One of the biggest factors in being a responsible pitbull owner is providing your pet a healthy diet. Developed initially for sports like bull baiting and dog fighting, pitbulls are high energy and athletic dogs that require plenty of exercise.
To gain the energy needed for their activities, pitbulls require a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Providing your pitbull regular meals that meets its basic diet requirements will not only keep your dog happier, but also help to avoid long-term health problems.
Here are factors to consider when choosing the best diet for your pitbull.
Provide A Balanced Diet
Regardless of the type of dog food you offer your pitbull, it needs to contain the proper ratio of nutrients needed for keeping it strong and healthy.
Choose a quality food that provides the essential ingredients needed for pitbulls within these general percentage ranges:
- 35-40% High Quality Protein
- 14-17% Animal Fat
- 20-30% Carbohydrates
- 1-1.5% Calcium
Do Not Overfeed
Unfortunately, pitbulls have a tendency to overeat and become obese when given the chance. A healthy pitbull should be lean and well-muscled.
Just like humans, the metabolism rate of individual dogs will vary so the diet should be structured to meet your pet’s basic needs without overfeeding.
It is best to feed your pet at least twice a day in amounts that do not allow for food to be available on a constant basis. Free feeding can lead not only to weight problems, but also long-term health problems such as joint and digestive tract disorders.
The best to set exact times for daily feedings and stick to them.
On average, adult pitbull requires around 20 ounces of food a month and should have a body with a tucked-in stomach and ribs that can be easily felt through the muscles.
Like all dogs, pitbulls are carnivores that require diets consisting of mainly high quality animal source proteins. Most experts agree that pitbulls like a variety of texture and recommend diets that are a combination of both dry and wet dog foods.
Regardless of the type of food you offer your pitbull, the following should be kept in mind.
Food For Pitbull Puppies
Pitbull puppies require higher amounts of nutrients than mature dogs. It is best to feed a developing puppy on high quality dry kibble created especially for large breed dogs.
Wet food can also be mixed with the dry kibble, but should be added sparingly. Too much wet food can result in plaque formation on the teeth. It is also important that you not feed human table scraps to puppies as they can easily lead to digestive health problems in younger dogs.
Read our guide for the best food for pitbull puppy.
Dry Dog Food
Dry dog food is convenient to store and usually less pricy than other types of food. But the quality of commercial dry dog foods can vary greatly because many are manufactured from low quality grain fillers and meat by-products.
Premium dry dog foods should consist of human-grade sources of protein like chicken, lamb, beef and venison.
Ideally, 70% of the food’s protein should come from quality animal sources and not from plant sources like rice, soybeans, corn or peanuts.
These plant sources of proteins provide little or no nutritional value and will not meet the energy demands required for a healthy pitbull.
Check the ingredients of any dry food you use to make sure it is manufactured with the highest quality ingredients that are derived from animal protein sources.
Check out our article on the best food for pitbulls.
Semi-Moist and Wet Dog Food
Semi-moist dog food is a combination of dry food mixed with water or wet dog food and is highly preferred by pitbulls for its variety of texture.
However, many wet foods often contain high amounts of sugar that can affect your dog’s long term health. Always check the ingredients of any wet food you use to be sure that it does not contain sugar or is comprised of mostly plant fillers.
It is also not recommended that a pitbull diet consist entirely of wet food as this can lead to teeth and digestive tract problems.
For more information read the best wet food for pitbulls article.
A raw food diet for pitbulls, consisting of uncooked red or game meats, can have beneficial health effects for your pet’s teeth, coat, skin and digestive tract. The main focus in a raw food diet is the meat itself.
It is important that a raw food diet for dogs include not just the meat and bones, but also other organs like the liver, kidneys and heart. Pitbulls love raw meat and they love to chew, so a raw food diet can be a viable option.
However, keep in mind that any raw meat you provide your dog should be as fresh as any type of meat you would consume. It is also recommended that you not offer you pitbull cooked bones; especially chicken bones as they can easily splinter and cause chocking or swallowing problems.
Learn more about raw food for pitbulls in our guide.
Pitbulls love treats, but treats should be offered sparingly so they do not interfere with your dog’s primary diet. Surprisingly, pitbulls love vegetables.
In addition to meat flavored treats and chew-bones, providing your pet with tasty vegetables like uncooked greens or carrots several times a month will keep them happier and healthier.
As with all dogs, human table scraps should not be given to your dog for health reasons.
For treat recommendations check our article on the best treats for pitbulls.
Vitamin And Mineral Supplements
As long as you provide your pitbull with a well-balanced diet, it should receive all of the vitamins and minerals needed for good health. If, however, your dog is showing signs of lethargy, dry skin or other health problems, a liquid supplement may need to be added to the food.
This should only be done when necessary and is best undertaken in consultation with a veterinarian.
Making sure your pitbull receives a well-balanced diet that is high in protein is the best thing you can do for its long-term happiness and health.
