Pitbulls are active and energetic dogs known for their muscular build. While these dogs do have a unique history of aggression, modern Pitbulls are lovable pets that have adapted to domestic life
Technically speaking, there are multiple different dog breeds that fall under the umbrella moniker of "Pitbulls," inlcuding the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, and more.
While these dogs have evolved drastically throughout history, one thing that hasn't changed is their need for high-quality foods.
The right food will keep Pitbulls healthy throughout their lives while also helping to alleviate common health concerns.
In a hurry? Here's a quick overview of the recommended formula's
How Much Food Do Pitbulls Need?
While the ideal weight of a Pitbull depends on the specific breed, a healthy Pitbull weighs around 45 pounds on average. Most of that weight comes from their muscles.
Pitbulls are quite active and need the fuel to exercise and play. These dogs have a voracious appetite and do require a significant amount of food per day.
Typically, a healthy adult Pitbull will need upwards of 1,100 calories per day. This requirement may go up or down depending on the activity level of the dog.
This should be spread out into at least two meals to avoid overeating. Pitbulls are known to eat beyond what they need if given the opportunity, leading to weight gain.
Active dogs will require much more food. A dog that spends most of his day exercising or working may need up to 1,700 calories. On the other hand, it's important to decrease the dog's caloric intake as they age to avoid weight gain. Older dogs that are less active will do well in the range of 875 calories.
It's important to monitor the dog's activity and response to the food to adjust their daily intake accordingly. Because of their healthy appetites, owners should measure their food and avoid free feeding.
5 of the Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls
Here are some great dog food formulas that can help Pitbulls thrive. They are rich in proteins and contain a bevy of ingredients that help to improve the dog's overall health.
As always, it's good to go over individual ingredients prior to introducing the food into a dog's diet to ensure that allergens and unique issues are avoided.
1. Wilderness Blue Buffalo High Protein Dry Adult Dog Food
This dog food from Blue Buffalo is designed to imitate that of a wild wolf, so it contains a lot of meat. This particular formula utilizes deboned duck, chicken meal, and turkey meal as the main sources of protein.
This combination is a great source of energy and muscle-building amino acids. As a carbohydrate, the food has potatoes and peas. It's free of harmful corn and grains to help alleviate bloat. There's also a healthy mix of vegetables and fruits, including carrots, blueberries, and cranberries.
The inclusion of Blue Buffalo's unique LifeSource bits ensures that the dog is getting a healthy dose of nutrients and antioxidants as well.
2. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
Chock full of protein, this formula from Earthborn Holistic is great for lively Pitbulls. An outstanding 42% of this dog food is made up of protein. These sources include lean red meat bison, bison meal, lamb meal, and eggs.
The lean meat is ideal for building muscles and maintaining a high level of energy throughout the day. Flaxseed is used as a source of healthy fat. It helps to keep the skin healthy and smooth.
The formula utilizes cranberries, blueberries, apples, spinach, and more to introduce essential vitamins and nutrients to the dog's diet as well. The manufacturers also went with natural flavors to keep the formula safe and healthy.
3. Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food
Taste of the Wild dog food is a great option for any dog because of it's natural and grain-free formula. Instead of utilizing grains, the dog food has sweet potatoes and peas to help with digestion. The carbohydrates dissolve slowly to minimize bloat.
The main sources of protein in this option are roasted bison and venison. There's also lamb meal and fish meal. The proteins are supplemented with a variety of fruits and vegetables, including raspberries, tomatoes, and chicory root. There's also a number of ingredients packed with antioxidants to help with immune health.
4. Merrick Grain Free Recipe Dry Dog Food (duck)
This food from Merrick contains roughly 43% protein. It has deboned duck, turkey meal, lamb meal, deboned chicken, and salmon meal. The diverse selection of natural meats provide dogs with a healthy dose of amino acids.
