Best Dog Food for American Bulldogs: Good, Bad & Ugly
American bulldogs can sometimes look more like a horse. They’re like stocky little Arnold Schwarzeneggers. I mean really, these guys have so much muscle. Did you know they can jump up to seven feet? That’s crazy! So, if you’re looking for the best food for American bulldogs, you’ll want to keep your eye out for a few key ingredients that help them keep their lean, muscular frame without gaining too much weight.
We consulted a few of our dog expert friends, we did a bunch of research, and we sampled a few different foods—all for you! Hopefully, the work we put in on our end can help you find a great food for your American bulldog. Let’s dive in!
Quick Picks: Our Top 5 Choices for the Mighty American Bulldog
**Below, you'll find our expert's science-backed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Chewy.
American Bulldog Diet & Nutrition Requirements
**Please note: these estimates are based on an average weight for this breed. Every dog is different. Please talk to your vet before making changes to your dog's diet.
Quick note. The calorie estimates you see above are based on an 85-pound American bulldog. That’s on the low end of the weight range for male dogs of this breed, and it’s a bit high for females, but overall, it represents an average weight for the breed.
Based on that weight, an older dog or a dog who doesn’t really get much exercise (or who’s just a bit of a couch potato) would need around 1,400 calories per day. A typically active dog who gets a fair amount of exercise would need about 1,900 calories per day. And a highly active or working dog would need to eat around 2,700 calories per day, although this largely depends on exactly how much he works, so it’ll vary quite a bit.
As always, the amount of food your bulldog needs depends on a bunch of different things: weight, activity level, age and whether or not he’s neutered (or spayed, if she’s a lady). We just wanted to give you a ballpark here, so (1) current owners can budget and plan if they want to change their dog’s food and (2) new owners can get a feel for how much this breed eats on a daily basis.
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Macronutrients: Protein, Carbs & Fat
American bulldogs are a generally healthy breed (although they’re not totally without health problems, as you’ll see below), so they do well on lots of different types of foods.
Still, we recommend something with plenty of protein. This breed has tons of muscle mass, and including lots of protein in your dog’s diet can help him stay stocky. Protein also helps fuel his body if he likes to romp around, like most American bulldogs do.
These dogs have short, rather harsh coats, so finding a dog food rich in omega fatty acids isn’t going to be as important as it might be for a breed with long hair. Most dog foods will contain plenty of fat for your stocky friend.
You probably want to keep an eye on your pup’s carbs if you’re an American bulldog owner. They’re kind of pudgy by nature, and most love to eat, making it really easy for them to put on weight. Going with a food lower in carbs—something a bit more nutrient-dense—can help prevent excessive weight gain, which can cause other problems.
American Bulldog Health Problems & How Good Food Helps
Like we said above, American bulldogs are generally pretty healthy. However, they’re still prone to a few health woes, especially later in life. Here are a few of the most common ones as well as some information on what you can include in their diet to help them stay healthy.
Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia & Bone Cancer
Hip and elbow dysplasia is a degenerative joint condition common to a lot of large breeds. It can be pretty painful, especially if it develops early in life. Most of the time, you can’t prevent it totally. You can, however, introduce some key nutrients into your dog’s diet to help promote general bone and joint health.
Mostly, you want to look for dog foods that include glucosamine. Glucosamine and chondroitin can help keep bones, joints and connective tissues healthy, springy and well-lubricated, which goes a really long way toward making sure serious problems don’t develop.
Obesity & Thyroid Disorders
American bulldogs are pudgy little suckers, so it can be tough to judge their weight by just looking at them. As a general rule, though, you want to be able to feel their ribs (while they’re standing) without too much trouble. If you can’t, they’re probably a bit heavy and could stand to lose a few pounds.
And you really want to keep an eye on their weight, since excessive bodyweight can make some of those other problems (like hip and elbow disorders) much worse.
In addition to making sure your bulldog gets plenty of exercise, you can also make sure to avoid simple carbohydrates like corn, sugar and soy. You might even want to look into low-carbohydrate dog foods (we’ve included a few below).
Le'ts Look at some Short Reviews of the Best Foods for American Bulldogs
Orijen’s formula for adult dogs is usually one of our go-to recommendations for big, active dogs with a lot of muscle—and it’s almost always our first pick for large dogs who have problems with obesity.
The main reason we like this dog food is that it’s got lots of protein from tons of great sources. It doesn’t have the most protein of any dog food out there, and lots of owners even prefer to feed their bulldogs a bit more.
Still, about 35% of the calories in this recipe come from good meats or meat meals (basically meat concentrate), and that’s more than enough to keep your American bulldog lean and muscley.
Plus, there are about a million sources of protein here (seriously, there are like 10 different sources of protein; most dog foods have just a few), which adds a lot of variety, which we really like.
The carbs come from beans, lentils, chickpeas and squash, making it grain-free and good for dogs who want to control their weight.
Lastly, it’s just packed full of good produce. So, yea… it’s a big winner.
This is another great option for an American bulldog. Not only does it contain lots of great ingredients and plenty of protein, but it also includes supplements for large dogs’ joints.
We really like that the protein here comes from four different (and good) animal sources. It doesn’t have as much protein as Orijen, but it’s still plenty of protein, and it’s high-quality.
The protein calories mostly come from deboned chicken, whitefish and chicken meal. When we’re looking at protein blends, we like to see whole fish in there, since they’re a great source of both protein and omega fatty acids, making them extremely nutrient dense (and tasty!).
This recipe also contains both glucosamine and chondroitin, which can promote overall bone and joint health.
Lastly, it’s just a good, clean food. There’s no wheat, soy, byproducts, soy, flavoring or preservatives.
We bought a small bag of this for our pup to try, and she instructed us to pass on her high marks.
The Wellness CORE line also has a great large breed formula.
Overall, most of the benefits in the previous entry on this list hold for this option as well (it’s the same brand after all).
However, the key difference is that this recipe has much more protein. In fact, it has 36% more protein than the Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Adult Recipe, which awesome for larger American bulldogs who want to keep that beach body.
The protein here comes from deboned chicken, chicken meal and turkey meal. The carbs come from potatoes, and the biggest source of omega-rich fats comes from flaxseed, which, in our opinion, is one of the best plant-based sources of fat.
In other words, it’s a great formula, and it’s especially good for heavier, more muscular American bulldogs.
Fromm’s adult large breed formula doesn’t beat out the others on this list, really, but it’s got a good, unique combination of high-quality ingredients that could be good if you and your pup just want to switch it up (or if your dog likes a gamier taste).
This recipe has 24% protein, and most of that come from duck. And duck is an interesting ingredient. It’s typically a good, high-quality meat, but it has an unusually high water content, which means that it often accounts for a smaller portion of the food than listed after processing, since it loses water when cooked.
The rest of the protein comes from chicken and chicken meal.
It also contains rice and barley, so it’s not the best option if you’re looking for a grain-free dog food.
Still, there’s a lot to like. For example, there’s plenty of fat, and a lot of good vegetables and probiotics.
If you're looking for info on similar breeds, check out our article on German shepherds. And here's one for English bulldogs. We also published a good guide on dog food for Border Collies. If your dog has allergies, you can find out some of your options here.
**Disclaimer: Our dog food reviews are based mostly on (1) our expertise and that of the experts with whom we consult and (2) the information provided by the manufacturers. We do test many dog foods (with our dog's help), but we can't test them all. As such, please remember the above recommendations are our opinions, and you should consult your vet before making changes to your dog's diet.
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