiting, abdominal pain, dehydration, lack of urine production, seizures, and coma.
Grapes are among the primary constituents of alcohol, which means you should also keep away any alcoholic drink from your pup.
If you suspect your canine friend has consumed any of the foods in this category, it’s advisable to seek immediate medical intervention or consult a trusted pet vet.
However, don’t panic; remain calm and collected, your pooch won’t die!
You may first do some basic first aid care to save your poochie friend’s life in some instances.
For example, with macadamia nuts or grape and raisins toxicity, a professional vet may instruct you to induce vomiting to reduce their lethal effects.
In most cases, for induced vomiting, you’re recommended to administer 1ml/kg of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
This life-saving tip seeks to help your Frenchie eliminate the toxic substance quickly from their body before the situation gets any worse.
However, avoid conducting induced vomiting without a vet’s instructions.
Additionally, you shouldn’t do it if your pup has difficulty breathing. In such a case, rush him to a vet clinic immediately, or you risk losing him.
Red: Dangerous or Poisonous
This category consists of those highly toxic or poisonous foods that your Frenchie shouldn’t eat.
We all love chocolate, don’t we? Unfortunately, this favorite snack isn’t the best for your canine friend.
Chocolate contains theobromine, a toxic substance that metabolizes slower in dogs than in humans.
Additionally, theobromine is a diuretic and a cardiac stimulant. As a diuretic, its toxicity will cause your pooch excessive frequent urination, and he will be unusually thirsty.
On the other hand, it will increase your pup’s heart rate or cause an irregular heartbeat as a cardiac stimulant.
In this case, death is entirely possible.
Generally, different chocolate types harbor varying theobromine levels, with drinking chocolate, cocoa, and dark chocolate having the highest concentration.
The extent of bromine toxicity depends on the age and size of a dog. Given that French Bulldogs are naturally small in stature, it’s likely to cause great havoc to them.
Therefore, you should keep any chocolate product out of the reach of your French Bulldog.
The most common artificial sweetener that’s highly toxic to dogs is Xylitol, found in most human foods.
Based on Michigan University’s findings, xylitol toxicity can trigger insulin release, causing tremors that can lead to brain damage.
When consumed in high quantities, it can cause liver failure or even lead to death.
Xylitol is present in substances such as ketchup, some types of peanut butter, sugar-free gums and mints, candies, ketchup, protein bars, some baked food, some over-the-counter (OTC) vitamin supplements, and fruit jellies and jams.
Ensure you read the packaging labels carefully before giving your Frenchie friend any of these substances.
Humans like caffeinated drinks such as tea, coffee, and soda.
However, be cautious not to share these drinks with your French Bulldog since they act as stimulants and can accelerate your pooch’s heartbeat to dangerous levels, which can be fatal.
Keep caffeinated beverages to yourself!
Some dog owners believe that bones make their dog’s teeth stronger and healthier.
While this may be true, cooked bones can be very hazardous to your canine friend.
When cooked, bones become brittle and often splinter when broken.
The fragments have sharp edges which can easily stick in your dog’s teeth, choke him when caught in the throat, or worse enough, rupture the stomach or intestinal lining.
Corn on the Cob
While not poisonous or toxic, the cob can get stuck on your canine’s digestive tract, causing partial or complete intestinal obstruction.
While they are good for us humans, never allow your French Bulldog to access corn cobs.
I doubt if anyone can deliberately feed yeast dough to their canine friend.
However, this doesn’t mean he won’t chomp it if he finds it accidentally dropped on the floor.
Yeast dough is highly toxic to your dog because it can create and increase gas levels in your pup’s digestive system.
High gas levels cause bloating and, in extreme cases, can lead to gas twisting, which can kill your beloved dog.
If your French Bulldog happens to feed on any of the substances above, seek immediate medical intervention.
For example, in the case of chocolate (theobromine toxicity), your vet may induce vomiting on your pup or give him activated charcoal.
The activated charcoal absorbs theobromine from the dog’s system and reduces toxins that pass into the bloodstream.
Since these substances are life-threatening to your beautiful French Bulldog, keep them out of his reach as much as possible to reduce the chances of him ingesting them.
Don’t panic that my list comprises most of the foods we encounter in our daily lives.
Most of them will cause significant problems if consumed in large quantities.
However, this doesn’t mean you should be complacent. It’s important to exercise extra care when feeding your French Bulldog by avoiding the foods such as:
- Dairy products
- Grapes and raisins
- Cooked bones
- Caffeinated drinks
- Fatty foods
Always remember it’s better to be safe than sorry!
You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars getting a French bulldog only to end up losing him out of some mere avoidable feeding mistakes.
- Dogtime.com: French Bulldog Dog Breed Information, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts
- Frenchie World: Top 10 toxic foods for French Bulldogs
- VCA Hospitals: Pancreatitis in dogs
- ScienceDirect: Raw meat
- Pet Helpful: What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Grapes?
- Michigan State University College of Veterinary Studies: KOENIGSHOF’S RESEARCH ON XYLITOL TOXICITY IN DOGS
- Directline Magazine: Chocolate poisoning in dogs: myths or reality
- Ballpark Bulldogs: What food should you avoid giving a French Bulldog?
- French Bulldog Owner: What Foods Are Bad, Poisonous, & Toxic to French Bulldogs? 25 Bad Foods!
- Frenchie Buddy: French Bulldog Feeding Hack-Feeding wrong is killing your Frenchie
- Our Frenchie: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your French Bulldog
- Trending Breeds: What Can French Bulldogs Eat? (And Foods They Can’t Eat)
- Huskerland Bulldogs: Foods To Avoid Giving Your French Bulldog
- Frenchie Wiki: What Foods are Dangerous to French Bulldogs?
Read more about the French Bulldog breed in my one-page frenchie owner guide
Veterinary Hospital Director at UCE
Dr. Marcelle is a general veterinarian with a Small Animal Medicine Specialty | Director of the UCE School of Veterinary Medicine | Certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society