Food Sensitivity and Allergies in French Bulldogs

Written By Darlene Stott
Published: 03/16/2021Updated: 05/18/2023
Veterinary reviewed by Michele K.
Food Sensitivity and Allergies in French Bulldogs

What are Food Sensitivity and Allergies in French Bulldogs?

Food sensitivities and allergies can cause canines to become pretty miserable and uncomfortable. Itchiness in dogs to the point of self-harm is a recurrent reaction to the health condition.

Food allergies, also called sensitivities, can be common in French Bulldogs. When French Bulldogs have a food sensitivity, the immune system is involved. Antibodies are produced against an ingredient or compound in the food that the body cannot tolerate. Food allergies can begin after a French Bulldog has been eating a specific food for some time, or with a new food.

Symptoms of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in French Bulldogs

French Bulldogs with a food allergy may show the following signs:

Causes of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in French Bulldogs

If your Frenchie has itching and skin lesions or bumps all year round, it could point to a food allergy. Ear infections that continue to recur could also point to allergies and food sensitivity. Seasonal allergy symptoms that appear, for example, in spring and fall only, could be related to pollen or leaf mold.

A mild case of food intolerance could be the case if your dog has gas, a noisy tummy, evidence of stomach discomfort, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

A definite allergy or sensitivity to something in the food will mean your French Bulldog presents symptoms like severe itching all year round. There is no relief, and they may scratch and bite excessively.

Many ingredients in dog food can be the cause of allergies. Here is a list of the more common ones:

  • Dairy products
  • Chicken and chicken eggs
  • Lamb
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Wheat (and the gluten)
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Additives
  • Colorings

Diagnosis of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in French Bulldogs

Consult your veterinarian if you feel that your dog has a food allergy. The diagnosis will involve a food elimination trial where the vet will prescribe a special diet. This diet will not contain any of the ingredients your dog is normally exposed to. 

Hypoallergenic food is usually prescribed, and all family members will have to adhere to the rule that your dog has no other food than what has been prescribed. This will include treats and tidbits used to train your dog. The veterinarian can supply treats that have the same ingredients as the prescription diet or can recommend that you make little mini-meatball-sized treats out of a canned version of the prescribed elimination diet food.

The veterinary team will give you further information, including instructions to not give your French Bulldog their heartworm medicine for the time being, along with any supplements you may be giving them. Even your dog’s toothpaste might need to be changed. Ask the vet about this as well—never use human toothpaste on a dog due to the risk of toxic ingredients like xylitol.

After a period of time on the elimination diet (anywhere between 3-12 weeks with the typical trial taking 8-12 weeks), the veterinarian may decide to begin adding back certain foods to try and pinpoint the allergen.

Related: Best Dog Food for French Bulldogs

Treatment of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in French Bulldogs

If your French Bulldog has extremely itchy skin or is showing signs of secondary infection from so much scratching, corticosteroids may be prescribed to help the skin to heal. Antihistamines, to stop the itch, may be suggested also. Many dogs will have to wear the Elizabethan collar (also called a cone) to prevent them from licking and chewing at the fur and limbs. If your dog has a secondary infection, oral antibiotics could be needed. Sometimes, probiotics are given to strengthen the digestive system.

How the treatment proceeds will depend on the condition of your dog when the elimination diet begins. Some veterinarians prefer to not treat itching or other symptoms because they want to see how the elimination diet works. But of course, if there is a risk of infection or another serious complication, the vet will provide relief. 

Your veterinarian will advise you on other types of allergies since food allergies can go hand in hand with other sensitivities. 

  • Spores
  • Shed skin cells
  • Flea saliva from flea bites
  • Pollens
  • Grass
  • Dust mites
  • Cedar bedding or garden cedar chips

When a Frenchie’s allergies are environmental or inhalant-related, signs may be wheezing, sneezing, coughing, runny discharge from the eyes or nose, and itching (either generalized or all over the body).

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Recovery of Food Sensitivity and Allergies in French Bulldogs

If an allergy is left unchecked, it may develop into gastrointestinal problems for your dog. As well, skin conditions not cared for can turn into secondary infections, making your dog ill from bacteria that have entered the body.

Dogs that have food allergies can also be prone to inhalant allergy and flea bite allergy. Keep on top of your French Bulldog’s symptoms and see the vet immediately if they appear unwell.

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