FOOD & TREATS

Best Dog Food for PitBulls: Understanding Your Dog’s Nutritional Needs

best dog food for pitbulls
Wyatt Robinson
Written by Wyatt Robinson

Pit bulls are healthy, unpretentious and versatile dogs. In order to maintain their qualities and help them develop harmoniously, you should learn more about the best dog food for pit bulls. This is because this type of dog requires a balanced diet that helps it stay in shape.

Unlike humans, pit bulls could eat the same food every day, so choosing the right ingredients might be tricky since the proportion of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fibers and fats has to be perfect. The effects of proper meals are healthy skin, shiny coat and a visibly improved general state. All these can be obtained by opting for the best dry dog food or cooking it.

General nutritional considerations for Pit Bulls

In small quantities, vitamins and minerals are essential for the health and wellbeing of your pit bull. Calcium, phosphorus, sodium and iron that is a component of hemoglobin, are just some of the essential vitamins and minerals for pit bulls.

Proper nutrition positively affects any dog’s life, making it more alert, happier and healthier. These vitamins and minerals can be contained by food or they can be separately administered as supplements. However, it is ideal for pit bulls to find all they need in food and not ingest extra medication for no reason.

Homemade dog food Nutrition Guide

Protein is also important for the health of your pit bull. According to specialists, dog food contains about 20% protein, while cat food about 30%. Cats are carnivores, fact which means they need a lot of protein from meat. Pit bulls are omnivores, so they eat both meat and vegetables in order to balance their nutritional intake. In fact, dogs can withstand a vegetarian diet, unlike cats, which require a higher protein intake. Even so, there is a very popular diet for pit bulls called BARF. Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods is a diet based on a considerable amount of raw meat.

Fibers, which are derived from plants, are also an essential part of a balanced diet. In short, fibers are substances found in foods that are necessary for a proper digestion. Without an optimal intake of fiber, pit bulls may suffer from diarrhea, plus other complications that may arise along the way.

However, too much fiber is not healthy and unfortunately many low-quality dry dog foods contain a very high percentage of fibers. Generally, there are two brands of dry dog food that are considered very low quality, namely Pedigree and Friskies. They are cheaper than premium and super premium dog food, but not qualitative enough.

As for us, water is one of the vital things without which pit bulls could not live. They could live without food for several days in a row, but not without water. So, make sure to always put fresh water at your pit bull’s disposal, especially if you feed it with dry food. However, watch out for tap water though because it could contain too much chlorine. Investing in a water filter would be a great choice for your pit bull and for your peace of mind. Feeding your dog properly could be in vain if the water is contaminated.

Healthy diet for Pit Bulls

For a natural and healthy diet, emphasize on grains and vegetables, even if you expect your pit bull to refuse them. An ideal canine diet should contain three-quarters of vegetables and carbohydrates or cereals and only a quarter of high-quality protein.

Cook beef, chicken, eggs, fish and so on. Even if your dog prefers a particular dish and it is sometimes refusing all the others, don’t offer it the same menu. Try to be open to new ideas in nutrition and don’t complicate your life with recipes that seem too hard to cook and involve a lengthy process.

If you are inclined to dry dog food found on the market, you should learn more about each brand and what is has to offer. For example, Pedigree, Friskies, Darling and Chappi are considered low quality brands that are accessible to anyone, but which cannot ensure the daily intake of vitamins a pit bull needs. Specialists together with dog owners recommend Orijen, Acana, Royal Canin, Eukanuba and Purina. As it follows you will learn more about each brand and what it has to offer to your pit bull. Do not expect this premium and super premium food to be cheap.

Dry food for pit bulls and appropriate brands

Dry dog food is a commercial product that meets the nutritional needs of dogs, presenting itself in a highly digestible form. The final composition of this product is the result of research undertaken by many nutritionists and veterinarians. Therefore, with this type of dog food you can ensure the correct ratios with minimal effort. Dry food can be stored for a long time and it can be left at the dog’s discretion throughout the day, although not everyone agrees a pit bull should eat whenever it wants.

In addition, dry food helps maintain dental health thanks to its abrasive action that slows down the appearance of plaque and tartar on the dog’s teeth. Most quality commercial products are differentiated by the dog’s size, age or lifestyle.

