Who can resist a Pit Bull puppy, whether she’s an American Staffordshire Terrier, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, an American Pit Bull Terrier, or a wonderful Pit Mix? They are small, energy-packed, powerhouses of playfulness and love. Your Pit Bull puppy will be your constant companion, providing you with love, comfort, and joy. And in return, it’s your responsibility to take the best care of her you can. Let us help! At ReadySetDogs, we want nothing more than to help canines’ human families have everything they need to provide the best care. The most important things are love, attention, and nutrition. We know you’ve got the love and attention handled. How could you resist showering that puppy with affection? So let us help you learn a little bit about the best dog foods for Pit Bull puppies.
Pit Bulls are generally considered medium-sized dogs, but with their muscle mass, you would be well-advised to choose a diet that is specially formulated for larger breeds. Large breed puppies tend to grow rapidly at first and then take a long time to mature. Because of this, it is important to have specific amounts of phosphorus and calcium in their diets; not too much and not too little. This will help them develop lean muscles and strong bones to support them. We talk about this more in depth in our post about large breed puppy food. A dog is considered large if they are >50lbs when she is full grown. Pit Bulls can weigh between 30lbs and 70lbs. Because they are strong, solid, active dogs, a large breed puppy formula is ideal for their growth.
When searching for the best puppy food for Pit Bulls, it is important to look at the guaranteed analysis. The first items listed will be the minimum percentage protein, minimum percentage fat, and the maximum percentage fiber. What you want to see are higher protein percentages (22-40%), medium fat percentages (12-18%), and fiber percentages lower than 7%. Small amounts of fiber are important to support healthy digestion, but too much will mess with your puppy’s system. And remember, hydration is key. Make sure your puppy always has access to fresh, clean water. Staying properly hydrated will help with digestion, nutrient absorption, and flushing out toxins.
Protein is important for building lean muscles, providing energy, and supporting healthy development of bones and tissues. Stronger muscles lessen the chances of injury to your puppy. She is a Pit Bull so she will be active (and clumsy at first). Give her the best chance for healthy growth with plenty of protein. The best protein comes from whole animal sources. In the ingredient list, look for chicken, duck, beef, buffalo, whitefish, etc. Avoid by-products because they could be from already dead animals and you have no idea what part of the animal it is (it could be hooves, hide, or hair). That being said, if the company has a great reputation of providing high-quality ingredients, and their main ingredients include whole animals, by-products further down the list can be good. Trusted companies will use things like organs (eg liver) and necks, which are full of nutrients. Just because it’s not normal for humans to eat them, doesn’t mean they don’t pack a delicious nutritional punch for our canines.
Fats are also very important. They are a great energy source, maintain healthy skin and coat, and are essential to brain development. While too much can be detrimental, you definitely want a solid amount of fat. Your puppy is growing and she needs the nutrients that fats provide. The best thing you can do is make sure that the fat is coming from quality sources, such as chicken fat, flaxseed oil, salmon oil, canola oil, etc.
Carbohydrates also contribute valuable nutrients to growing puppies, though they aren’t essential. They provide energy aid in smooth digestion, as long as the amount is not too much. Canines are supposed to have high-protein, high-fat diets like their ancestors, but even wild dogs will eat some carbs through the stomach contents of their prey. Again, make sure the sources of the carbs are high-quality. You want to see sweet potatoes, whole grains (barley, oatmeal, brown rice, lentils), and peas. Avoid over-processed ingredients like cereal fines and anything with the words “product,” “solubles,” or “flour.”
Let’s talk about vitamins and minerals. They are important for boosting the immune system and overall health. The best sources are fruits and vegetables. The greater the variety, the better. All puppy foods will also include added vitamins and nutrients to fill out the standards for overall health.
Ingredients to avoid include fillers, added salts, added sugars, antibiotics, and artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. Fillers include ingredients such as corn, soy, wheat, hulls (peanut, rice, oat), mill runs (wheat, soybean), etc. These are ingredients that are not necessarily detrimental, but they fail to provide any nutritional value. Best case, they will go right through your puppy. Worst case, they make digestion more difficult and even cause damage. But they are cheap, so companies add them to their recipes to fool you. Higher quality products that avoid fillers are more expensive, but they are tastier, healthier, more nutritious, and more filling. Because of this, you won’t have to feed as much to your puppy. So overall, you may not be spending more money at all.
If you are interested, you can find more in depth information about reading the labels of puppy foods in this post.
Pit Bulls are at risk for a number of health problems. By choosing the best dog food for your Pit Bull puppy, you can help lower the risks. These problems can include allergies, heart disease, diabetes, dysplasia, and bloat.
Pit Bulls with white coats and/or pink skin are especially more likely to experience allergies. Many people think that these are caused by grains and while this could be the case, puppies are much more likely to be allergic to certain meats or dairy. If your puppy is experiencing food allergy symptoms (loose stool, excess gas, vomiting), then it may be time to try a recipe with a different protein source or grain-free food. Eating healthy can help reduce allergies to grasses and pollens as well.
While Pit Bulls are not necessarily more likely to become overweight when compared to other breeds, they are voracious eaters. It is important to monitor their caloric intake. Underfeeding can cause malnutrition and other problems and overfeeding can lead to obesity, which leads to more problems as well. Follow the feeding guidelines associated with the puppy food you choose. Overweight dogs are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease. Excess pressure is placed on joints, which can lead to dysplasia.