Plant vs. Meat Protein Diet For PitBulls
Quality protein is crucial in your dog’s diet. The protein of high quality is essential to the dog food pyramid. Protein provides amino acids, which serve as the body’s building components. Organs and tissues, such as tendons, muscles, skin, hair, and blood, are composed of amino acids. Additionally, they serve as enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.
When your dog takes protein, its body breaks it down into individual amino acids rather than absorbing it as a whole. This is because your dog does not have a protein requirement; instead, their body requires a list of essential amino acids to remain fed and functional. There is no physiological difference between protein derived from plant and animal sources, so long as your dog receives all the essential amino acids from their diet.
Varying types of protein contain different combinations of amino acids. Still, the source is of little consequence as long as the pet consumes, digests, and absorbs the needed amount of each amino acid. In other words, arginine from either soybeans or turkey is still arginine.
Protein from one food source (e.g., chicken) will differ from protein from another based on the length of the protein, structure, and the combination of amino acids that make up the protein. Why, then, does dog food contain animal- and plant-based protein sources?
Very few foods in a dog’s diet provide all the essential amino acids. However, animal-based and plant-based proteins can complement each other to meet your dog’s amino acid needs when mixed. In other words, a proper balance of protein sources is the final item on your dog’s checklist for optimal health.
Fruits For PitBulls
Apples are an excellent snack option if your Pitbull is not allergic to apples. Pitbulls should consume apples similarly to people, excluding the seeds and core. For a colder snack, freeze the apples and throw them into bite-size pieces. Additionally, it can be found as an ingredient in apple-flavored dog treats.
Bananas are an excellent low-calorie treat for canines. Potassium, vitamins, biotin, fiber, and copper are abundant. Additionally, they are low in cholesterol and salt. Due to their high sugar content, bananas should not be included in your Pitbull’s regular diet.
One option is to provide your Pitbull with blueberries, a healthful superfood. These can produce antioxidants and protect humans and canines from cell harm. They also include fiber and phytochemicals, which contribute to their deliciousness.
The nutrient-rich, water- and fiber-rich cantaloupe can help maintain your Pitbull’s health. However, its high sugar content should not be fed to overweight or diabetic Pitbulls.
Cranberries are safe for your Pitbull to consume, though confirmation is uncertain. Be cautious when giving your pet a homemade cranberry treat, as excessive amounts can trigger an upset stomach.
Mango, like many other fruits, protects your Pitbull’s health. The mango is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, antioxidants, potassium, and niacin. However, the mango’s high sugar content makes it more likely than other fruits to cause choking.
Veterinarians recommend oranges for dogs, but canines typically dislike citrus fruits. Small amounts of citrus are OK for pets, but the orange peel is difficult for them, and the oils may cause your furry friend to vomit. Oranges are rich in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber and are a wonderful treat for your best buddy.
Peaches are safe for Pitbulls to consume since they are rich in fiber and vitamin A. As with peaches, though, the pit contains cyanide if not completely removed. Are you using fresh or frozen peach slices? Great! Then avoid canned peaches, which typically contain large amounts of sugar.
Pitbulls can consume pineapple safely. Pineapple is rich in vitamins and minerals and contains bromelain, facilitating protein absorption. However, the pineapple’s exterior can be a bit irritating for your dog’s teeth.
You may feed your Pitbull watermelon and other fruits so long as you remove the rind and seeds first. In addition to being rich in vitamins A, B-6, and C, as well as potassium, the fruit is an excellent method to keep your dog hydrated during the summer. Its high water content of 92% is highly hydrating for dogs.
Veggies For PitBulls
In small amounts, broccoli is harmless for Pitbulls. However, it might induce stomach discomfort and intestinal obstructions. The broccoli florets are rich in fiber and vitamin C, whereas the stems contain isothiocyanates that can cause mild to severe stomach discomfort in some dogs.
Carrots are a wonderfully nutritious treat for dogs who enjoy their crisp texture. They are rich in beta-carotene and fiber, low-calorie, vitamin A-supplying nutrients. Also, carrots are beneficial for Pitbull’s teeth!
Celery is indeed a healthy snack that contains essential vitamins for heart health and cancer prevention. Additionally, it cleans your pet’s breath and enhances their appearance.
Most veggies are healthy for dogs to consume, and peas are frequently their favorite. The healthiest method to feed your dog is fresh, ideally frozen, vegetables rather than canned vegetables, which contain extra salt.
For the best outcome, it is preferable not to feed your Pitbulls spinach. Spinach has significant levels of oxalic acid, which may cause calcium restrictions and kidney damage in your pet. However, dogs typically need to consume a substantial amount of spinach for this to occur, so it may be easier to stay with another vegetable.
Whether you serve your dog dry, wet, raw or a combination of these types of dog food, make sure the diet is comprised of the proper ingredients as described above and offered in amounts that do not lead to overeating.
By doing so, you can be assured that your pitbull will have a happy and healthy life.