Does Your English Bulldog Have Food Allergies?

bulldog food allergies

Food allergies are not uncommon across all breeds, and bulldogs are at the top of the list when it comes to suffering from them. Bulldogs are prone to food allergies to begin with, and feeding your bully a low-quality, nutritionally unsound diet can compromise his immune system and make the chances of an allergic reaction to food components even higher. Bulldogs also have sensitive stomachs that can’t tolerate some of the foods that don’t necessarily affect other breeds.

An upset digestive system and food allergies can make for one miserable dog. Here’s what to look for and how to go about eliminating that misery.

Signs of Food-Related Distress

If you’ve noticed any of the following symptoms in your bulldog, a recent diet change may be to blame:

  • Pooping more than usual
  • Chronic diarrhea, runny stool or gas
  • Excessive shedding
  • Excessive tear stains and eye boogers
  • Decreased energy
  • Bumps, hives, rashes, swelling and other allergic reactions
  • Scabs, itchy areas in their bottom or feet, or other skin irritations
  • Chronic ear inflammation

General Food Check

While your bulldog may have a reaction to a very strange or specific ingredient in his food, there are a number of common components that are likely to contribute to food allergies in bulldogs. These include:

  • Food on the recall list, which can harbor any number of harmful components. Check the regularly updated known recall list compiled by the editors of
  • Grains and gluten, which can both cause allergies in bulldogs. If your dog can tolerate high-quality grains, like brown rice, they can be an awesome source of energy. Gluten allergies are generally rare, but bulldogs are at a higher risk than other breeds.
  • Food dyes like Blue 2, Red 40 and Yellow 5. These dyes can not only cause allergies, but they can also contribute to neurological problems and cancer in bulldogs.
  • Animal Digest, which is a spray made from a stew of animal parts and treated with chemicals known for causing allergies.
  • Common allergens that also include beef, dairy, egg, chicken, lamb, pork, rabbit, fish and soy.

A number of other components found in many commercial dog foods can contribute to allergies by compromising your bulldog’s immune system. Check out our post outlining The Sick Stuff in Commercial Dog Food to learn more. (Link here)

How to Pinpoint a Food Allergy Problem

While your vet may be able to perform certain tests to determine or rule out an allergy, an elimination diet is the most effective way to pinpoint if a particular food is causing an allergic reaction. Holistic pet care authority Susan Wynn explains the process:

  1. Switch your bulldog’s food to something he’s never had before. Scan the ingredients carefully, as this can be challenging if he’s had foods with multiple ingredients.
  2. Once his allergy symptoms improve, start reintroducing the foods you believe caused the allergies, one by one.
  3. Keep an eye out for an allergic reaction to any of the reintroduced foods. Reactions can crop up anywhere from a few days of a few weeks, so give them time to develop before adding another food into the mix.

Of course, you then avoid the food that causes the allergy, hopefully landing on two or three diets your bulldog can tolerate. Since bulldogs can suddenly develop a food allergy to something he’s eaten for years with no issues, Wynn recommends rotating the diet every two or three months to help prevent such food sensitization from occurring.

Has your bulldog suffered from food allergies? What caused them? Share your experience with others in the comments section.


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