How to feed your Frenchie sardines ( with infographic)

Are Sardines good for French bulldogs with allergies?

There are lots of dog owners that prefer to use fish-based dog foods and real fish as a treat because of the potential health benefits. Fish can provide essential oils and nutrients for improved health and is also recommended for dogs with allergies. But what about sardines? Can you feed sardines to your Frenchie to help with their allergies? The short answer here is yes , not only are sardines safe, but they are also a great source of many essential nutrients.  

Sardines are great for French Bulldogs


Are sardines good for French Bulldogs with allergies?

Sardine oils can improve your French Bulldog’s coat and skin and help them deal with any symptoms of their allergies. However, some sardine products are better than others and you need to consider other fats, salt content, and additional ingredients. You also need to limit how much they eat each week.

Are Sardines good for French bulldogs with allergies?
Sardines are excellent for French bulldogs with allergies

Sardines help French Bulldogs with skin, food, environmental or seasonal allergies 

There are skin conditions and allergies that are exacerbated by a lack of conditioning or poor nutrition. Your pet may be dealing with a parasitic infestation or a case of dandruff where the skin is drier and flakier than normal. 

Or, they may have environmental or food allergies that present themselves via a worsening in the condition of their coat or skin. While it is essential to deal with the causes of the allergies directly – such as the food trigger, parasite, or other irritants – you can also deal with the impact of the allergies on the skin. 

A great way to combat these issues of skin health and allergies is to provide more omega oils. These oils are perfect for skin and coat health. With time, you should start to see improvements in the health of the skin and a reduction in symptoms like flaking skin, itchiness, and other sources of irritation. In turn, your Frenchie should stop licking and scratching at these areas, which will allow the fur to grow back with a shinier look. 

Fish are a great source of omega oils – and sardines are a popular choice. 


One way for dogs to obtain these fish oils in their diet is to consume more fish rich dog food. This is a great way to substitute the protein source in their diets while still providing all the right nutrients and recommended amounts of carbohydrates, fiber, and other elements. 

You can essentially switch a chicken meal for a salmon meal and not have to worry about the impact on their diet. Your Frenchie probably isn’t going to be that picky when it comes to these changes in their food. 

An alternative approach is to use real fish as an additional element to a meal or as a treat. Sardines are a great substitute because of their oil content and strong taste, but also because they are so readily available. You don’t have to worry about sourcing a few of these fish from a market or fishmonger because there are lots of cheaper canned options out there. These processed versions are quick and simple and should retain a lot of the nutritional content of the fresher fish. 

Why would you give Frenchies sardines for allergies? 

A study showed that a canine diet enriched with fish-mealOpens in a new tab. had a marked suppression of intestinal inflammatory activity in dogs with sensitive tummies, such as French Bulldogs.

The nutritional content of sardines makes them a great alternative to other fish and you could end up seeing great improvements in the condition of their coat and skin.

As you will see below, the impact can depend on how often to feed sardines to Frenchies, as well as the difference between fresh and canned. Most Frenchies like Po will have no problem gobbling up a handful of these tasty fish. But, there is more to this little treat than its taste. 

How to add sardines to your Frenchie’s diet

There is clearly a lot to consider here when it comes to adding fish to a Frenchie’s diet. You can’t just stock up on any version of sardines or use them whenever you want. It is important that we take a closer look at some of the benefits and implications for a better idea of what to do. It is possible for Frenchie owners to take advantage of sardines in their dog’s diet, as long as you remember these key points . 

  1. Many symptoms of food and environmental allergies manifest in poor skin and coat condition. 
  2. Omega oils are a great way to improve skin allergies and are easily administered in a dog’s diet. 
  3. Fish is a great source of Omega and sardines are a tasty way for Frenchies to obtain it.
  4. You have a choice between cooked fresh sardines and canned sardines – the latter being more practical.
  5. It is important to pay attention to what the sardines are canned in – sauces, brine, oil, or water. 
  6. Portion control is also important to minimize salt intake. 

With so much to consider for the best way to use sardines in a Frenchie’s diet, let’s go over some of these key points in more detail. By the end, you should have a better idea of how to use them beneficially. 

Will Frenchies eat sardines?

If you have a Frenchie that will eat anything put in front of its face, this might sound like a silly question. But, there will be new owners that aren’t sure about using real fish like this as part of their dog’s diet. 

There is a great chance that your Frenchie will appreciate the taste of these strong-smelling fish and will start droolingOpens in a new tab. in anticipation when you offer them now and then. Of course, if they turn their nose up for some reason, you will need to try a different approach. 

How to feed Frenchies sardines

Now that we know a little more about why we should use sardines in our French Bulldog’s diet, we need to learn how. We can’t just use sardines as a regular substitute for other protein because this could become dangerous. Instead, you need to use them sparingly and to pay attention to the type of sardines used. The wrong product could have unfortunate effects on their health. 

Are fresh or canned sardines better for my French Bulldog?

There are different ways to purchase sardines. While many of us will use canned products, there is also the option to get “real” whole fish from a market and prepare those. This could have its benefits as fresh fish should have the best possible taste and nutritional content. Any vitamins, oils, and other factors won’t degrade with time. 

