One of the first questions asked by new Pitbull owners is, “How much am I supposed to feed my Pitbull?” While it may seem easy to answer, there are a lot of considerations when feeding any Pitbull breed.
Pitbulls can be one of several breeds, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, and the American Bulldog.
Because of their large size and physique, you can assume that they have a big appetite for food. However, you should always prioritize a healthy diet for your pup.
Having a strict meal plan for your Pitbull puppy is the best way for them to grow healthy and stay active. This ultimate puppy feeding guide will help you choose the right dog food, set the proper feeding schedule, and more.
Pitbull Feeding Chart by Age: How Much to Feed Your Pitbull?
The amount of food your Pitbull will eat will depend primarily on its age. A Pitbull puppy diet will look quite different from that of an adult dog. As a general rule, large adult Pitbulls require three cups of food daily.
However, as a pet parent, you need to know how much you need to feed your Pitbull at different life stages. To properly plan your dog’s diet, you can follow the feeding chart included in this section.
Nonetheless, this shouldn’t be an exclusive reference for the quantity of puppy food or adult food you feed your Pitbull.
It should still be adjusted based on your dog’s needs and your vet’s recommendations, among other factors.
Pitbull Puppy Feeding Chart (2 to 12 months)
After being dependent on their mother’s milk for the first two to three weeks, a Pitbull puppy gradually transitions to weaning.
Pitbull puppies typically show a sudden spurt in growth four weeks after whelping. At this stage, they should consume puppy food with higher calorie and fat content to help them develop into healthy adults.
To know the feeding requirement of your Pitbull puppy, refer to the feeding chart below:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|2 – 3 months||0.5 – 0.75||140 – 280||22.5%||8%|
|4 – 5 months||0.75 – 1.25||360 – 610||22.5%||8%|
|6 – 9 months||0.67 – 1.33||440 – 880||22.5%||8%|
|10 – 12 months||1.25 – 1.5||540 – 940||22.5%||8%|
Following this recommendation, you can ensure that your Pitbull pup will develop its muscles and bones accordingly. High protein will also give them heaps of energy for daily physical activities.
Adult Pitbull Feeding Chart (1 to 6 years)
Adult Pitbulls have high-energy levels, which means that they need an increased amount of high-quality protein in their diet.
At 12 to 18 months, Pitbull breeds are expected to reach their full-grown size, so it’s very crucial for them to receive the right amount of calories, animal protein, and fats.
The feeding chart below shows the daily food consumption of your Pitbull pup:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|1 – 6 years||2.5 – 3.67||610 – 1174||25%||5%|
Following this chart, along with some dietary supplements and exercise, can help your Pitbull become more muscular. This also decreases the risk of developing fatal diseases when they reach old age.
Senior Pitbull Feeding Chart (7 years and above)
Because senior Pitbulls are less active than younger adult dogs, they need fewer calories in their diet. Feeding them more food than required can greatly affect their weakened bones and joints.
They should also be fed low-fat kibble since they might already have trouble breaking down fatty foods.
An aging Pitbull may also have a sensitive stomach, so it’s best to pick out the most appropriate dog food.
Refer to the table below for your guide in feeding a senior Pitbull:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|7 years and above||2.5 – 2.67||610 – 880||18%||>5%|
If you’re feeding your Pitbull commercial dog food, you can also refer to the packaging for the suggested daily amount.
However, your pup’s overall calorie intake not only depends on age but also on its current body weight.
Make sure to check in with your vet, especially if you give your Pitbull homemade food. If this is the case, you also need to self-calculate your dog’s daily calorie consumption.
READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Pitbull: Which Is Better?
Pitbull Feeding Frequency: How Often Should You Feed Your Pitbull?
Feeding your puppy Pitbull the right amount of dog food is the first step in providing their nutritional needs. However, you should also know how often you should feed your dog.
Pitbulls always have an appetite for food. Following a regular feeding routine can help prevent overfeeding and maintain your Pitbull’s healthy weight.
The table below summarizes the feeding frequency for Pitbulls:
|8 – 12 weeks||Three times a day|
|13 weeks – 6 months||Three times a day|
|7 months and above||Two to three times a day|
Young puppies should be fed more frequently than adult dogs due to their fast metabolism. Generally, a Pit Bull puppy less than four months old needs to be fed four times a day.
Not only is it necessary for growing puppies, but this will also keep their blood sugar at normal levels.
From 4 to 6 months, the frequency should be reduced to strictly three meals a day. When your Pitbull puppy reaches seven months and above, continue feeding them two to three meals every day to keep them full and energized.
