Affectionally known as the Pitbull, the American Pit Bull Terrier is a medium-sized breed that often gets a bad rap. Though many assume these dogs are aggressive or dangerous, nothing could be further from the truth. These dogs are all heart.
The Pitbull is, in fact, a family-friendly breed and one of the most affectionate dog breeds you’ll ever come across. They absolutely love kids and they have a goofy, child-like personality that makes them an absolute joy to own. Once you bring a Pitbull into your life, you’ll find that one simply isn’t enough – you’ll want to turn your house into a dog rescue.
If you’re lucky enough to add a Pitbull to your family, take the time to choose the best dog food for Pitbulls to keep him healthy for as long as possible. If you’re not quite sure what to feed your new friend, take a look at our top 10 recommendations below.
Here are our top 9 picks for the best Dog Food for Pitbulls:
#9 Taste of the Wild Wetlands Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
One of the most reputable brands in the dog food world, Taste of the Wild is the company behind some high-quality products. In their wetlands dry dog food you get a grain-free formula full of goodness.
One of the most impressive ingredients is the real duck. Not only is this the first ingredient but it is backed by other high-quality proteins such as roasted quail and turkey. These combine to make it nutritious and brilliant for supporting strong, healthy muscles so it is ideal for a Pitbull.
It is good to see all the natural ingredients, especially when you see that they are backed by lots of quality veg and fruit that is high in antioxidants. With probiotics, and no wheat, corn, filler, and artificial colors or flavors, it is easy to see why this is one of the most popular dog foods available.
Pros: Grain free formula, high quality protein, packed with probiotics, no artificial colors or flavors
Cons: Goes fast
#8 Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Sweet Potato
The words ‘limited ingredient’ should be music to the ears of anyone looking for a quality dog food for Pitbulls. It is also a grain-free formula so expect it to only include the ingredients your dog needs, and no filler.
The protein source is salmon which is known as one of the easiest to digest and with sweet potato as a source of nutrients, it is high in dietary fiber so it should be well-tolerated. We like to see ingredients for a healthy, shiny coat which is what you get in the flax-seed content.
Because there are limited carbohydrates and no artificial colors or flavors, this is already a favorite for many Pitties and owners alike. The 26 lb and reasonable price tag make it hard to resist for both.
Pros: Limited ingredient, flax seed for shiny coat, salmon is well tolerated
Cons: Not every dog takes to salmon
#7 AvoDerm All Life Stages Natural Dry Dog Food
If you’re looking for a high-quality dog food recipe that will meet all of your dog’s nutritional needs and then some, consider this AvoDerm All Life Stages Natural Dry Dog Food. This recipe features chicken meal as a concentrated source of animal protein with lamb meal and turkey meal as supplementary proteins. Digestible brown rice and oatmeal provide carbohydrate energy while chicken fat acts as the primary source of essential fatty acids.
This recipe also contains avocado oil which supports your dog’s healthy skin and coat as well as dried fermentation products for probiotic support. Plus, it is free from artificial additives and contains chelated minerals for nutritional balance.
Pros: Concentrated source of animal protein, digestible carbohydrates, nutrient-rich chicken fat, chelated minerals, avocado oil for skin and coat, probiotics for digestion
Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, not grain-free, somewhat expensive
#6 CRAVE Grain-Free Salmon & Ocean Fish Dry Food
Though it is somewhat new, the CRAVE brand is up-and-coming in the pet industry and this CRAVE Grain-Free Salmon & Ocean Fish Dry Food is a great option for your Pitbull. Not only does it contain 34% protein, but that protein comes from high-quality animal sources like fresh salmon. This recipe contains no byproduct meals, no corn, wheat, or soy, and no artificial additives.
It is naturally gluten-free and grain-free, featuring digestible carbohydrates like split peas and chickpeas, plus it is loaded with nutrient-rich chicken fat to meet your Pitbull’s needs for energy. You’ll also be glad to know that it is supplemented with chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrient absorption.
Pros: Contains 34% protein, high-quality animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, free from byproducts and artificial additives, supplemented with chelated minerals
Cons: Contains some chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein (pea protein)
#5 Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Great Plains Feast Dog Food
If you care about giving your Pitbull the highest quality nutrition available, choose a holistic recipe like this Earthborn Holistic Grain-Free Great Plains Feast Dog Food. This formula is designed to nourish your dog’s body from the inside out in a gluten-free, grain-free, and high-protein recipe.
This recipe features bison meal as the primary protein which is a novel source of protein for most dogs – that makes this recipe a great choice if your dog has food allergies or sensitivities. Peas and tapioca provide gluten-free and grain-free carbohydrates while fresh fruits and veggies offer natural sources for key nutrients. This recipe also features chelated minerals and probiotics for healthy digestion.