However, fresh fish do require more preparation, such as cleaning, gutting, and deboning. Fishbones are a big problem, especially with larger fish, where they can become stuck in a dog’s throat. Owners that aren’t comfortable with this level of prep may prefer canned goods. 

Canned sardines have their pros and cons too. On the negative side, they might not be the best choice in nutrients if they are preserved and overly-processed. There are also risks that come from the liquid the fish are in – more on that here. Still, this is a more practical option for a lot of Frenchie owners. All you need to do is open the can and put the fish in a bowl. These cans are also more affordable and accessible. 

Fresh Vs Canned Sardines for Dogs Infographic from Funny Little Frenchie
Fresh Vs Canned Sardines for Dogs Infographic from

Are cooked or raw sardines better for my French Bulldog?

If you do decide to use fresh sardines instead of canned ones, you need to be careful about how you prepare them. There are some owners that will just gut the fish and serve it raw, especially those that favor raw diets. 

However, sardines have complex proteins in them that are often hard to digest. Frenchies that aren’t used to them, or that eat too many, could end up with diarrhea. It is better to serve them cooked to be safe. 

Fresh sardines are good for dogs
Fresh sardines are good for dogs but messy and smelly to prepare

Should you feed your Frenchie canned sardines that are in oil, sauce, or water?

When you go shopping for sardines for your Frenchie, you will soon find that there are lots of different products out there. A lot of products come in an oil, such as vegetable or olive oil. This might sound like a great idea when choosing the best oil-rich sardines for Frenchies. But, you don’t want to introduce too many other forms of oil and fats in their diet. If you do get oily sardines, rinse them off first. 

Then there are the products that come in sauces. You will find some Frenchie parents that use sardines in tomato sauces or similar products as a treat. They are going to smell great to the dogs. But you need to be careful with these products because there may be other nasty ingredients or high salt content. Remember, they are made for human consumption, not for regular canine consumption. 

This is why it is best to stick with sardines that come in water and nothing else. The fish might not taste as good, but you can be sure that there are no dangerous extra ingredients to worry about. It also minimizes the preparation time. 

Never feed your Frenchie sardines in brine. 


The other form of canned sardine product out there is the one in brine. A lot of canned fish products come in brine as this is a common preservative. We don’t think a lot of it when we eat canned tuna, although we are sure to drain away as much of the salty liquid as possible. You don’t want to introduce any excess salt to your Frenchie’s diet and the brine in sardines is full of it. Even if you rinse the fish first, this might not be enough. Again, still with the sardines in water to stay on the safe side. 

Canned sardines are easy and convenient to feed your French Bulldog
Canned sardines are easy and convenient to feed your French Bulldog

How much sardine should I give my Frenchie to help with allergies?

Sardines are both high in calories and nutrient packed so you don’t need much. One small sardine can contain up to 25 calories, approximately half of those from fat and half from protein.

For an average weight Frenchie of 11-13kg the recommendation is no more than one tin of sardines a week. It is best to break this up over their meals for the week rather than feed in one go. Just mix a spoonful into their main food once a to add just enough of the oils and that strong smell. This is a great way to turn sardines into more of a supplement on top of their regular diet. 

Your Frenchie may like a whole fresh sardine to chew on, but remember you will need to gut and remove the backbone first. 

Instead of adding to their main meal, you can add sardines to a homemade treat recipe. Sardines make excellent high-value rewards for dog training too. Po goes mad for a stinky fish treat!

What happens if your Frenchie eats too many sardines?

As was mentioned above, sardines do have high protein contents with proteins that are quite difficult to digest. While this is less of an issue with cooked and canned sardines, you are better off controlling portions and using sardines as occasional treats. 

There is also the fact that the fish may have some salts and other minerals that could be harmful in large amounts. There is also some research that revealed concerns over excessive levels of Vitamin B1, although this is highly water-soluble and easily excreted. 

Feeding too many sardines can lead to weight gain and digestive issues with your Frenchie.

What alternatives are out there if you aren’t keen on using sardines?

Finally, we have to consider the outcome where sardines turn out to be a bad idea. While there is unlikely to be anything wrong in choosing them in a responsible way, they aren’t going to be for everyone. Your dog may not appreciate the taste. You might not appreciate handling the fish. Or you might have your doubts about some of the canned products and their impact. 

If this is the case, you can either focus on those other fish-based dog foods or use supplements to increase levels of Omega oils. Be careful not to add too much of a supplement so that you can avoid the same gastric distress mentioned before. But, the right product should be easy to administer and effective. You can also use topical solutions when bathing dogs as another way of improving their skin and soothing allergies. 

In summary, there is nothing wrong with adding some cooked or canned sardines to your Frenchie’s diet if they are prepared properly. Avoid anything in brine or excess oil and make sure to use them sparingly as small toppings or occasional treats. With time, you could find that this affordable solution helps to make a difference to their skin allergy symptoms and the condition of their coat.

Mother of Frenchies

I’m Sarah-Jane White, an Animal Behaviourist and Trainer and one of my degrees is specifically in Canine Behaviour and Training. I’m a supporter and occasionally foster for the Phoenix French Bulldog Rescue and French Bulldog Saviours. I have grown up with bullbreeds and currently have one fawn pied French Bulldog called Dolly, her nickname is Po, after Kung Fu Panda because she loves noodles and has some great ninja moves.

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