Pitbulls, more formally known as American Staffordshire Terriers, are one of the most common breeds of dogs across the United States. Pitbull mixes are among the most common breeds found in pet shelters and many people love giving them a forever home.
Pitbulls are highly active and energetic, making them a great family dog and companion. Since pitbulls are so athletic, providing them with the right nutrition is essential for a happy and healthy life.
With such unique builds, pitbulls need a great dog food that suits their needs. This article will discuss the top dog foods for pitbulls, starting with our quick recommendations –
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How Much Should I Feed My Pitbull?
How much your pitbull needs to eat in a day depends on two main factors: their weight and activity level. Too many calories and they may become overweight; too few and they’ll likely feel lethargic due to the effects of malnourishment.
A good place to start when determining how much to feed your pitbull is with the manufacturer’s recommended daily amount based on weight. However, keep in mind that pitbulls have a much higher activity level than the average dog breed and may need more than the listed amount of food per day.
If you suspect your pitbull should be eating more, make small adjustments over time and closely monitor them for any changes in weight or behavior.
Some pitbulls are prone to eating too fast, which can be unhealthy and even life threatening in extreme cases. If your pitbull tends to gobble down the whole bowl in a few bites, consider feeding smaller meals throughout the day or using a slow feed bowl.
What Kind of Dog Food Should My Pitbull Eat?
Every breed has their own unique nutritional requirements due to genetics, activity, and susceptibility to certain health conditions. We’ll get into this shortly with a list of specific dog food brands that are ideal for pitbulls. But there are still a few general guidelines you can follow to find an ideal food for your pitbull.
One common misconception is that pitbulls should be fed large breed food. These foods have a lower caloric density than regular dog food, since large dog breeds typically need fewer calories per pound than smaller breeds to maintain a healthy weight. They may also have a lower amount of certain vitamins and minerals.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to feed your pitbull large breed dog food, which is better suited for breeds like German shepherds and golden retrievers.
Do Pitbulls Have Special Nutritional Requirements?
In addition to being more active than other dog breeds, pitbulls have a much higher muscle mass than average which supports their strong, stocky frame. To support this physical makeup, pitbulls need a higher protein food than other dogs – around 35 to 40% is an ideal goal.
Calcium is also an essential mineral for pitbulls; it promotes strong bones and teeth and is important to achieving a maximum lifespan. Foods that are high in protein can sometimes be naturally lower in calcium since meat has a low calcium content. Look for a food that has added calcium or consider adding calcium supplements to your dog’s daily regimen following a discussion with your vet.
7 Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls
To choose the best dog food brands for pitbulls, our team of experts looked at several breed-specific factors and selected foods that most closely aligned with our list of qualifications. These dog foods are high in quality protein and contain all the best nutrients to support pitbulls’ unique physical makeup and dietary needs.
The Farmer’s Dog
The quick answer? The Farmer’s Dog takes is the smarter fresh dog food option by offering higher quality ingredients and better convenience through customized meal plans. Get 50% off by clicking here or the coupon link below.Coupon: 50% off Farmer’s Dog
One of the freshest dog foods on the market, The Farmer’s Dog makes real human-quality food from meat and vegetable sources. Recipes consist of a primary protein source like turkey or beef, vegetables including sweet potatoes and carrots, and healthy fats such as fish oil and sunflower seeds.
Farmer’s Dog recipes are cooked fresh in USDA kitchens, then immediately frozen and shipped to your home. They arrive in pre-portioned packages and can be refrigerated until you’re ready to feed them to your pup, taking the guesswork of how much to feed at each meal.
We also love the brand’s online recipe builder that uses a profile of your dog to formulate the perfect meal plan. Simply enter your pitbull’s age, activity level, and any health concerns and you’ll get a breed-specific recipe that is tailored to your dog’s individual needs.
First 10 Ingredients:
USDA Turkey, parsnips, chickpeas, carrot, broccoli, spinach, fish oil, Vitamins & Minerals
Crafted Kibble is another dog food brand that leverages artificial intelligence to create a meal plan based on your pup’s breed and other individual information. The pre-portioned kibble packets are extremely convenient as they don’t need to be refrigerated and are ideal for taking on the go.
