The Pitbull, also called the American Pitbull Terrier, Bull Terrier, or Bully, is a popular dog breed. They often get a bad reputation due to a history of being used as fighting dogs. Pitbulls are quite good companion dogs when trained and socialized properly. Pitbulls are overall a generally healthy canine breed. On average, they live about 12 to 14 years. Several different breeds of Bully dogs fall under the name Pitbull. These include the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pitbull Terrier, and the American Bully.
There is more to feeding a Pitbull than buying dog food. Proper nutrition throughout the Pitbull lifespan plays a crucial role in how healthy they are and how long they will live. How much should you feed your puppy? What nutrients? What food is the right food? How long will she need to eat puppy chow? Do you know what to feed your Pitbull throughout her life? Our guide has answers to common Pitbull feeding questions and more.
We have all the information you need, whether you are a first-time Pitbull owner, a first-time puppy owner, adopting an older dog, or an experienced owner looking for a reference point. Just remember, it is perfectly normal to have questions. Seeking out information and making sure we are doing right by our 4-legged friends is just part of being a responsible canine owner. Every dog is different. However, our guide provides a general guideline to help answer all your Pitbull feeding questions.
How Much Should I Feed My Pitbull Puppy?
If you’re feeding your puppy a commercial diet, this question is easily answered.
Commercial puppy foods come with empirically determined daily amounts—just check the packaging.
The amount of calories your Pitbull pup needs depends on her age and weight.
If you think that the amount on the packaging is too much or not enough, double-check with your vet.
Don’t forget to account for treats. Ideally, these should be deducted from your puppy’s daily calorie “allowance.”
If you are feeding your pup a raw or home-cooked diet, calculate the daily calorie need yourself.
Weigh your dog often and adjust accordingly.
What to Feed a Pitbull Puppy
Now that we’ve seen the nutritional needs of a Pitbull puppy, let’s have a look at how to meet them.
There are two different ways to go.
You can choose a commercial dog food (kibble, wet food, or both) or you can prepare your puppy’s meals yourself (either cooked or raw).
If you choose the latter option, it will be your own responsibility to put together a complete and well-balanced meal plan.
It must meet all the AAFCO requirements for growing puppies.
Pitbull puppies might sometimes have a “sensitive stomach.”
Pitbulls also have a high incidence of food-related allergies that manifest as skin problems.
They might react to certain ingredients, so searching for the food your Pitbull puppy thrives on can require a bit of experimentation.
But don’t despair; it can be done.
When you’re in doubt, talk to your vet and try out different options. Let’s see the various types of puppy food in detail.
Kibble is the most convenient dog food.
It’s easy to store, can be used as treats or fed on the go, and it comes in all sorts of different flavors.
If you’d like to feed your Pitbull puppy kibble, it’s worth spending a bit more for an all-natural brand with premium ingredients.
Studies have shown that more expensive kibble is often more easily digestible.
Try to avoid ingredients like corn, soy, wheat, and fructose or glucose syrups.
And let’s not forget the most important thing.
To make sure your puppy has all the nutrients it needs to grow up healthy, choose a kibble designed specifically for medium-sized puppies to large breeds.
Wet food is also a commercial type of dog food. The difference from kibble is that wet food contains about 75 percent water.
The moisture unfolds all the aromas in the food, making wet food extremely palatable for most dogs.
The downside of the moisture is that wet food spoils more easily.
Additionally, there is no mechanical abrasion of your puppy’s teeth, so there is no “teeth-cleaning effect” as there is when feeding kibble.
Many dogs have loose stools when fed wet food in large amounts.
Could you feed your Pitbull puppy only on wet food, in spite of this?
Yes, it’s possible to feed a puppy only on wet food, as long as the packaging says “complete” food (and not “complementary”).
However, we recommend only using wet food as an occasional treat or to mix it together with kibble.
The biologically appropriate raw foods (BARF) takes a different approach: It tries to mimic what your dog’s wild ancestors eat.
These diets contain mostly raw meats, bones, and some vegetables and fruits.
Supporters of raw feeding claim that it makes their dogs healthier and the coat shiny.
The veterinary community is still rather divided on this subject.
Studies haven’t been able to conclusively prove that raw feeding is better than commercial diets.
They haven’t been able to refute it either, though.
The most important thing to pay attention to if you want your Pitbull pup to thrive on a raw diet is meeting the AAFCO nutrient requirements.
We suggest working closely with an experienced vet or canine nutritionist to put together a complete and well-balanced meal plan.
There’s a stubborn myth out there that raw feeding makes dogs more likely to bite, as it’s said to “bring out their wild side.”
In a breed like the Pitbull—that already has an unwarranted bad reputation, and certainly a dangerous bite—this is often used as a key argument against raw feeding.
We can put your mind at easy, though.
This theory has absolutely no scientific truth to it. Your dog will not become “blood-thirsty” because of a BARF diet.
Anecdotally, though, some dogs are more defensive of their food bowl on a raw diet.
It’s certainly a good idea to keep children away from your puppy’s food bowl at meal times, anyway.
One last important thing to pay attention to when feeding a raw diet is hygiene.
