10 Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls: Our 2019 Bully Feeding Guide

One of the most misunderstood dog breeds, the Pitbull is thought to be aggressive and dangerous. Though they may not be the most dog- or cat-friendly of breeds, Pitbulls absolutely adore people, and they are some of the most highly affectionate family-friendly dogs out there.

The name Pitbull actually refers to the American Pitbull Terrier, a breed that was developed from crossing various bull and terrier breeds. Though originally used for blood sports like bull baiting and dog fighting, the modern Pitbull loves nothing more than to spend time with the people he loves.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Pitbull breed and what makes these dogs unique. We’ll talk about special dietary requirements and provide tips for what to look for when shopping for a good Pitbull dog food. We’ll also provide you with our top 10 picks.

What Do You Need to Know About Pitbulls?

When you first set eyes on a Pitbull, you might feel a little intimidated. Though some Pitbulls weigh as little as 30 pounds, others weigh as much as 80 pounds, and most of it is muscle. An energetic, athletic breed, the Pitbull is not a couch potato, and his energy and enthusiasm can sometimes be difficult for even the most experienced dog owner to contain.

Though they are most well-known for being used as fighting dogs and guard dogs, the American Pitbull Terrier’s history is actually that of a farm dog and family dog. Though they can be a little dominant toward other dogs and are highly likely to chase cats, a properly socialized Pitbull would never even dream of harming a human. This breed gets along well with children and is one of the goofiest, most fun-loving breeds you’ll ever come across.

Because the Pitbull is a high-energy breed, he requires a great deal of socialization and training. These dogs are smart and trainable, but they can also be a little stubborn at times and prone to distraction. You also need to be mindful of the stigma associated with the breed and put in extra effort to counteract that stigma by training your dog well and managing him responsibly.

Do They Have Any Special Dietary Needs?

All dogs have the same basic nutritional requirements. They need a diet with a heavy foundation of animal protein to support lean muscle mass with moderate to high fat content as a concentrated source of energy. Animal-based ingredients are most digestible for dogs, though some carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can support nutritional balance and provide supplemental fiber.

In terms of health, the Pitbull has a few concerns. Here are some of the most common health problems seen in this breed:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies
  • Demodectic mange
  • Heart disease

Of these, the only one that might require significant dietary modification is the allergies. Any dog can be allergic to certain food ingredients, but Pitbulls have a slightly higher risk overall. The most common food allergens for dogs include beef, chicken, dairy, corn, and wheat. If you suspect that your dog has a food allergy, you may need to switch to a limited ingredient diet (LID) made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate until symptoms resolve. From there, you’ll either keep feeding the LID or introduce potential allergens one at a time until you find the specific ingredient you need to avoid.

One more dietary concern with the Pitbull breed is the risk for gastric dilation volvulus or bloat. This affects large and deep-chested breeds, particularly when they eat too much at once or eat too quickly. When it happens, the stomach twists on its axis and cuts of blood flow to other organs, causing a life-threatening condition. This is why you need to keep your dog from eating too fast and divide his daily portion into two meals instead of just one.

What to Look for in a Good Pitbull Dog Food

No matter what the breed, a high-quality diet is essential for optimal health. All dogs need a minimum of 18% protein and 5% fat in their diet, though more is generally better. Keep in mind that a Pitbull puppy’s needs will be higher as well – a minimum of 22% protein and 8% fat. Dogs have no minimum requirement for carbohydrates in their diet, and plant foods are more difficult to digest than plant foods. This being said, make sure most of your dog’s nutrition comes from animal sources.

Here are some things to look for in a good Pitbull dog food:

  • Rich in animal protein. High-quality animal proteins like poultry, meat, and fish should be the first ingredient in your dog’s food. Look for a minimum of 18% but ideally upwards of 25% for adult Pitbulls to build strong muscle and maintain lean mass.
  • Healthy animal-based fats. Fat provides a concentrated source of energy in the form of calories, so look for a recipe that contains between 15% and 20% to meet the high-energy needs of this active breed. It should also have a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for coat support.
  • Digestible carbohydrates. Again, carbohydrates should not be the foundation of your dog’s diet, but any he does eat need to be digestible. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are the most nutritious options, though you may need to avoid grains if your dog is allergic.
  • Complete and balanced. Make sure your dog’s food contains vitamins and mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Fresh fruits and veggies provide nutrients as well.
  • No artificial additives. Fillers, by-products, and artificial additives have no place in your dog’s diet and, especially for an allergy-prone breed like Pitbulls, can cause negative reactions.

