French Bulldogs, like most animal breeds, have gone through evolutionary changes over time. These changes have altered not just what they look like but what they eat as well. Feeding French Bulldogs raw food is a diet trend that is slowly catching on.
Raw food diets or BARF refer to a complete serving of unprocessed and uncooked foods. these include animal bones, meat, muscle, fruits, and vegetables. Each of these food groups should constitute a particular percentage per serving. Although fruits should constitute 5% per serving of raw food, not all fruits can safely be consumed by your Frenchie.
Most people find themselves at crossroads when it comes to which fruits to feed their Frenchie. Watermelons are one of these controversial fruits. So, can French Bulldogs eat watermelons? Read through this article to gather more insight on the matter.
Evolution of Dietary Needs of The French Bulldog
Domestication of dogs has believed to date back between 27,000 to 40,000 years ago. There are several theories on the domestication of dogs by humans, although none has been proved. It is, however, clear that dogs were domesticated from wolves when Northern Eurasia was covered with ice sheets.
One theory holds that wolves would scavenge for meat thrown away as waste. These wolves become accustomed to humans over time. A more realistic theory points out that hunters and gatherers were the first to successfully domesticate dogs during the ice age.
During this period humans and wolves were at the top of the food chain as predators. However, humans are not adapted to survive entirely on meat. As such, they had to look for other food groups to complement their meat diet. This meant they had a surplus of meat which they opted to share with the wolves.
Over time, more humans took in orphaned wolf puppies and fed them surplus meat. Humans then soon discovered that the wolves made excellent hunting companions. This triggered the need for further domestication of wolves.
All domesticated dogs originated from the wolf species. However, there are several dog breeds due to continuous crossbreeding. This is how the bulldog came to be. The domestication and continuous crossbreeding resulted in evolutionary changes in structure, appearance, temperament, and dietary needs of the modern-day dog.
Breeding of the French Bulldog
The French Bulldog originates from the English Bulldog which was bred for bull-baiting. This is a sport where a cow would be tethered and trained bulldogs would attack it. The sport, however, became illegal in the early 1800s due to animal cruelty lawsuits. People then began to breed the English bulldog with smaller breeds to attain a smaller companion.
The English lacemakers of Nottingham were the first to take to this smaller bulldog breed. The Industrial Revolution resulted in the loss of jobs. This forced these artisans to move to Northern France. The bulldog was further bred while in France and acquired its small modern-day size and the name French Bulldog.
When wolves were first domesticated, humans were primarily hunters and gatherers who relied heavily on a meat diet. Over time, humans became farmers and as their knowledge in agriculture expanded, so did their dietary options.
Agricultural evolution affected both what humans and the domesticated wolves ate. Research shows that agricultural evolution and wolf domestication occurred parallel to each other. As a result, dogs developed about 30 copies of the starch digesting gene. As such, modern-day dogs can easily digest starch than their evolutionary ancestors could.
Crossbreeding has also helped dogs to digest other food groups better than their ancestors could. These evolutionary and genetic changes have, however, also resulted in digestive complications in breeds such as the French Bulldog.
Due to excessive breeding, the French Bulldog developed several medical disorders. Among these are digestive disorders. For this reason, Frenchies are intolerant to particular foods and cannot digest them. Some of these digestive complications include;
Food Allergies and Intolerance: French bulldogs have sensitive stomachs. As such they have a low tolerance to particular foods which results in allergies. This is due to their genetic makeup as a result of excessive crossbreeding. You, therefore, have to be cautious of what you feed your Frenchie or it may result in a severe allergic reaction.
Signs of food intolerance and allergies include constant itching and lack of appetite. You should also look out for low energy, loss of hair, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Constipation: Most dogs get constipation as a result of swallowing indigestible objects, lack of exercise, dehydration, and lack of fiber in their diet. This might be the case with your Frenchie. French bulldogs, however, are susceptible to intestinal disorders due to genetic predisposition which can cause constipation.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease: This disease is simply known as IBD and is a common immune system disorder that affects Frenchies. Although stress and intestinal parasites are key causes of IBD, a diet change can also cause this disease. This means, introducing new foods both digestible and indigestible by your Frenchie can trigger this immune response.
In such a case, the intestinal lining is covered immune system cells such as plasmacytes and lymphocytes. This causes the intestinal lining to thicken and swell, affecting its ability to absorb nutrients efficiently. Common signs of IBD in French Bulldogs include loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Can French Bulldogs Eat Watermelons?
The simple answer is, yes. Watermelons do not contain any toxic substances that can harm your Frenchie. However, remove all the seeds and the rind from the watermelon before feeding it to your Frenchie.
The watermelon seeds and rind are not toxic and you shouldn’t be worried in case your Frenchie accidentally swallows them. They are, however, indigestible and can cause gastrointestinal blockages.
You should also avoid feeding your Frenchie too many watermelons. Most vets recommend that fruits like watermelon should only constitute 10% of your Frenchie’s food serving. You can also feed your Frenchie melons as a snack.
Benefits of Feeding Your French Bulldog Watermelons
Hydration: Watermelons constitute 95% water. They are, therefore, an excellent way to hydrate your Frenchie on a hot summer day. Snacking on watermelon chunks can also help prevent your Frenchie from experiencing heat exhaustion.