After six months, you can further reduce their meals to twice a day, depending on their weight and current health condition.
Optimal Feeding Times for Pitbulls
Aside from the amount and frequency of feeding your Pitbull, another important aspect is when to feed your dog. As growing puppies, your Pittie needs to have a firm feeding schedule each day.
If this means setting an alarm for your Pitbull’s feeding time, then you shouldn’t hesitate to do it. After all, it’s for the sake of your pet’s overall health.
Since Pitbull puppies need to be fed more frequently, you need to set a few hours interval between meals. Ideally, your pup shouldn’t be fed very late at night since they might have trouble with indigestion.
As for adult Pit Bulls, the optimal feeding time is morning, noon, and evening. Basically, you need to provide them with a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal.
It’s very important to be consistent with your feeding schedule since, at this stage, your Pitbull is prone to gaining weight. In this way, you can prevent obesity and other weight-related issues.
For senior dogs, you can follow the same schedule if you feed them three meals a day. However, the most appropriate time is morning and evening for those given only two meals per day.
Treats should also be given seldomly since too much can also cause your Pitbull to become overweight. They should only be given during training as rewards.
Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls
A feeding guide is not complete without information on what you put in your dog’s feeding bowl. Choosing the best food is crucial, whether you are raising a puppy or taking care of an older dog.
Pitbull owners can choose to feed their pup with commercial dog food or go for a homemade diet consisting of raw foods or raw meats.
Getting a balanced diet for your Pit Bull is possible, given that you feed them with the best store-bought or homemade dog food as recommended by your veterinarian.
The list below shows the best dog food options you can provide your Pitbull:
- Dry Food: Dry food or kibble is the most readily available food choice for your Pitbull. However, it’s necessary to check the ingredients, especially if your Pitbull puppy has a sensitive stomach. As puppies, Pitbulls need high-quality puppy food rich in animal protein which aids in growth and muscle development. On the other hand, adult Pitbulls require high-calorie intake, following the guidelines of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
- Wet Food: Another form of commercial dog food is wet food. This moist food form actually contains 75% water. This can be mixed along with kibble to add variety to your Pit Bull’s diet. However, wet food spoils easily compared to dry food, so it’s not the most practical option.
- BARF Diet: Biologically-Approved Raw Food Diet or BARF Diet is an alternative form of raw diet which typically consists of raw meat and bones with a mix of fruits and vegetables. Raw feeding eliminates the unwanted effects of unhealthy ingredients present in processed foods. However, it’s very crucial to know the exact food ratio to give so that your Pitbull puppy can get the right amount of nutrients and avoid harmful bacteria.
- Home-Cooked Diet: Your Pitbull’s diet can also consist of home-cooked meals. Like a raw diet, this allows you to have more control over what your dog consumes. Make sure to source your meat and other ingredients from trusted butchers and sellers.
The video below shows a vet-approved homemade recipe you can follow:
Moreover, all Pit Bull Terriers like the American Pit Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier require high protein food.
As puppies, you can feed them large breed puppy food that is approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AFCO).
It should contain at least 14 to 17 percent fat from fish oil or chicken fat. These essential fatty oils promote muscle growth and healthy skin.
To avoid too much calcium intake, it’s also advised to serve food with 1.1 to 1.5 percent calcium. This also helps prevent the onset of skeletal issues.
Each of these dog food options has its own advantages and disadvantages. Before you decide, consult a licensed animal nutritionist or vet to know your best choice and how to properly feed your Pitbull.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pitbull
Knowing that Pitbulls have sensitive stomachs, it’s only imperative to know what foods to avoid when feeding them.
While some may only have a mild allergic reaction to certain ingredients, other foods can actually be fatal to other dogs.
First, let’s discuss what foods are considered poisonous for Pit Bulls. Some of these can be toxic even when eaten in small amounts.
Chocolate is considered one of the most dangerous foods to give your Pitbull puppy or adult dog.
This contains a substance called theobromine which can cause abnormal heartbeat, seizures, and even death when taken in large quantities.
Candies and other sweets are also considered toxic to Pit Bulls. These contain xylitol which is more threatening to chocolates by a great margin.
Xylitol is an alternative sweetener that is mainly found in products like toothpaste, mouthwash, peanut butter, cereals, and baked goods.
Avocado, walnuts, cherries, peaches, plums, grapes, raisins, corn on the cob, and caffeinated drinks are also considered harmful to Pitbulls.
Moreover, there are additional foods that you should avoid feeding your Pitbull due to the adverse side effects that they may bring to your dog. While not considered toxic, they can still cause vomiting, diarrhea, and weight gain.