We can’t stress this enough, as raw meat is frequently contaminated with harmful bacteria and parasites.
How Much To Feed A Pitbull Puppy?
If you have a 2 week old Pitbull puppy, your puppy will have opened his eyes and begun teetering around slightly. Puppies at this age do not get very far. At this age, the puppy will be completely reliant on his mother’s milk.
The mother should never be too far from the puppies and she herself will also need a large amount of calories to make up for all of the milk that she is making and sharing with her puppies. If your Pitbull pup is looking small or even smaller than his littermates, talk to your vet about supplementing formula.
A 3 week old Pitbull puppy will have better balance, but still will not be straying far from his mother. A puppy at this age should still be completely reliant on his mother’s milk. Do not attempt weaning or introducing dog food yet at this age.
Some breeders who are eager to get their pups adopted out might try weaning, but it is not a good idea at such a young age. The mother should still be feeding the puppies on demand, laying down for them to nurse until they are full. The puppies should be able to move enough away from the litter to urinate.
When your Pitbull puppy has reached 4 weeks old, he will have more control over his legs and will begin to explore slightly. He should still be dependent upon his mother’s milk. If you are considering weaning at this point, you can try to introduce puppy food mixed with water.
It should be ¼ food to ¾ water. Your 4 week old Pitbull puppy will not be able to eat much at all and might not be remotely interested in eating the mixture. If he isn’t interested, don’t worry. He just isn’t ready yet and should still be getting his nutrition from his mother’s milk.
A 5 week old Pitbull puppy might be more interested in trying out puppy food. Still, try with the mixture that is primarily water. He is likely to be more interested this week than he was the week before, but don’t try to force him if he isn’t interested.
Hopefully, the puppy will at least taste the mixture. He should still be getting most of his food from his mother’s milk regardless. Even if your puppy is trying the food, don’t expect him to eat much food at all, because his stomach is still small and won’t take in much.
At the age of 6 weeks, your puppy should be a little more interested in that food mixture that you have been making. If he is eating it, you can try reducing the amount of water that is in the food to half, gradually getting down to not having any water in it at all.
The 6 week old Pitbull puppy will still not be eating much at all, but taking a couple of bites here and there can help get his stomach more used to eating it. He should still be getting most of his calories from his mother, but she might be less inclined toward nursing.
Your 7 week old Pitbull puppy should be eating the puppy food without any trouble. If you haven’t cut out all of the water yet, this is the time to get the puppy on the food by itself. If the mother is still willing to nurse, it is more likely to be a quick stop before moving on.
She is going to be working on weaning the puppies as well and will help the process by separating herself from the puppies, allowing them to eat the puppy food as a primary source of nutrition. She should be allowed to escape from the puppies as she wishes.
Your 8 week old Pitbull puppy will be ready to be rehomed with a new family. He should not be getting any more mother’s milk and should be completely reliant on puppy food now. You should be offering your puppy food 4 times a day, if possible.
The food should be given in equal amounts to fulfill his need for calories. Make sure to remove any food that isn’t eaten after around 20 minutes so the puppy will get used to being on a consistent feeding schedule. It will help with digestion.
Your puppy should be in his new home by 9 weeks. If you are changing the food that your puppy is on from what the breeder was feeding, make sure to do it slowly so that you do not upset your puppy’s stomach. Mix in the new food with the old food to make the change.
You should be feeding the puppy around 2 cups of food a day, divided into equal portions. His energy level should be increasing as well, so he might be burning more calories, gradually increasing his appetite over time. Stick with your feeding schedule.
If you have a 10 week old Pitbull puppy, your puppy likely has a lot of energy and has started getting into some mischief. Be aware that puppies often will try to eat anything that they can get their mouths on, so watch what you have on the floor or what your puppy has access to.
If he eats anything that isn’t food, it could be dangerous to him. Otherwise, keep him on his feeding schedule. You can increase his food slightly to accommodate any increase in appetite that he might be experiencing as his stomach is growing in addition to his body.
When your Pitbull puppy is 11 weeks old, he should still be on a strict feeding schedule, sticking with 4 times a day if possible, 3 times a day if it’s not possible. Only leave his food out for 10 to 20 minutes at a time and remove any food that isn’t eaten.
This will help keep him on a schedule and teach him when he can expect food as well as teaching him to eat when it is offered. You will also be able to see how much he was actually hungry for and if he is not responding well to the food he’s getting.
Your 12 week old Pitbull puppy should be growing rapidly. He should have a lot of energy and be hungry enough to eat it all. You can reduce his food to 3 meals a day if you haven’t already, just make sure that his meals have been divided equally.
Do not switch your puppy from puppy food yet as he needs the calories that come with puppy food. If you have other dogs, it is tempting to feed everyone the same food, but you cannot feed a puppy adult food at this age. Keep his calories up for steady growth.
What should a baby pitbull eat?
What food can I give my pitbull puppy?
Kibble is the most convenient dog food. It’s easy to store, can be used as treats or fed on the go, and it comes in all sorts of different flavors. If you’d like to feed your Pitbull puppy kibble, it’s worth spending a bit more for an all-natural brand with premium ingredients.