Now that you have a better understanding of the Pitbull breed and its unique nutritional requirements, you’re ready to start shopping! If you’re not quite sure where to look, try one of our top-rated picks reviewed in the next section.

The 10 Best Pitbull Dog Foods

The best dog food for Pitbulls will be high in protein with moderate-to-high fat content, ideally both from animal sources. It needs to be highly digestible, focusing on whole-food ingredients, and free from low-quality grains, fillers, by-products, and artificial additives. If you suspect that your dog will weigh more than 50 pounds at maturity, you may also want to consider a large-breed dog food.

Here’s our top pick for the best Pitbull dog food:

NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery

Overall Best Food for Pitbulls: A high-quality diet is the best way to ensure your dog’s long-term health and wellness. When it comes to quality nutrition, experts agree that fresh food is best. NomNomNow is a fresh pet food delivery service that sends monthly shipments of fresh pet food right to your door. It is made with wholesome, natural ingredients and prepared in small batches to preserve the nutritional quality. You simply log on to the website, provide some information about your Pitbull, and start receiving monthly shipments. NomNomNow will take your dog’s information and determine the right number of calories he needs per day, then will portion out his food so you don’t have to bother with any guesswork. Choose from three recipes with different protein and fat ratios according to your Pitbull’s size and energy level. Nothing could be easier, and your dog is sure to love it!

  • Pros: Fresh food delivered to your door, made with wholesome natural ingredients, prepared in small batches, pre-portioned for your dog’s needs, no artificial additives, complete and balanced
  • Cons: Expensive compared to traditional kibble, not breed size-specific

Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free Dry Food

Most Popular Food for Pitbulls: When there are so many options to choose from, picking a dog food can be tough. When in doubt, you can always go with a popular brand like Taste of the Wild. We like this Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon Grain-Free Dry Food for your Pitbull because it is loaded with animal protein with moderate fat and calorie content. It features real beef as the main ingredient with lamb meal, wild boar, and ocean fish meal as supplemental proteins, providing a total of 29%. This recipe contains fresh fruits and vegetables for antioxidant-rich nutrition, supporting the use of vitamin and mineral supplements for balanced nutrition. It is loaded with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus supplemented with probiotics for healthy digestion. If this recipe doesn’t work for your Pitbull, there are several other high-quality options to choose from as well.

  • Pros: Rich in animal protein (29%), digestible grain-free carbohydrates, blend of omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, dried fermentation products for digestion, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Some dogs may be sensitive to beef, main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil)

American Journey Large Breed Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe

Most Affordable Food to Feed a Pitbull: High-quality dog food can be expensive, but American Journey is a quality brand you can trust that is consistently affordable. This American Journey Large Breed Salmon & Sweet Potato recipe is one of our top picks for the best affordable dog food for Pitbulls because it is packed with protein and healthy fats, plus it is formulated for large breeds. With fresh salmon as the first ingredient and turkey meal for supplemental protein, this formula provides a full 30% protein with just 12% fat and 365 calories per cup. It features digestible grain-free carbohydrates like peas and sweet potatoes to further reduce the risk of triggering food allergies and has fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional balance. You’ll also be glad to know that this recipe contains dried fermentation products and plenty of fiber for healthy and regular digestion.

  • Pros: Real salmon first ingredient, large-breed specific, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, rich in omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, probiotics, 30% protein
  • Cons: Main source of fat is plant-based (canola oil), not a single-source protein recipe

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe

Best Dog Food for Pitbull Puppies: When it comes to the best dog food for Pitbull puppies, high-quality protein is a must. The Wilderness line of products from Blue Buffalo is designed for just that, providing plenty of animal protein to support your Pitbull puppy’s healthy growth and development. This Blue Buffalo Wilderness Large Breed Puppy Chicken Recipe is an ideal choice if you expect your Pitbull to weigh more than 50 pounds at maturity – otherwise, choose a traditional Blue Buffalo Wilderness puppy food. This particular recipe features fresh chicken as the first ingredient with chicken meal as a concentrated source of supplemental protein. It is naturally grain-free, made with digestible carbohydrates like peas and tapioca with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources of key nutrients. This recipe contains a blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus optimal levels of calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones. It is supplemented with vitamins and chelated minerals for nutritional balance with probiotics for digestion.