The inclusion of salmon meal and oil also helps to keep their skin and coat beautiful. Sweet potatoes and standard white potatoes are used for the carbohydrates. Blueberries, apples, and organic alfalfa provide important nutrients.
The unique thing about this formula is that it also contains glucosamine. This ingredient is beneficial to Pitbulls because it can help strengthen the joints and alleviate pain.
5. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Senior Dog Food
Specifically formulated for senior dogs, this food from Wellness can help dogs age gracefully with its high-quality ingredients. It doesn't contain harmful wheat or corn. Instead, it has barley, brown rice, and flaxseed.
For protein, the manufacturers went with deboned chicken, whitefish, and ground millet. The ingredients that make this formula ideal for older dogs is the glucosamine and chondroitin. They can help with hip and joint issues.
Another unique aspect is that the kibble contains up to 9% fewer calories. Instead of cutting back on volume, dogs can eat the same amount without having to worry about weight gain.
Ingredients to Look For
Because of their unique build, high-quality dog food is a must-have. Cheaper foods filled with unnecessary ingredients will only hinder the dog's athletic performance.
It could also lead to weight gain that can result in a host of health issues. Pitbulls have a variety of macronutrient requirements that every owner should look for.
It should go without saying that protein is the first thing owners should look for. Every dog should have a diet that consists of mainly protein sources. With Pitbulls, proteins are a necessity.
Protein helps to build those strong muscles the breed is known for while also providing them with the fuel they need to stay active.
While most dog foods contain protein as the first ingredient, it's important to go with high-quality sources of protein. Natural sources like chicken, beef, lamb, and fish are all ideal. In fact, it's always good to go with a dog food that has more than one type of protein source.
Pitbulls will thrive with a dog food that's made up of 40% protein or more. At the very least, the dog food needs to have at least 25% percent protein to keep the dog healthy. However, the more the merrier.
Fats are good for providing Pitbulls with energy while infusing the food with flavor. Additionally, healthy natural fats contain Omega fatty acids. Typically found in fish oil or flaxseed oil, these fatty acids can do wonders to a dog's skin and fur.
With Pitbulls having relatively short fur, the acids will keep the skin supple and free from a variety of skin conditions.
Pitbulls don't need a high amount of fat due to their muscles. However, a typical amount of natural fat found in the protein source is healthy.
Some high-quality foods also contain supplementary fat rich with fatty acids. If the main protein source is fish, those fats are already present.
Quality Carbs and Nutrients
Carbs are often included to make the food more filling. They don't need much, so it's important to look for good sources. High-quality carbs like sweet potatoes are an excellent choice. Not only do they make the food filling, but they have added nutrients.
Nutrients from fruits and vegetables can help a dog achieve a balanced diet. Dog food formulas filled with a wide range of natural ingredients will supply dogs with all they need to thrive.
Unique ingredients like carrots will provide beta-carotene to improve their eye health while blueberries provide a boost of antioxidants.
Ingredients to Avoid
There are a number of ingredients that can be detrimental to a Pitbull's health. These ingredients are used by cheaper foods to cut down production costs. While the food may be enticing due to its low price tag, these ingredients are harmful to dogs.
Unfortunately, cheaper dog food formulas contain bad sources of protein that do more harm than good. Meat and poultry byproducts are all heavily processed and don't contain the beneficial amino acids that natural sources do.
Pitbulls won't experience the same health benefits. In fact, these sources may even cause health problems.
Byproducts contain a variety of unspecified ingredients, including random dead animals and leftovers from slaughterhouses. It's best to go with natural sources or meat meals, which are simply ground up.
Corn and Grain
Corn and cheap grains are fillers that Pitbulls can do without. They're one of the cheapest fillers available. If corn or grains are listed as one of the first ingredients, it's best to keep looking.
These ingredients can upset the dog's stomach, lead to digestive issues, and cause them to gain weight. Because it's often used as a replacement to high-quality carbs and proteins, the dog may also experience malnutrition. There are also ltotaly grain free dog food options for your Pitbull available
Color and flavor additives are far too common among manufacturers. They're incorporated to make the food more appealing for dogs. Unfortunately, they're almost always made from chemical ingredients concocted in a lab.