Many dogs end up in vet clinics due to inappropriate food intake. While prevention is still the best option, it’s also essential to know the cost of emergency treatment and medication.
To know more about the medical expenses of a Pitbull puppy or adult dog, check out our article on Pitbull costs.
How to Transition Your Pitbull to a New Food
Throughout your Pitbull’s life stages, they may need to switch to a different brand of dog food or change their diet altogether.
Regardless of the reason why your dog needs this transition, you need to make sure you’re doing it the right way.
Abruptly switching to a different food or diet may cause stomach upset and even loss of appetite. This gradual transition should be done to give your Pitbull’s digestive system time to adjust.
The ideal time for this transition is around 5 to 7 days. During this period, you should incorporate the new food into your Pit Bull’s diet by mixing it with their current dog food.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) suggests incorporating 25% of the new food into the dog’s old diet and gradually increasing it using the same ratio until fully replaced.
However, this depends on your dog’s sensitivity to specific ingredients or if they have existing gastrointestinal problems. Dog foods with wheat, beef, dairy, eggs, and chicken can cause sensitivity to Pitbulls.
In this case, consulting a veterinarian is advised, especially if you plan to change to a raw or homemade diet. Not only will this keep nutritional needs in check but it will also help increase your Pitbull’s lifespan.
Feeding an Overweight Pitbull
Like other dogs, Pitbulls have the tendency to overeat, especially when owners practice free feeding or give too many table scraps and treats.
When the amount of food given is not controlled, weight-related issues like being overweight or, in some cases, obesity may occur. The first step in treating this condition is to identify if your Pitbull already fits this category.
An overweight Pitbull usually has a thick layer of fat surrounding its ribs. You will also notice that there is no distinction between the dog’s chest and stomach.
Meanwhile, an obese Pitbull has more than 40% body fat. The neck and chest area have visible fat rolls, and the stomach may appear droopy.
Despite these visual indicators, it’s always better to confirm with a licensed veterinarian, especially for large breeds like Pitbulls.
Feeding an overweight or obese Pitbull requires a strict regimen. Sticking to an appropriate feeding schedule throughout the day can significantly help in losing weight.
This also prevents your dog from consuming more than it needs.
Aside from scheduled feeding times, serving the correct food proportions is also important. Remember that Pitbull puppies require different food servings than adult or senior dogs.
It’s crucial to implement portion control as early as puppyhood. Aside from their daily meals, this should also be applied to the number of treats you give.
As an alternative to commercial dog treats, you may give your Pitbull fruits and vegetables. Sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, and cucumbers are safe to be consumed daily.
Make sure to inform each member of the family about these measures for effective results. Monitor your dog’s weight regularly to keep track of their progress.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Is My Pitbull Not Eating?
There may be several reasons why your Pitbull puppy is not eating. Loss of appetite may be triggered by changes in the dog’s environment, stress, and negative reactions to food or medication.
Dental problems and underlying illnesses are also some common reasons why Pitbulls refuse to eat. If your dog goes for days without eating, you should seek professional help immediately.
Do Pitbulls Eat a Lot?
Pitbulls generally enjoy eating a lot due to their large appetites. However, this also means that they are prone to gain excess weight. Avoid feeding them too many treats or table scraps to prevent unwanted health issues.
Scheduled feeding and food portion control can help prevent your Pitbull’s tendency to overeat.
Can Pitbulls Eat Bones?
Bones can be a good source of nutrients for your Pitbull. However, it is generally not advised to give them cooked bones.
Raw bones from chicken, turkey, lamb, or beef are acceptable to eat since they are soft enough for your puppy Pitbull to chew, eat, and digest. However, owners should still be mindful of the risk of choking and teeth damage.
Can Pitbulls Be Vegetarians?
While generally debatable, Pitbulls can survive on a vegetarian diet. However, owners need to ensure that they still get the same amount of nutrients from their food, especially protein.
In some cases, switching to a vegetarian diet can help prevent certain heart diseases. Consulting a veterinarian is the best way to determine if this is beneficial for your dog.
An important aspect of owning a Pitbull is knowing how much, how frequent, and what food to feed your dog. You may choose to provide dry food, wet food, raw food, or a homemade diet.
Since Pitbull puppies and adults can be sensitive to certain foods, it’s imperative to provide or prepare the best dog food for their age and nutritional requirements.
Knowing the right amount of food to give each meal can also help prevent unwanted health conditions and frequent trips to the vet. Giving treats should also be controlled.
For dog-specific recommendations, it’s best to discuss the most optimal feeding options for your Pitbull puppy with an animal nutritionist or local veterinarian.