The kibble recipes from Crafted Kibble contain protein from one of five main sources: trout, salmon, turkey, lamb, or chicken. You also have the option of choosing from food with oats or brown rice or a grain-free option. Fats come from kibble and flaxseed, and the added vitamins give an extra boost to your pitbull’s digestive system, skin, and coat.
First 10 Ingredients:
Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), oatmeal, natural turkey and chicken flavor, beet pulp-dried, menhaden fish meal (a source of fish oil)
- 25 lbs Essence Ocean & Freshwater Dog Dry Food
- Items for all types of pets
- Quality selection for everyday pet needs
A longtime Woof Whiskers favorite, Essence dog food is a great choice for pitbulls due to its high protein content, ideal levels of healthy fats, and multiple sources of added calcium. The sustainably-sourced animal protein found in the kibble comes from unique meats like guinea fowl, herring, and lamb.
If your pitbull suffers from food sensitivities, which often manifest as skin and coat issues in the breed, you can try the Essence Limited Ingredient Recipe line. Each of the three foods contain just two animal protein sources and two plant-based fiber sources, making it easy to isolate and eliminate ingredients your dog doesn’t tolerate.
First 10 Ingredients:
Guinea Fowl, Duck, Turkey, Chicken, Duck Meal, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Red Lentils, Garbanzo Beans, Navy Beans
- ACANA Paleo dog food is nutrient-dense and high in protein, nourishing dogs completely with whole wild...
- With rich inclusions of quality animal ingredients, ACANA dog food uses meat, organs, cartilage, and...
- Our Fresh Regional Ingredients are supplied by people we know and trust, from regional farms, ranches,...
Another fantastic dog food that meets the specific dietary requirements of pitbulls, the Acana Paleo Formula is a grain-free option with no gluten, tapioca, or potato ingredients. The food consists of 60% animal ingredients, including boar, turkey, and rabbit, and 40% vegetable ingredients. This dry kibble is available in bag sizes from 4.5 lbs to 25 lbs.
First 10 Ingredients:
Deboned wild boar, deboned turkey, pork meal, whole green peas, whole red lentils, whole yellow peas, turkey meal, pork fat, whole chickpeas, whole green lentils
- Contains one (1) 22-lb. bag of Crave Grain Free Adult Dry Dog Food With Protein From Lamb and Venison....
- CRAVE recipes use a combination of animal and plant proteins to balance the amino acid levels in our dog...
- Grain Free - with quality carbohydrate sources for energy, 34% high-protein inspired by a dogs' natural...
Crave is a meat-based kibble that is high in the protein pitbulls need to support their athletic lifestyle. Choose from easily digested protein sources like fish, chicken, or lamb, all of which are farm-raised in the United States by local suppliers. Additional plant-based protein comes from peas and potatoes. The food is grain-free and includes no corn or soy.
First 10 Ingredients:
Deboned Lamb, Chicken Meal, Chickpeas, Split Peas, Lamb Meal, Potato Protein, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Dried Potatoes, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Venison Meal
Taste of the Wild
- Taste of the Wild Ancient Prairie; with roasted bison and roasted venison; real meat is the #1...
- A combination of ancient, whole grains like grain SORGHUM, MILLET, QUINOA and CHIA seed which are...
- Formulated to AAFCO and FDA requirements and considering the latest research, by a team with expertise...
The philosophy behind Taste of the Wild is that dog breeds such as pitbulls are best supported by a diet that taps into their ancestors’ wild roots. The kibble combines meat sources like fish and venison with high-quality grains such as sorghum and millet for essential carbohydrates. Despite including these grain sources, the food is overall high in protein while still remaining relatively low-carb.
First 10 Ingredients:
Buffalo, pork, chicken meal, grain sorghum, millet, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), cracked pearled barley, dried yeast, roasted bison, roasted venison
- HIGH quality PROTEIN made with real CAGE FREE chicken, tailored for an EXTREME ATHLETE to get an optimal...
- High protein ingredients with added vitamins & minerals; fruits and vegetables as SUPERFOODS for...
- Nutrient rich and HIGHLY DIGESTIBLE with PROPRIETARY PROBIOTICS that survive and thrive in the GI tract;...