  • Pros: Very high in lean protein (35%), digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics, plenty of fiber for digestion
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Senior Weight Management Recipe Dry Food

Best Pitbull Dog Food for Seniors: Pitbulls are active dogs, but even the most active dog is likely to slow down a little bit with age. When that happens, you need to help your dog maintain a healthy body weight by providing him with plenty of lean protein but limiting his fat and calorie intake. That’s where this Now Fresh Grain-Free Large Breed Senior Weight Management Recipe Dry Food comes into place. This formula features fresh turkey as the main ingredient and a lean source of animal protein. It is followed by potatoes and peas for digestible grain-free carbohydrates, supplemented with potato flour, pea fiber, and flaxseed for supplemental fiber. To help your senior dog maintain healthy digestion, it also contains probiotics supplements as well as healthy herbs like ginger and turmeric. Overall, this formula provides 25% protein with 11% fat and 328 calories per cup, making it our top pick for the best dog food for Pitbulls with allergies. It is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support and balanced in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for immune support as well as healthy skin and coat.

  • Pros: Rich in lean protein (25%), real turkey first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support, probiotics, chelated minerals, moderate fat/calories
  • Cons: Not a single-source protein recipe, may be too high in starch for some dogs

FirstMate Pacific Ocean Fish Meal Large Breed Formula

Best Pitbull Dog Food for Sensitive Stomach: Your Pitbull requires a healthy diet rich in protein and highly digestible. If he suffers from food allergies or sensitive stomach, he may need a diet made with a single source of novel protein and limited ingredients to reduce the risk for triggering a negative reaction. Our pick for the best dog food for Pitbulls with allergies is FirstMate Pacific Ocean Fish Meal Large Breed Formula. This formula features Pacific Ocean fish meal as a single source of novel protein with potato for grain-free, digestible carbohydrates. The list of ingredients is very small, containing little more than ocean fish meal, potatoes, chicken fat, and supplements. It contains chelated minerals which ensure optimal nutrient absorption as well as glucosamine for joint support.

  • Pros: Single source of novel protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, chelated minerals, blend of omega fatty acids, larger kibble size, glucosamine for joint support
  • Cons: Expensive compared to most dry foods

4 More Top-Rated Pitbull Dog Foods

If your Pitbull has special dietary needs, or if you simply think the six recipes reviewed above aren’t quite right, don’t worry! There are many more options. Keep reading to see four more top-rated picks for the best Pitbull dog food:

Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Duck, Peas & Egg Recipe

The Pitbull breed may not always be the biggest dog around, but it is certainly one of the most muscular. A high-protein diet is essential for healthy development in this breed, so we recommend Solid Gold Barking at the Moon High Protein Duck, Peas & Egg Recipe. This dog food is among the best dog food for Pitbulls to gain muscle, containing a full 41% protein with 20% fat for energy. It is also a holistic recipe made with all-natural ingredients, so you can count on it being highly digestible for your dog. It features fresh duck as the first ingredient with both chicken meal and turkey meal as concentrated sources of high-quality animal protein. It features peas and chickpeas for digestible grain-free carbohydrates with fresh fruits and vegetables for nutritional support. It is supplemented with probiotics for digestion, chelated minerals for optimal nutrient absorption, and omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat.

  • Pros: High in animal protein (41%), holistic natural recipe, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in omega fatty acids, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein), not a large-breed recipe

Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free 96% Real Chicken Canned Food

Though many dog owners prefer dry food, wet food does offer certain benefits. It tends to be higher in protein and moisture but lower in carbohydrate, as long as you choose a high-quality recipe. One of our top picks for the best wet dog food for Pitbulls is Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free 96% Real Chicken Canned Food. Formulated for all life stages and breeds, this canned food formula features 96% poultry ingredients which makes it highly digestible for dogs. Overall, it contains 9% crude protein and 6% crude fat which translates to 41% protein and 27% fat as dry matter. In addition to being loaded with protein from high-quality sources like fresh chicken, this recipe is highly digestible and supplemented with fiber to make sure. It contains a limited number of main ingredients aside from vitamins and chelated mineral supplements as well, making it a great choice for dogs with allergies and sensitivities.