They're not natural by any means and can actually cause allergic reactions in dogs. If the dog food contains natural high-quality ingredients, it shouldn't need any additional chemicals to be enticing to a Pitbull.
Additional Things to Pay Attention To
Commercial dog food products are about much more than just providing the basics for your Pitbull. The food you choose is going to impact every aspect of their health!
As a result, there are several additional factors to consider. These factors can improve your pup's overall health and possibly address some problems they're facing.
High Calorie Count
We've already gone over the number of calories your dog likely needs. Figuring out the exact amount is a lifelong process! There's a good chance that you will have to make adjustments as your dog's activity level and age changes.
However, there's one thing that remains constant. Dog food for Pitbulls should have a high calorie count. If you compare and contrast different dog food products, you'll quickly discover that no two foods are equal in this regard.
Typically, you can find how many calories a cup of kibble has on the back where the nutrient analysis is located. Some dog foods will have well over 500 calories per cup. Others will barely have 300. So, why choose a dog food that's higher up on the calorie spectrum?
It all comes down to usable calories and bulk.
A high-calorie food is going to contain more usable calories per piece than a low-calorie alternative. This means that high-calorie foods are more nutrient-dense. They contain more beneficial stuff and less filler. Think of it as giving your dog more nutrient bang for the buck!
There are some exceptions out there, but generally, foods that have a lower calorie count utilizes more fillers. You may not be able to spot them in the ingredient list. But you can certainly get a better idea by looking at the calorie density.
With high-calorie food, your dog can take advantage of more of the good stuff. They will feel fuller and won't have to eat as much food volume to take advantage of the benefits it offers.
Foods with lots of calories often come at a premium. But, you can rest easy knowing that your dog is getting adequate nutrition and plenty of muscle-building protein.
With their active lifestyles, Pitbulls are prone to joint problems. We'll go into the details of that later. But even if your dog never experiences an injury in his or her life, all canines can benefit from good joint health.
The aging process is taxing on the joints, resulting in less mobility as your pup grows older.
There's no guaranteed way to stop joint problems altogether. It's not like we can stop the aging process! But, you can provide dog foods that include ingredients that focus on joint health.
Many brands make dog food for Pitbulls that contain things like glucosamine and chondroitin.
Glucosamine and chondroitin
Glucosamine is an amino sugar. It's a naturally occurring compound that's found in healthy cartilage. Over time, your dog's natural dips, resulting in changes to those important joint tissues! Luckily, you can improve glucosamine levels with a supplement.
In dog foods, manufacturers usually source natural glucosamine from shellfish.
Chondroitin is another compound that your dog's body makes. Like glucosamine, levels start to go down once your dog gets up there in age.
Chondroitin is usually sourced from shark or bovine cartilage. Though, some brands will use a lab-made supplement called chondroitin sulfate.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are the "magic two" for joint health! As a healthy adult, you don't need to go crazy with these supplements. Small amounts are more than enough to keep joint problems at bay!
But as your young dog turns into a senior, you can look for foods that have higher concentrations of these supplements. Typically, foods marketed for senior health will have good levels of glucosamine and chondroitin.
Fatty acids and MSM
Other good supplementary ingredients to look for are fatty acids and MSM. Fatty acids come from ingredients like salmon oil and flaxseed oil. We went over the skin and fur benefits of the omega fatty acids earlier. However, fatty acids can also do wonders for joint health!
It helps to reduce that morning stiffness that older dogs feel, allowing them to get up and be active without all the pain!
Finally, there's MSM. MSM stands for Methyl-sulphonyl-methane. It's another organic compound that humans and some animals have. For dog food, it usually comes from pine bark!
MSM is a natural anti-inflammatory. It can reduce swelling in the joints and provide some relief for dogs with osteoarthritis. This ingredient isn't necessary for healthy adult dogs. But seniors can benefit from it greatly!