Pros: Novel protein source, gluten-free and grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotics for healthy digestion, chelated minerals, balanced omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)
#4 Blue Buffalo Wilderness High-Protein Grain-Free Dog Food
The entire Wilderness line from Blue Buffalo is designed to provide high-protein and high-quality nutrition for dogs. This Blue Buffalo Wilderness High-Protein Grain-Free Dog Food features chicken as the main source of protein and to provide joint-supporting nutrients like glucosamine and chondroitin. This recipe is entirely grain-free, made with gluten-free carbohydrates like peas and tapioca starch and plenty of healthy animal fats from menhaden fish meal and chicken fat.
In terms of nutrition, this recipe provides a whopping 34% protein and 15% fat, but it is free from low-quality fillers and artificial additives. You’ll also be glad to know that it includes Blue Buffalo’s LifeSource Bits which feature a proprietary blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to ensure high-quality and balanced nutrition.
Pros: High in animal protein, plenty of healthy animal fats, grain-free and gluten-free carbohydrates, nutritional supplements for balance, fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fermentation products
Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken, fairly expensive
#3 Canidae Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food
All dogs have the potential to develop food allergies and some Pitbulls have sensitive stomachs. If your dog has digestive issues or allergies, he may benefit from a diet made with a limited number of main ingredients like this Canidae Grain-Free PURE Dry Dog Food. This recipe features salmon as the main source of animal protein, though there are other options like lamb, duck, and wild boar available as well.
Each recipe is grain-free and made with fewer than 10 main ingredients to reduce the risk for triggering food allergies and sensitivities. Other beneficial ingredients include grain-free carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and peas as well as chelated minerals and probiotics. You’ll also be glad to know that this recipe contains 32% protein and 18% fat.
Pros: Novel animal protein, grain-free carbohydrates, limited number of main ingredients, chelated minerals, probiotics for digestive support
Cons: No fruits and vegetables, somewhat expensive
#2 Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
If you’re looking for a high-quality adult recipe formulated to support your Pitbull’s lean muscle mass while also meeting his needs for energy, consider this Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This recipe is entirely grain-free which makes it highly digestible, and it is loaded with premium animal proteins like deboned turkey, turkey meal, and chicken meal.
This formula features grain-free carbohydrates like peas and potatoes with nutrient-rich chicken fat to provide energy and essential fatty acids. This Wellness CORE Grain-Free Dry Dog Food will keep your Pitbull’s skin and coat healthy while also ensuring complete and balanced nutrition for total body health and wellness. This formula contains a whopping 34% protein with 16% fat and 4% fiber. All in all, it is a nutritious and protein-rich recipe that your Pitbull is sure to love.
Pros: High in protein and healthy fat, premium animal proteins, grain-free carbohydrates, nutrient-rich chicken fat, contains fresh fruits and veggies, chelated minerals, probiotics for healthy digestion
Cons: Some dogs are sensitive to chicken ingredients, somewhat expensive
#1 Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food
Loaded with 32% crude protein from a variety of high-quality, animal sources this Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dog Food is a great choice for your Pitbull. This recipe features roasted meats like bison and venison with additional protein sources like lamb meal, buffalo, beef, and ocean fish meal. It is rich in quality fats and digestible grain-free carbohydrates, not to mention plenty of natural flavor.
For natural sources of key nutrients, this recipe contains a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is also supplemented with chelated minerals for nutritional balance as well as dried fermentation products for probiotic support. You’ll also be glad to know that it is free from by-products and artificial additives.
Pros: Numerous premium animal proteins, grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and veggies, dried fermentation products for probiotic support, chelated minerals, high in protein
Cons: Contains some chicken ingredients, contains some plant protein, first source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)
Though many people think of the Pitbull as a large-breed dog, many of them weigh little more than 30 to 40 pounds. These dogs are medium-sized at best, but their well-muscled bodies give them a somewhat intimidating appearance.
Though they may look fierce, Pitbulls are one of the friendliest breeds out there and they absolutely love to be around people. In fact, they make wonderful family companions.
Keep reading to learn more about the Pitbull breed and to discover their nutritional needs and how to meet them by choosing the best dog food for Pitbulls.
What Exactly is a Pitbull, Anyway?
The name Pitbull is often used to describe many bully breeds and mixed breeds. In fact, the name Pitbull usually doesn’t refer to a specific breed at all but to a type of breed – dogs with large heads and well-muscled bodies.
Some of the breeds used to create Pitbulls include the following:
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- American Bully
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier
- American Bulldog
Dogs of the Pitbull type were originally developed as fighting dogs, bred by crossing bull-baiting dogs like Bulldogs and Bull Terriers with other breeds. After blood sports like bull baiting were banned, these dogs came to be used as farm dogs, livestock driving dogs, and family companions. Unfortunately, the breed still carries a reputation for being aggressive or dangerous, but this is largely because they are often mistreated and used in underground dog fighting rings.