  • Pros: Made with 96% chicken ingredients, loaded with protein and fats, highly digestible, rich in moisture, chelated minerals, fiber for healthy digestion
  • Cons: Contains some thickeners (guar gum and agar-agar)

Crave with Protein from Salmon & Ocean Fish Adult Grain-Free Dry Food

A muscular breed like your Pitbull can use all the protein he can get which is why we like this Crave with Protein from Salmon & Ocean Fish Adult Grain-Free Dry Food. This formula features real salmon as the first ingredient but also contains supplemental proteins from chicken meal, pork meal, lamb meal, and fish meal. It is highly digestible, made with grain-free carbohydrates like chickpeas, with supplemental fiber for healthy and regular digestion. This recipe contains 34% protein and 17% fat, an ideal balance for a high-energy breed with lots of muscle. It contains a fairly limited number of main ingredients but is supplemented with vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure optimal nutrition.

  • Pros: Real salmon first ingredient, several animal proteins, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, rich in fiber for healthy digestion, chelated mineral supplements
  • Cons: Not a large-breed recipe, contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Dr. Tim’s Athletic Blend Glacier Formula Dry Food

When an average dog food won’t due, this Dr. Tim’s Athletic Blend Glacier Formula Dry Food might provide the high protein and fat content your active Pitbull needs. This recipe features chicken meal as the main ingredient and a concentrated source of animal protein. It also contains ocean herring meal, chicken liver meal, catfish meal, and salmon meal as supplemental sources of protein. This recipe delivers an optimal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, plus DHA for brain function and healthy immunity. It is balanced with vitamins and chelated mineral supplements, plus plenty of fiber for healthy digestion. Overall, it provides 32% protein and 22% fat with 480 calories per cup, making it a good option for highly active and working Pitbulls.

  • Pros: Several sources of premium animal protein, digestible whole grains, blend of omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, fiber for healthy digestion, contains 32% protein and 22% fat
  • Cons: Some dogs may be sensitive to grains

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How much should I feed my Pitbull? – Generally speaking, Pitbulls eat between 2 and 3 cups a day. Keep in mind that the breed’s average weight ranges greatly from 30 to 80 pounds, so some dogs may need less than two cups, and some may need more than 3 cups. The best thing to do is choose a high-quality dog food formulated for your Pitbull’s size and follow the feeding recommendations. Pitbulls weighing more than 50 pounds at maturity may need a large-breed dog food.
  2. How often should I feed my Pitbull? – Most dogs do well with two meals per day. Start with a high-quality dog food and refer to the feeding recommendations according to your dog’s age and weight. Remember that this recommendation is for the whole day, so you’ll need to divide it into two feedings. If your Pitbull is a puppy, you may even want to feed him three meals a day to support his growth and development. This is particularly important with a muscular breed like the Pitbull.
  3. Do Pitbulls have food allergies? – All dogs have the potential to develop food allergies, but Pitbulls have a slightly higher risk. The most common food allergens for dogs include beef, chicken, dairy, corn, and wheat, though your dog could technically become allergic to nearly any food ingredient. If your dog develops dry, itchy skin, and recurrent ear infections, it could be a sign of an allergy. Switch to a new food made with a novel source of protein and carbohydrate until all signs of the allergy disappear. From there, you can keep feeding that food or introduce potential allergens one at a time until you find the specific ingredient to avoid.
  4. When should I switch my Pitbull puppy to adult food? – This is a question that is somewhat difficult to answer, particularly with a breed like the Pitbull that has such a wide weight range. Generally speaking, your puppy should eat puppy food for about 12 months or until he reaches his adult size. If you suspect that your dog might weigh over 50 pounds at maturity, however, you may want to make the switch a little sooner or feed him a large-breed puppy food to prevent him from growing too fast. Overgrowth in large breeds leads to an increased risk for musculoskeletal issues, so growth needs to be controlled.
  5. Is a grain-free diet good for Pitbulls? – There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the use of grain-free diets for dogs. The FDA recently released a report linking grain-free dog foods to dilated cardiomyopathy, which has fueled the debate. The fact remains, however, that grain-free dog food is not inherently healthier for dogs. Unless your Pitbull is sensitive or allergic to grains, there is no need to feed him grain-free food. If you’re wondering what type of diet is best for your dog, you can always ask your veterinarian.

Though Pitbulls often get a bad rap, there is nothing inherently aggressive or dangerous about this people-loving breed. Pitbulls are all heart, and they have an endless amount of love to give to those willing to accept it. If you want to enjoy your Pitbull’s love and company for as long as possible, start now with a healthy, balanced diet.

If you’re not sure what to feed your Pitbull, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Simply try one of the best dog foods for Pitbulls we’ve reviewed above!

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