Fiber and Probiotics
The last things to look for when choosing food for Pit bull dogs are fiber and probiotics.
A dog's ability to digest and efficiently process foods can vary widely. Some will have no problem scarfing down garbage and gross foods without so much as flinching!
But others will react negatively to even high-quality dog food products!
Whether your dog is on the sensitive side or not, it pays to have dietary fiber and probiotics.
Dietary fiber typically comes in the form of natural ingredients like oats, barley, apples, carrots, and more. Basically, the job of fiber is to add more bulk to the stool.
This might sound gross and intuitive, but it's actually very beneficial for Pits! Bulky stool is much easier to pass, increasing the likelihood of constipation. A good amount of fiber can also prevent issues like diarrhea and soft stool.
The fiber will absorb some of those liquids, ensuring that your dog has a firm and consistent texture that's easy to pass.
On the way out, that firm stool will also help empty out your dog's anal glands. That's a messy problem no dog owner wants to deal with, so having some good fiber content is a big plus!
The maximum amount of crude fiber is a requirement for the AAFCO, also known as the Association of American Feed Control Officials. As a result, you will find the maximum fiber content in the nutrient analysis section.!
Probiotics are another worthy addition to dog food for Pitbulls. While fiber improves the stool itself, probiotics are all about enhancing the stomach environment! Your pup's stomach is home to tiny microbes that help with digestion and food processing.
However, those microbe colonies can go out of whack pretty regularly. This happens when dogs consume a poor diet. Oftentimes, it occurs after surgical procedures, too.
Probiotics can help restore beneficial bacteria, ensuring that your dog's gut is in good shape! With probiotics, your dog will have an easier time digesting foods. Not only that, but they can take advantage of the micronutrients and macronutrients the food offers.
In many cases, probiotics also improve the immune system and benefit the rest of the body. It's a win-win!
You can find probiotics in many dog foods. Just take a look at the labeling!
Diets to Address Specific Concerns
The best dog food for Pit bulls will provide everything your dog needs to stay happy and healthy. But what if your canine companion has some special health needs you need to address?
All dogs are different. While premium foods cater to the masses, there are some instances in which a special diet is necessary. Here are some common specialty diets and things to look for when finding foods that meet your dog's needs.
Diets for Building Muscle Mass
Pit bulls are already pretty muscular and active! But, many owners like to help their pups reach their full potential!
If you want your dog to build muscle mass, you're going to need to focus on the protein element of their diet. A higher protein content provides more muscle-building amino acids.
To add bulk, go for a dog food that contains 40 to 45 percent protein! Another 40 percent should go to high-quality complex carbs while the remaining 20 percent is for fats.
High-calorie foods are a must. To build mass, your dog will need as much protein as it can get. Any extra fillers will just put your dog back.
With a healthy exercise regime, you should see those muscles popping up in no time!
Now, before you attempt to build muscle, it's important to consult with your vet. You should never give a puppy a muscle-building formula. It can lead to developmental problems that impact the rest of your dog's life.
Stay with a puppy formula until they are fully mature. Even then, have a conversation with your vet to make sure they are ready.
Diets for Weight Gain
Pitbulls are one of the most abandoned dogs at shelters. With the misconceptions about these dogs floating around, there are still many places you can't bring them.
Municipal bans, apartment breed restrictions, and more lead to many of these pups ending up at the pound. Some are also brought there due to abuse.
If you adopt an underweight Pitbulls, you may need to start them off on a weight-gaining diet.
These diets aren't about packing on the pounds as fast as possible. They're about bringing your dog to a healthy weight in a healthy manner.
The goal here is to choose a high-calorie dog food for Pitbulls. You don't want to let your dog free-feed. Giving them excess food is no good either. However, high-calorie dog foods allow you to increase their intake without instilling some bad eating habits.