Weight management: Due to their small bodies and genetic setup, Frenchies are susceptible to being obese depending on their diet. Watermelons do not have any fats or starch. As such, they are a great fruit to add to your Frenchie’s diet.
Other than high water content, watermelons are also rich in fiber. As such, snacking on melons will leave your Frenchie feeling full and subsequently reduce the need to constantly feed.
It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals: Melons contain vitamins A, B1, B6, and C. These vitamins are essential for proper eyesight, healthy teeth and bones, red blood cell formation, and nervous system function. Watermelons also contain calcium and potassium which are essential for bone and teeth formation and proper muscle function.
Anti-cancerous Properties: Watermelons are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is a red hydrocarbon carotenoid with antioxidant properties that help lower insulin growth factors (IgF). IgFs support cell division in cancerous cells. High IgF levels increase the risk of developing cancer.
Therefore, due to lycopene, watermelons can help reduce the risk of cancer in both humans and dogs.
Benefits the heart: Due to their genetic makeup, French bulldogs are prone to several chronic respiratory conditions and diseases that may affect the heart’s muscles. Watermelons are rich in vitamins, magnesium, cucurbitacin, and potassium. These are great in managing and preventing heart diseases.
Helps in Lowering Oxidative Stress: Watermelons have anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C and lycopene. These are essential in fighting free radicals which are unstable-oxygen containing-molecules. Free radicals are responsible for cell damage in the body and result in premature aging and the growth of cancerous cells.
The anti-oxidants in watermelons also help to reduce inflammation and thus increase your Frenchie’s energy levels.
Healthier skin and shinier coat: French bulldogs are prone to dry and irritated skin. Watermelons are a great solution to keeping your Frenchie’s coat shinier and their skin healthy due to vitamins A, B, and C.
Improves Digestion: Because watermelons are rich in water and fiber content, they help to reduce constipation. Watermelons can also help reduce stool dryness and anal gland troubles.
How to Prepare Watermelons for French Bulldogs
There are several ways to prepare watermelons for your Frenchie once you remove the seeds and rind. These include;
Sliced chunks: This is the simplest way to prepare melons for your Frenchie. All you need to do is slice the melon into smaller chunks.
Frozen cubes: This option is best served on a hot summer day. Cut the watermelon into small cubes and cool them in the freezer. Feed our Frenchie the melon cubes once they are frozen. You should, however, make sure your Frenchie doesn’t have sensitive teeth or the frozen melon cubes could hurt their teeth.
Watermelon Puree: This option requires you to blend the melon into a puree. You can opt to add chunks of other healthy fruits that Frenchies can eat or blend them together to form a smoothie.
Watermelon Ice cream: This is a great option if you want to treat your Frenchie on a hot summer. You can make watermelon ice cream by blending frozen watermelon chunks with unsweetened plain yogurt. Frenchies can tolerate plain yogurt better than they do actual ice cream. Plain yogurt is also a great choice to make watermelon ice cream as it has bacteria that improve gut health.
Avoid sweetened yogurt with added flavors as it may cause your Frenchie to have stomach upsets. If your French bulldog is lactose intolerant, you can use lactose-free plant-based or animal-based yogurt. Coconut milk is also a great alternative to dairy-based yogurt.
Other Fruits French Bulldogs Can Eat
Oranges and Mandarins: These are a great source of Vitamin C which is essential for healthy teeth and gums. Oranges and mandarins, however, have high sugar content. As such, you should only feed your Frenchie half an orange or mandarin.
Mangoes: These are a great source of Vitamins C and E, fiber, and potassium. Make sure you peel the mango and remove the seed before feeding it to your Frenchie. The mango skin can be hard to digest while the mango pit contains toxic cyanide.
Berries: These include strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Berries are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, vitamins, folic acid, and fiber. This helps boost your Frenchie’s immunity, prevent constipation and give it a smooth and shiny coat.
Bananas: These are a rich source of fiber that helps improve your Frenchie’s bowel movement and prevent constipation. They also contain potassium and vitamins B6 and C. Bananas, however, contain more calories than most fruits. As such, you should limit your Frenchie’s banana intake to only half a banana per day. This will help prevent your Frenchie from becoming obese.
Fruits to Avoid Feeding Your Frenchie
Avocados: This fruit contains high levels of persin which is toxic to French bulldogs and can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Grapes and Raisins: These two fruits contain toxins that have severe effects such as kidney failure in Frenchies. Scientists are, however, yet to determine which chemicals in grapes and raisins are toxic to French Bulldogs.
Walnuts and Macadamia Nuts: Walnuts are usually moldy and contain tremorgenic mycotoxins which can cause neurological dysfunction and seizures. Consuming macadamia nuts on the other hand will cause ataxia, hyperthermia, body weakness, vomiting, and pancreatitis. Nuts are also a choking hazard to Frenchies.
Tomatoes: Frenchies can eat ripe tomatoes as they are a rich source of potassium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and C. Your Frenchie should, however, avoid eating green tomatoes, their stems, or leaves as they contain solanine. This is toxic to French Bulldogs and will cause loss of coordination, seizures, and even cardiac arrest.
French bulldogs can eat watermelons and other fruits. A great tip to observe, however, is to remove the seeds and rind them to avoid gastrointestinal blockage. If you’re feeding your Frenchie melons or any other safe fruit, start with small portions. This way you can monitor if your Frenchie reacts to them. You should also always do your research before introducing new fruits and foods to your Frenchie’s diet.