Though the term Pitbull refers to a type of dog rather than a specific breed, the American Pit Bull Terrier is a specific breed and it is often what people mean when they use the term Pitbull.
What Are the Nutritional Needs of Pitbulls?
All dogs have the same basic nutritional needs, though each breed is unique in terms of certain specifics. Dogs require a balance of protein, fat, and micronutrients in their diet and those nutrients need to come from healthy and high-quality sources. As a puppy, 8% of a dog’s calories should come from fat and 22% from protein – as an adult, he needs a minimum of 5% fat and 18% protein. Because the Pitbull has so much muscle, however, he would do better with an adult dog recipe that contains 25% to 30% protein – more if he is particularly active.
When it comes to choosing healthy ingredients for your Pitbull’s food, keep in mind that animal-based ingredients are best. Dogs are primarily carnivorous animals which means that their bodies are adapted to digesting and absorbing nutrients from animal-based sources. So, look for a dog food that has at least one source of quality animal protein (like chicken, turkey, or fish) as the first ingredient. You’ll also want to see animal-based fats for energy and essential fatty acids.
Regarding carbohydrates, dogs don’t have any specific needs but most veterinarians recommend a maximum of 5% crude fiber. Carbohydrates are a valuable source of energy and nutrients for dogs, but they need to come from digestible sources. Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal are a good option for dogs that can tolerate grains. For others, grain-free options like sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and potatoes are acceptable.
In addition to protein, fat, and carbohydrates your Pitbull can benefit from certain supplements and other ingredients. Most dog foods contain synthetic supplements for nutritional balance. This is fine, just keep in mind that natural sources like fresh fruits and vegetables are more biologically valuable for your dog. Chelated minerals are the best mineral supplement to look for – they are chemically bonded to protein molecules which makes them easier for your Pitbull’s body to digest and absorb.
Pitbulls can also benefit from probiotic supplements like dried fermentation products. These supplements help to encourage healthy gut flora for regular digestion. As a medium- to large-breed dog, your Pitbull may also benefit from joint-supporting supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin. Other beneficial supplements include prebiotics, vitamins, and omega oils.
What Ingredients Should You Avoid?
In addition to knowing what ingredients to look for in a good Pitbull food, you should also know what ingredients you do NOT want to see. Remember, dogs are carnivores, so plant-based ingredients are less biologically valuable than animal ingredients. This means that animal proteins like poultry, meat, and fish are better for your dog than plant proteins like pea protein or potato protein. These ingredients can be used supplementally, but they shouldn’t’ be the first ingredient or the main source of protein.
You also want to avoid dog foods made with low-quality fillers like corn, wheat, and soy. These fillers are used to bulk up low-quality products so the manufacturer can save money – they don’t actually add any beneficial nutrition to the product. This is another reason to avoid plant proteins as a main ingredient – they may increase the protein content but they are less biologically valuable than animal proteins.
Finally, avoid products made with unnamed ingredients (like poultry fat versus chicken fat) as well as byproducts. Any dog food that contains artificial additives like colors, flavors, and preservatives should be avoided as well. As a general rule, if you can’t tell what an ingredient on the list is, it probably isn’t something your Pitbull needs or can benefit from.
Tips for Feeding Your Pitbull
Choosing the right dog food for your Pitbull is only half the battle – then you have to know when, how, and how much to feed him. When your Pitbull is a puppy, you might want to consider letting him feed freely – simply keep his food bowl full and let him eat as much as he needs to. As long as you choose a puppy food formulated for medium or large-breed dogs, there isn’t too much risk of him growing at an excessive rate. He needs plenty of protein and calories to build healthy muscles and tissues.
Once your Pitbull becomes an adult, you should switch him over to a high-quality adult recipe or one formulated for medium to large breeds. If you train your Pitbull for dog sports, or if he is particularly active, you might even consider a working breed formula to meet his high energy requirements. Once you pick a dog food recipe, follow the feeding recommendations according to your dog’s body weight and make adjustments if needed.
In terms of how many times you should be feeding your Pitbull, it largely depends on his age and activity level. Puppies need to eat more frequently while they are young to sustain their growth and development. Once they reach adulthood, however, it is important to maintain a healthy body weight with plenty of lean muscle mass, so two meals per day is usually adequate. Highly active and working dogs may benefit from three meals a day, but be careful not to overfeed your Pitbull because obesity is just as dangerous for dogs as it is for humans.
If you want to enjoy your Pitbull’s company for as long as possible, take the time to choose a high-quality dog food that meets his nutritional needs. These dogs need plenty of protein in their diet with adequate fat content for energy, so don’t be afraid to shop around until you find something that fits the bill. If you’re not sure where to start, simply try one of our top 10 picks for the best dog food for Pitbulls reviewed above.
Alternatively, if you’re on a tight budget. there are also cheap but decent quality dog food that you can choose to give your Pitbull.