Although dogs are domesticated, they are carnivores just like their wild relatives the wolves. As such, their digestive system is designed to accommodate fleshy and raw foods. French bulldog puppies are no different. For the first 8 weeks, Frenchie puppies are usually on a strict diet of their mother’s milk. After this period, however, you can wean your puppies so they can start eating solid food.
Other than environment and genetics, the diet you have for your Frenchie puppies is vital to their health. French bulldogs are prone to several diseases and disorders. This is mostly due to their genes and physical structure due to excessive crossbreeding.
There are plenty of options you can consider and among them being dry foods, canned foods, and raw foods. The dietary option for pups should be out of preference and the nutritional benefits it offers them.
In this article, we’ll discuss the best raw foods for your French Bulldog puppies. So, read through this article. We’re sure it will be insightful.
What is a Raw Food Diet?
Raw food diet is also known as BARF. This stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food. BARF is a careful blend of uncooked bones, organ meat, muscle, eggs, fruits, and vegetables.
Before domestication, pets used to eat their food raw as most wild animals still do. You are, therefore, recommended to introduce foods in their natural form to your pets.
Benefits and Risks of Raw Food Diet
You should put your Frenchie puppies on a raw food diet because;
- BARF diet consists of raw foods in their natural form. This means they do not any common food preservatives such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) or ethoxyquin.
- Prevention of allergies. Your Frenchie puppies are prone to have several allergies. Most of these are triggered by preservatives, additives, and fillers in processed foods. You also know the ingredients present in the raw foods and you get to pick food groups according to your pups’ allergies.
- Raw foods are easier to digest. As such, your French Bulldog puppies will absorb the nutrients better. This subsequently helps them have a stronger immune system.
- Your pups will be more energetic.
- They have healthier skin and shinier coats.
- Raw foods also help to manage your puppies’ weight. The BARF diet doesn’t have unnecessary carbohydrates. This subsequently prevents obesity and bone and joint disorders.
Despite these benefits, there are several risks associated with raw food. These include;
- Food poisoning and diseases. Failure to properly manage and prepare raw foods can introduce pathogens to the food, resulting in food poisoning and disease. Some of these pathogens such as Salmonella and E. coli can affect humans too.
- Difficulty in chewing and choking hazard. Your French bulldog puppies may find it hard to chew whole bones. Swallowing large pieces of bones can in turn result in choking. Chewing bones can also cause your puppies’ teeth to break. These can cause intestinal obstruction if swallowed.
- Unbalanced diet. Failure to carefully pair raw foods can result in an unbalanced diet for your pups. This diet, therefore, requires you to intentionally plan your puppies’ meals.
Raw Foods to Feed Your Frenchie Puppy
Having your Frenchie puppies on a raw food diet doesn’t mean you feed them raw meat only. On the contrary, you need to ensure that your pups get up to 37 essential nutrients from different food groups. Make sure you include the following in your pups’ raw food diet:
Meat and Muscle: This is the main source of protein in the diet. It should constitute 70% of the entire serving. Proteins are essential as they help repair and build your puppies’ workout muscles and body tissues.
Amino acids, the building blocks that constitute proteins, are essential in making hormones, enzymes, new skin cells, and replacing fur. Sources of proteins to feed your pups include chicken, beef, pork, boneless fish, and turkey.
Ensure that the meat has a minimum of 10% and a maximum of 20% fat.
Bones: These should constitute 10% of the entire serving.
Edible bones provide your pups with essential minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Bones are also a rich source of soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, and E. Vitamin A helps with improving eyesight, tooth development, gene expression, and cell division.
Having vitamin D in your pups’ raw food is essential for controlling cell growth and bone formation and maintenance. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect your pups from free radicals that damage cells.
Bones are also a rich source of copper and iron, which are essential for blood formation.
You can choose to feed your pups raw bones like animal feet, beef, or necks. Avoid big or heavy bones. These can be hard for your puppies to chew. Big bones can also break your puppies’ teeth and cause intestinal obstruction or punctures.
Instead, choose ground bones that are safer and easier to chew and digest.
Animal Organs: These should constitute 10% of the entire serving; 5% liver and 5% other organs.
Animal organs are a rich source of proteins, vitamin A, B6, B12, and minerals like zinc, iron, and folic acid. The more organs you include in your puppies’ diet, the more nutrients they will consume.
Other than animal liver, you can include animal kidneys, tongue, eyes, heart, and lungs.
Eggs: These are another great source of protein whether boiled, scrambled, or cooked. You can also incorporate raw eggs into your pups’ diet by mixing them with the rest of their serving. Frenchie pups can also eat eggshells which are a rich source of calcium.
Eggs can also help settle your puppies’ stomach after an illness and thus, a crucial part to include into their raw food diet.
Take note, however, that some of your puppies might be allergic to eggs. You should, therefore, monitor if your pups react to eggs the first few weeks when you introduce them to their meals. You should also limit the number of eggs your Frenchie puppies eat to one per day.
Eggs contain about 70 calories. As such, long-term consumption of raw eggs can cause obesity in your puppies. You should also make sure that the eggs are as fresh as possible. Raw eggs that have stayed for a long period can grow disease-causing bacteria that can harm your puppies.
Fruits and Vegetables: This should constitute 10% of the entire serving.