Dysplasia of the hips and elbows is common in large breeds. Even though Pit Bulls are considered medium-sized, they are very active and they are not small, so dysplasia can be a concern. Being overweight increases risk since more pressure is applied to the joints. Malnutrition during growth can also increase the risk of dysplasia. This doesn’t mean a lack of calories necessarily. It’s improper nutrient density that leads to irregular growth that increases the risks.
Bloat (or gastric torsion) is also common amongst Pit Bulls. This is due to their size and tendency to wolf down their food. Bloat is the swelling and twisting of the stomach where the stomach gases cannot be released. It can be fatal so don’t take it lightly. See a vet immediately if your puppy shows any signs of bloat after eating (an enlarged abdomen, drooling, labored breathing, paleness in the nose and mouth, vomiting, and a weak pulse). It can be caused by eating too quickly, eating at an awkward angle, eating too much, and exercising too quickly after eating.
Now that you know what to look for and what to avoid, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the best puppy foods for Pit Bulls.
(35% minimum Protein, 14% minimum Fat, 6% maximum Fiber, 3551 kcals/kg) The main ingredients include deboned chicken, chicken meal, tapioca starch, peas, turkey meal, pea protein, tomato pomace (source of lycopene), and chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols). Inspired by the diet of wolves, this is a grain-free, protein-rich recipe. With DHA to aid in neurological and retinal development, your puppy will be smart as a whip. Blue uses high-quality whole food ingredients like chicken, sweet potatoes, blueberries, and carrots. It even sounds delicious to us! They add essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant to support the immune system during the busy time of puppyhood. With special thought to calcium and phosphorus levels, as well as caloric density, this is a great formula for a puppy that will grow into a strong, powerful, active dog; just like your puppy will!
(38% minimum Protein, 16% minimum Fat, 6% maximum Fiber, 3760 kcals/kg) The main ingredients include deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail ﬂounder, whole eggs, whole atlantic mackerel, chicken liver, turkey liver, chicken heart, turkey heart, whole atlantic herring, dehydrated chicken, dehydrated turkey, dehydrated mackerel, dehydrated chicken liver, dehydrated turkey liver, whole green peas, whole navy beans, red lentils, chicken necks, chicken kidney, pinto beans, chickpeas, green lentils, alfalfa, natural chicken ﬂavor, lentil ﬁber, and herring oil. This recipe is PACKED with protein for growing lean, strong muscles and providing tons of energy for your active puppy. It is also calorie-limited to reduce joint stress and promote a healthy body weight. It is also grain-free and low-carb. The ingredients are diverse and nutrient packed to promote healthy, whole body growth. Your puppy will love all of the protein sources that mirror what she would be munching on in the wild. Orijen uses fresh, regionally sourced ingredients so you know it’s going to be good.
(33% minimum Protein, 14% minimum Fat, 5% maximum Fiber, 3652 kcals/kg) The main ingredients include chicken meal (source of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), peas, chickpeas, chicken, chicken eggs, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid). This recipe is packed with protein and free of grains. Nature’s Variety adds in freeze dried raw pieces that are delicious and nutrient rich. The ingredient list mimics what your puppy would find in nature. There are great sources of DHA, Omega-3, and Omega-6 to promote healthy neurological development as well as keep your puppy’s skin and coat healthy. There are no fillers, but plenty of probiotics to support digestion and ideal levels of calcium and phosphorus for proper skeletal growth.
(26% minimum Protein, 12% minimum Fat, 5% maximum Fiber, 3520 kcals/kg) The main ingredients include deboned chicken, whitefish, chicken meal, oatmeal, peas, ground barley, ground brown rice, salmon meal, tomato pomace, and chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols).This recipe is calorie-controlled for controlled energy intake for proper growth for a large breed puppy, along with proper amounts of calcium and phosphorus. It includes less fat than Wellness’s regular puppy food to ensure consistent, steady growth.The ingredients are nutrient rich whole foods your puppy will love. Wellness aims for promoting whole body growth.
(26% minimum Protein, 14% minimum Fat, 3.5% maximum Fiber, 3809 kcals/kg) The main ingredients include duck, chicken meal, chicken, oatmeal, pearled barley, brown rice, menhaden fish meal, lamb, potatoes, dried tomato pomace, dried whole egg, and chicken fat. Fromm is a family company that prides itself is whole, natural, high-quality ingredients to provide the best nutrition for your puppy. This formula is specific to larger breeds and their unique growth. The density of nutrients will promote lean muscle growth, strong bones, and high brain and eye development. Prebiotics and probiotics aid in easy digestion. The salmon oil will make your puppy’s coat silky and shiny. You won’t find any wheat, corn, or fillers.
If you’re going to change your puppy’s diet, make sure you give her time to adjust. About a week should do the trick. Start with mostly her old food with a little of the new food mixed in. Each feeding, take away some of the old food and add some of the new food until it’s all new food. Even if you’re switching to a healthier, higher-quality formula, the switch can be difficult for your puppy’s system so give her some time to adjust.
We hope you found this article helpful and that you were able to choose the best puppy food for your Pit Bull. At ReadySetDogs, we love to hear that we’ve helped you learn more about caring for your puppy through our site. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’ll be glad to help you in any way we can.
Anna is a canine enthusiast. She loves everything about dogs from their loyalty to their energetic spirits to their stubborn moments. She has a passion to learn everything she can to become a better “dog-mom” to her Toller, Penny, and to share her knowledge of dogs with all who are interested in the hopes of educating people on the best canine care.