Diets for Allergies
If your dog is unfortunate enough to have food allergies, you'll need to be careful about choosing the right dog food for Pitbulls. Allergies take time to address.
You could go in for an allergy test at the vet. But even then, you'll like have to do some trial and error to single-out the offending ingredient.
The problem with allergies is that many dog foods use the same kinds of ingredients. They may come from different sources and have varying formulas, but ingredients like chicken, beef, and more are pretty widespread in the industry!
Thus, you'll need to find a unique dog food product to avoid any common allergens. Look for dog foods that contain unorthodox protein sources.
There are plenty of products out there that use "novel proteins." Some good examples include bison, rabbit, ostrich, and kangaroo.
You can also try a limited ingredients dog food. These products contain only the bare essentials. They have no artificial stuff and usually only use a handful of easy-to-identify ingredients.
Diets for Senior Dogs
The dog food your dog eats as a puppy isn't going to cut it when they reach the ripe old age of 10!
Senior dog foods are cater-made to the needs of older dogs. Take advantage of them! Oftentimes, they contain joint-health ingredients we went over.
In many cases, they also have a lower calorie count. High-calorie counts are best for adults. But once your dog gets older, their decreased activity level will result in massive weight gain.
You could scale back serving sizes, but that could easily upset your dog! A lower calorie count retains that volume while cuts back on the calories.
Also, look out for low-fat formulas. You should also avoid grains or anything that could cause significant blood sugar fluctuations.
Diets for Weight Loss
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have diets for weight loss.
While they have a reputation for being active and energetic, lazy Pitbulls do exist! To help improve your dog's figure a weight loss dog food for Pitbulls is a must!
These foods usually contain lower fat levels and more modest calorie counts. Protein should remain high. If a dog food markets itself as a weight loss formula but contains low protein levels, move onto something else!
As always, speak with your vet before making the switch! Losing weight is not easy. This is especially true for dogs. So, you'll need your vet's guidance during the process.
Also read: 12 Common Reasons why Older Dogs Lose Weight
Common Health Problems in Pitbulls
Like any other dog, Pitbulls are susceptible to a variety of health problems. Due to their active lifestyles, these dogs may experience additional issues as they age. While not entirely avoidable, many problems can be alleviated with the help of a good diet.
Allergies are quite common among Pitbulls. Much like humans, Pitbulls can be allergic to a wide variety of things. Furthermore, allergies can develop over time.
Symptoms include vomiting, sneezing, hair loss, skin issues, and much more.
The specific cause of the allergic reaction can be difficult to pinpoint. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon for Pitbulls to develop an allergy to an ingredient in their kibble, even if it's a great ingredient.
Diagnosis of the allergy requires a specialized test from a veterinarian. Once the culprit is found, owners will need to develop a unique diet to help the dog avoid flares and illness.
While bloating may not seem like a huge issue, it can be fatal for Pitbulls. Officially called Gastric Torsion, the problem occurs when the stomach twists and prevents gas from being released.
If left untreated, the dog will continue to bloat until serious complications occur. It requires immediate veterinarian attention.
This often occurs with Pitbulls because of their healthy appetite. They'll scarf down food without chewing, resulting in a quick buildup of gas. Luckily, there are a number of steps owners can take to avoid potentially dangerous bloating.
Firstly, meals should be separated to prevent the dog from eating too much at one time. At the very least, Pitbulls should eat two meals a day. Pitbulls should also avoid rigorous activity for at least an hour after eating.
In terms of their diet, it's good to avoid corn and cheap carbs. Stick to a formula that's high in protein and has complex carbohydrates that dissolve slowly.
Joint issues are common among active dog breeds like Pitbulls. They may develop slowly over time because intense physical activity is a regular occurrence. Unfortunately, the problem is only apparent as the dog gets older.
They may start limping in pain or have trouble getting around. There are a number of unique diets to help tackle the issue and alleviate pain.
Medications are also available from veterinarians to treat pain and relieve symptoms.