Orijen adult dog food. A 28.6lb bag costs around $110. Among its ingredients are chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, kelp, juniper berries and marigold flowers. This food is grain free and all its ingredients are natural. Dog owners reported only two problems with this dry food: one regarding the fact that their dogs wouldn’t touch it and the second one regarding a natural reaction under the form of diarrhea, which could’ve been caused by a sudden change of diet.

Orijen adult dog food

All the other dog owners are delighted by it and reported positive changes with their dogs.

Acana Pacifica adult dog food. A 28.6 lb bad costs around $100. Among its ingredients are fish, namely salmon and herring, as well as fruits and vegetables, namely apples, pears, potatoes, spinach, green peas. This product is meant to enhance a dog’s metabolism and help maintain its digestive tract functions. Grain free and full of healthy fatty acids, Acana Pacifica meets the needs of pit bulls with skin problems or of those allergic to chicken or grains. The only complains this food got was regarding its smell.

Acana Pacifica adult dog food

Acana has numerous other dry dog foods suited for pit bulls, such as Acana Lamb and Okanagan Apple Dry Dog Food and Acana Duck and Bartlett Pear Dry Dog Food. Both are low glycemic and low in carbohydrates.

Eukanuba Adult Chicken. A 29 lb bag costs around $70. Chicken is the main ingredient of this dry dog food. It is known to provide a lot of energy to pit bulls thanks to its 20% fat content. In addition, it is very effective in removing tartar build-ups. Dog owners who fed their dogs with this dry food only reported taste issues. They didn’t complain about the quality of this food or other inconveniences.

EUKANUBA Excel Adult Dog Food With Lamb

Eukanuba Adult Maintenance. A 40 lb bag costs around $75. The difference between Eukanuba Adult Maintenance and Eukanuba Adult Chicken is that the first one also contains grains, antioxidants and natural fish oil. All these are added to support the dog’s immune system and maintain blood sugar levels normal. Just as the previous Eukanuba dog food example, this one doesn’t contain artificial preservatives.

EUKANUBA Adult Maintenance Dog Food

Purina Pro Plan Savor. A 33 lb bag costs around $60. This formula comes in a lot of flavors, for example, salmon and rice, chicken and rice, lamb and rice, beef and rice. Most dog owners who feed their dogs with Purina are old customers. Those clients that were not satisfied by Purina’s quality had issues related to something else than the food’s ingredients.

Purina Pro Plan Savor

In conclusion, there is a big price difference between Purina Pro Plan and Orijen. Purina is made of more regular ingredients compared with Orijen that only uses natural and exotic foods. However, both can ensure a pit bull’s daily nutritional needs. Of course, you can combine or switch between these foods until you find one that your pit bull absolutely adores.

In addition, all these brands have varieties of foods for junior pit bulls and senior pit bulls.

Cooked food for pit bulls at home

A pit bull can be fed with both animal products and vegetable products:

  • Chicken, turkey or beef are more recommended by specialists than, for example, pork. Occasionally, fish, especially salmon, brings a much needed supplement of phosphorus, calcium and other minerals. Pit bulls also like to eat bones, which provide minerals, but chicken bones should be avoided.
  • Another key component in a pit bull’s diet is eggs, which have a high nutritional value and are easily digestible. Mixed with milk or yogurt, they offer a high intake of vitamins, such as B complex, vitamin D, E and so on.
  • Fibers, pasta, bread and cereals are sources of energy due to the high percentage of starch they contain. However, they should not exceed 25-30% of all food intakes because otherwise they might lead to various diseases of the liver.
  • Rice is an excellent source of fibers that can be added to soups or as a garnish to various meat products.
  • Vegetables such as carrots, leafy greens, broccoli, green beans, peppers, tomatoes or tomato juice can be added too because they are rich in vitamins and fiber that regulates and facilitates intestinal transit. Among the not recommended vegetables are dried beans, excess potatoes, chili peppers and cabbage.
  • Fruits such as bananas, all kinds of berries, apples, pears.
  • Totally contraindicated are sweets of any kind, coffee, alcohol, raisins, grapes, bread.