Fruit is a rich source of vitamins and antioxidants which are essential in boosting your pups’ immunity. Vegetables on the other hand are a great source of flavonoids, carotenoids, and phytochemicals. These have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fruits and vegetables to include in your pups’ diet include broccoli, spinach, pumpkin, celery, apples, blueberries, and cranberries. You can also try adding herbs such as basil, parsley, and oregano into their raw food diet.
Creating a Diet Plan for Your French Bulldog Puppies
There are several factors you should consider when creating a raw food diet plan for your puppies. These include your puppies’ lifestyle, activity level, weight, health, and metabolism. Frenchie puppies have a different raw food diet plan than adult Frenchies.
Depending on age, weight, and health adult Frenchies should eat between 2% to 3.5% of their total weight. Frenchie puppies on the other hand should eat between 5% to 10% of their total weight. Because Frenchie puppies are growing their body cells are actively dividing. They, therefore, require more protein, phosphorus, fat, and calcium to support their growth.
Additionally, make sure your pups are consuming about 15% to 20% bones to ensure they have enough minerals and nutrients. You should also note that puppies should have 3 to 4 meals in a day. This can be reduced to 2 meals per day once they’re 12 months old.
Below are the general daily diet plan guidelines for feeding your puppies raw food;
2- to 3-month-old puppies: 8% to 10% of total body weight.
4- to 5-month-old puppies: 6% to 8% of total body weight.
6- to 8-month-old puppies: 4% to 6% of total body weight.
9- to 12-month-old puppies: 3% to 4% of total body weight.
Check out this feeding chart for a more comprehensive diet plan.
Raw foods to avoid feeding your French Bulldog Puppies
Not all raw foods are healthy for your Frenchie puppies. Raw food to avoid feeding your Frenchie puppies include;
Potatoes and tomatoes: Raw potatoes and tomatoes contain solanine. This is a toxic compound that affects most dog species. You can choose to forego feeding your puppies potatoes and tomatoes or you can cook them to reduce the solanine levels.
Salmonoid fish species and bony fishes: Salmon and other salmonoid species have the Neorickettsia Helminthoeca parasite, responsible for causing salmon poisoning. Salmon and other bony fishes also have brittle bones, barbs, and sharp spines that can choke your puppies or lodge in their intestines.
Wild meat: Do not feed your Frenchie puppies meat from wild pigs, bears, or other wild animals. Wild meat has more harmful parasites than livestock meat.
Other raw foods to avoid feeding your Frenchie are macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, avocados, garlic and onions, caffeine, and uncooked bread dough.
Despite the various benefits not all French bulldog puppies can eat raw foods. For example, puppies with kidney or liver disorders should not eat raw food. This is because raw foods are rich in protein. Excess protein in such dogs can further stress their kidneys or liver and worsen their condition.
Puppies on immune-repressing medication or chemotherapy should also not eat raw foods. For puppies with digestive problems such as pancreatitis, consider feeding them homemade food like then slowly switch to the raw food diet.
How to Handle, Cook, and Serve Raw Food for Your French Bulldog Puppies
Failure to properly handle and handle raw food can be extremely harmful to your Frenchie puppies. You should, therefore, make sure you pay close attention to detail in every step of preparing raw foods for your pups.
Adhere to the guidelines below when handling, cooking, and serving raw foods;
- Always store raw pet food separately from human food. Ensure you prepare and store raw pet food separately from your food to prevent cross-contamination. You can achieve this by using different kitchen utensils in preparing the foods and store them in storage containers.
- Only wash produce and not raw meat. Washing all raw foods increases the risk of cross-contamination. It also makes the food conducive for pathogenic bacteria. Avoid washing poultry and meat as they’re always cleaned during processing.
- Storage. Store raw pet food in sealed containers in the freezer at 0 °F. This will slow down the growth of pathogenic microbes. It also kills any present pathogens once the raw food is frozen for more than two weeks.
- Do not defrost raw dog food in water or the microwave. Thawing raw food in water can result in the leaching of nutrients. You should also avoid defrosting raw food in the microwave. Instead, thaw raw food by placing it on a clean countertop by placing in the refrigerator with the temperature at 35 °F to 40 °F.
- Only store raw pet food for a maximum of 48 hours. Once raw food is cooked, it should only be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 2 days. Storing it longer than this increases the chances of it getting spoiled and cross-contamination.
- Handling leftovers. Do not carry forward leftovers from the previous day. Cover and store any leftovers and purpose to feed them to your puppies later on in the day. Once the day is over, dispose of any leftovers. This way you feed your Frenchie puppies fresh food each day.
- Proper hygiene. Ensure you observe proper hygiene when handling, cooking, and serving raw food to your Frenchie puppies. Ensure your hands are clean by washing them for about 20 seconds with clean water and soap.
Only use clean kitchen utensils to prepare the raw food. You should also sanitize the place your pups eat. Ensure you also clean all the utensils used with hot soapy water and use a clean dishrag to wipe them. This dishrag should be different from the one you use with other utensils.
Raw food is an excellent diet for your French bulldog puppies as it has many health benefits. However, do your research before switching to this diet to build your knowledge. You should also pay close attention to detail when handling raw food and monitor if your pups react to anything in the diet.