Diamond Naturals dog food is specifically created with athletic dogs such as pitbulls in mind. The recipe contains a complete amino acid profile for optimal muscle development. It’s high in lean protein from cage-free chicken and contains no corn, wheat, or fillers.
In addition to protein, Diamond Naturals food contains beneficial antioxidants and fatty acids which are essential for digestion and a healthy coat. This is an ideal dog food for pitbulls with susceptibility to skin irritation and other related issues.
First 10 Ingredients:
Chicken meal, chicken, ground white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), cracked pearled barley, egg product, powdered cellulose, flaxseed, dried beet pulp, natural flavor
How Should I Feed Pitbull Puppies?
Pitbull puppies should be fed small meals four times per day in order to avoid hypoglycemia. After about six months, the number of meals can be reduced to three, eventually reaching two daily meals at one year of age. You should closely monitor your puppy’s weight to make sure you are feeding an appropriate serving size of food each day.
Common Health Problems of Pitbulls
Like any other breed, pitbulls are more prone to some health conditions than others. You should keep an eye out for possible symptoms of these conditions and speak to your vet about preventive screening when applicable.
- Hip dysplasia: This occurs when the hip socket develops improperly. It can lead to arthritis and pain while walking, standing, or running. Your vet can do a complete screening for hip dysplasia once your pitbull is completely finished growing, around two years of age.
- Elbow dysplasia: Like hip dysplasia, this condition affects the elbows and causes similar symptoms. Ask your vet to screen for elbow dysplasia when checking for hip dysplasia.
- Autoimmune thyroiditis: This condition causes hypothyroidism, which often manifests as unexplained weight gain, skin and coat problems, and lethargy. It can be diagnosed with a blood test and treated with medication.
- Weight issues: Pitbulls are more at risk for being overweight than other dogs since they can carry extra weight while still appearing deceivingly fit. Ask your vet what the ideal weight range is for your dog and stay within this range by adjusting daily food servings and avoiding too many treats or table scraps.
Common Food Allergies for Ptibulls
Food allergies are not uncommon in pitbulls and often show as digestion problems or skin and coat issues, including flakiness, scabbing, and irritation. These are some of the most common potential food allergies:
If you suspect your pitbull is suffering from a food allergy, talk with your vet about testing or trying an elimination diet.
How Can You Tell If Your Pitbull Has a Healthy Diet?
The best sign that your pitbull has a healthy diet is if they are active and happy. Pitbulls with high energy levels and a gleaming coat typically have a good diet to thank. Your vet can also perform routine testing at your dog’s checkups to make sure your dog is getting the right nutrients and doesn’t have any deficiencies. One of our top pitbull dog food picks should have you covered on all bases.
You should also track your dog’s activity levels and behavior. Sudden changes or lethargy is a concern that should be addressed with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
How Can I Tell If My Pitbull is Overweight?
Weight isn’t something that can be easily measured for dogs because every dog is their own unique size and there’s so much variation between breeds. The best way to tell if your dog is overweight is by visually examining them.
Your dog should have a tapered waist, and not a saggy, hanging stomach. Your vet can give you an idea of your dog’s ideal body weight. Here’s a helpful chart for eyeing up your dog at home –
The History of Pitbulls
Pitbulls were first bred in the British Isles during the 19th century. They came from a cross between an English bulldog and a terrier and were originally bred for use in animal fights, including bullfighting and dogfighting. However, when these practices were deemed inhumane, pitbulls made their way into the family home and immediately gained a reputation for being loving, trustworthy companions.
Soon, pitbulls made their way to the United States along with the waves of immigrants coming from British territories. They found a place on farms as loyal protectors and hunters, but were equally entrusted as gentle companions for children.
Today, pitbulls are still highly popular as family pets and are one of the most popular dog breeds to own. They typically weigh between 40 and 70 lbs and stand between 17 and 19 inches tall. There are many different colors of pitbulls; these dogs’ shorthaired coats can include white, black, tan, gray, brown, and red markings.
Due to their origin, pitbulls are considered a controversial breed in many places and have been the subject of bans in many cities. For example, Denver has gone back and forth on a controversial pitbull breed ban that is currently in effect but facing appeals.