Easiest pit bull food recipe

Since you now know what ingredients you can use in order to cook for your pit bull, you can simply combine them. For example, you can cook rice, with 2 types of vegetables and 1 or 2 types of meat. You have to be careful to proportions, maintaining meat as a main ingredient or at least as half of the whole food. In addition, you shouldn’t cook too much. As for salt and other condiments, you shouldn’t add any.

Some people believe that pit bulls need salt too, but if you feed it with dry dog food, it will definitely take some from there. Other condiments are not recommended. Remember that onion and garlic are toxic in large quantities. You are not supposed to like the taste of this food. Furthermore, do not be afraid to add chicken liver and other organs in what you cook for your pit bull.

Pit Bull preparing food

Oatmeal and pasta can also be combined with various vegetables and meat. For example, pasta goes nicely with cream cheese, yogurt and chicken, while oatmeal can be successfully combined with fish and yogurt. You can really get creative with the food you cook for your pit bull as long as you don’t break any rule. Be extra cautious with thin, small bones when you cook. You might miss some and they might become very harmful for your pit bull if ingested. Chicken and fish bones are the most dangerous ones.

Easiest pit bull snack recipe

Peanut butter and bacon are known to be considered delicious by dogs in general and by pit bulls as well. If you want to treat your dog with a snack from time to time or if you want to feed it while you are on a hiking trip and you cannot take its regular food with you, then you can turn to these delicious snacks. All the ingredients you need are bacon and peanut butter, as well as whole wheat flour, egg, milk and oats. You could also add baking powder, but that is not necessary. What you need to do next is to combine all the ingredients until you obtain hard dough.

You can establish the quantities, depending on how many treats you want to bake. After you shape these snacks any way you want, you can put them in the oven for 20 minutes on each side. All these ingredients are checked by veterinarians and considered safe for dogs.

Peanut butter

Besides baking snacks, you should consider treating your dog with fruits and vegetables. If you go away with your dog or if you just want to reward it for doing something good, you can prepare pieces of apples, pears, carrots and so on. Your dog doesn’t know how healthy the treats it gets are, so you might as well get it used with the healthy ones, not with the more complicated and not so natural ones. Salt free pretzels as well as almonds are safe for pit bulls too.

Pit bull’s feeding schedule and quantity

Basically, meals distribution for pit bulls is established according to age and should look like this:

  • Pit bull puppies aged between 2 to 3 months should eat 4 to 5 meals a day.
  • Pit bull puppies aged between 4 to5 months should eat 3 to 4 meals a day.
  • Pit bull puppies aged between 5 to 6 months should eat 3 meals a day.
  • Pit bull puppies aged over 6 months should eat 3 meals a day.
  • Pit bull adults should eat 2 meals a day.

Any change in a pit bull’s diet must be progressive and stretch over a period of 2 to 3 weeks.  Once accustomed to mealtimes, pit bulls should not receive other types of foods because otherwise they might become beggars. Managing food should be made regularly at the same time and the quantities should be moderate in order not to unnecessarily load the dog’s digestive tract.

The amount of food will be determined in all cases according to the dog’s weight, sex, physiological state, season and its activity level. Food should not be left at a pit bull’s disposal throughout the day. As soon as the dog stops eating, you should remove its food bowl even if the dog didn’t eat everything you offered.

The controversial BARF diet for pit bulls

BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods. This food should cover all the nutritional needs of pit bulls. Although super premium dry food covers a wide range of pit bull needs, some people believe that it can’t be as good as raw food.

Compare food

Basically, you would have to feed your dog with all kinds of raw meat, as well as vegetables and other recommended foods. This diet is also based on well-documented proportions, as it follows:

  • Bones with meat should cover from 30% to 50% of the total feed. Of this percentage, at least half must be meat because too many bones can cause constipation and excess calcium blocks the absorption of certain minerals.
  • Organs should cover from 5% to 10% of the total feed. It is good for the organs to be served in small portions every day and not in large portions once or two times a week because they might cause diarrhea.
  • Liver and kidneys are the richest in nutrients followed by spleen, brain, eye and pancreas.
  • The stomach of sheep and beef are excellent foods for dogs, but they must be fed fresh. Those found on the market are cleaned and treated for human consumption and don’t have the same nutritional value.
  • Eggs, cheese, yogurt and kefir are well tolerated by dogs and are excellent sources of nutrients. Yogurt and kefir are very important because they are composed of lactic ferments and probiotics, which are microorganisms that are part of the normal bowel flora, necessary for the digestion.
  • Good for dogs are spinach, cabbage, kale, iceberg lettuce, Chinese cabbage, leaf mustard. The best way to cook greens is to steam them. Otherwise, the pit bull’ stomach will not digest them.
  • Fruits should be given in small quantities due to their high glycemic index. Bananas, apples and cantaloupe are especially recommended. It is forbidden to feed your dog grapes or raisins because they can cause kidney failure.

A dog properly fed does not need supplements, but there are some that can bring many benefits:

  • Salmon oil is a dietary supplement rich in fatty acids, Omega 3 and Omega 6. It is beneficial for the dog’s immune system, overall health and coat. Salmon oil produces vitamin E deficiency, so you should add vitamin E in your dog’s diet if you use this oil.
  • Supplements and herbs such as Spirulina and alfalfa are great for when your dog does not eat vegetables.
  • Apple cider vinegar provides minerals.
  • Yeast is an excellent source of vitamin B.
  • Honey has antibacterial properties and provides a wide variety of nutritional benefits.
  • Pollen contains a full range of amino acids necessary for life and has many beneficial effects on dogs in general.

Tasty conclusions for pit bulls

As seen, there are many options when it comes to feeding your pit bull. There is no unanimous opinion about this. Based on the information from this article, you will have to choose a type of diet for your dog. Try not to experiment on your pit bull by feeding it with raw meat and then with dry dog food. This would be a very big change for it.

However, if you really want to change your pit bull’s diet completely, then you must do so gradually.

Food for pitbulls

Opting for dry dog food is definitely the easiest option among all presented above. However, you might have to go through periods of time when you’ll have to accustom your put bull with its new food. On the bright side, you can combine two types of dry dog food to make the transition easier. Depending on your dog’s special needs, you can choose foods that are supplemented with fatty acids and other indispensable nutrients.

Every pit bull is different and it must be fed accordingly. If you know you don’t have time to constantly cook for your dog, then don’t cook at all and turn to dry dog food. Your dog’s digestive system is sensitive enough without you changing its meal plan too often. Pit bulls are not known to have particularly sensitive stomachs, but you shouldn’t risk it.

About the author
Wyatt Robinson
Wyatt Robinson

Wyatt Robinson had a great 25-years career as a veterinarian in United Kingdom. He used to be a member of British Veterinary Association and worked in 3 pet hospitals in London and Manchester. He is shining when he sees his pets healthy and full of energy and it is his duty to help other dog owners to keep their best friends full of life.

  • Daniella Roberts

    My cousin has a pitbull and their vet has always recommended preparing cooked food at home. True enough, his canine friend has been healthy and has the right weight. He also uses Acana and adds cooked meat which Troy (his pitbull) loves!

    • TTeddy

      Why do people say their dog «loves» a certain food when that dog has NO choice?
      Cooking the food is not a balanced diet. They need amino acids which are destroyed through the cooking process. Raw fat is better than cooked. You should never feed kibble and cooked or raw meat together either as they digest at different rates. This puts stress on the pancreas etc.

      • Wyatt Robinson

        Some pet parents allow their dogs to try numerous dog food products and find which one is the one that they like. It is a great way not to waste dog food, especially when the dog doesn’t like it. Not they they don’t have a choice at all.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      Acana and supplementary cooked meat adds variety, and I am glad that your cousin’s dog is loving this routine!

  • Mary Ong

    My friend’s dog has been itching like crazy but has no fleas or visible skin irritations. We found out that he is allergic to some dog food brands. I heard that chicken is the most probable if it is a food allergy. I want to tell her but I just want to make sure of it. What do you think? Thank you.

    • Wyatt Robinson

      The only definitive diagnostic procedure for allergies is the allergen testing that is often performed in larger veterinary clinics. This narrows down the possible allergies and give you a result that is closest to the actual allergen.

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