Pitbulls may have a reputation for being tough, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need a little TLC. In fact, this popular breed thrives when it is fed a particularly nutritious food. The reality is that many commercial dog foods just don’t have what it takes when it comes to giving your pitbull the nutrition it needs and deserves. By being able to identify the best dog food for pitbulls, you’ll ensure that your beloved pet is getting exactly what he needs to be strong and healthy for a lifetime.
Before choosing the best dog food for pitbulls, it’s necessary to consider what veterinarians say in general about the nutritional requirements of these muscular, energetic dogs and other pups as well. Over at petmd.com, the veterinarians recommend a meat-based diet. They ground their opinions in observations over the course of several decades in practice. When dogs were fed a largely grain-based diet where corn was often the main ingredient in dry food, the dogs presented a number of health problems like itchy skin, coarse coats, ear infections and obesity. Vets often concluded that these dogs were getting plenty of calories but not particularly well-balanced nutrition.
At the same time, vets noticed that dogs who were fed a meat-based diet presented far fewer of these health problems. Vets tend to recommend a diet that is largely based on chicken or another source of meat like beef or lamb. Before choosing a food for your pitbull, take a look at the Guaranteed Analysis on the label. It should disclose at least 30 percent protein content before you even consider it as a contender. Approximately 18 percent fat is considered ideal, and the formula needs to contain omega fatty acids as well as Vitamins E and C. Additionally, vets often say that food coloring is totally superfluous and may even be harmful, so look for brands that don’t use these additives.
Dr. Joseph Wakshlag at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals reaches a similar conclusion. He counsels pet parents to feed their dogs with a food that includes all protein, carbs and fat and then supplementing with small amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables. His advice includes avoiding fresh garlic, onion, grapes, avocado and raisins, which may be harmful to dogs. Moreover, he recommends looking for foods that carry the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ nutritional guarantee. This guarantee certifies that the product offers complete and balanced nutrition for most dogs.
Information from the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University echoes what other vets have said. Essentially, there is not one “best food” for all dogs. Individual dogs will respond to various foods in different ways, and it is necessary for pet parents to closely observe their dog when they try a new food. Look for positive changes like weight loss, a healthier coat, less itching and scratching and fewer digestive issues as signs that your dog’s new food is packing a seriously healthy punch.
Aside from the general guidelines offered from veterinarians, it’s important to keep in mind that pitbulls are muscular and burn through a lot of energy. Additionally, they tend to really wolf down their food, which makes them prone to some digestive issues. That’s why it’s so vital that they get a nutritionally dense food that is also easily digestible. This cuts down on gastrointestinal problems and ensures that they get the nutrients they need to thrive.
Let’s take a look at some of the dog foods that meet the criteria for ensuring optimum pitbull health.
1. Orijen Dog Food
Many people swear by feeding their pitbull a diet that consists largely of raw meat. Now, this may be a good approach for many pits and their parents, but it also becomes time consuming and expensive in a hurry. Orijen makes a dry food that is the next best thing to feeding a raw meat diet. One of the things that pit owners really love about Orijen is the fact that they grow their own free-range chickens and have fishermen on staff who go out and catch the salmon used in their recipes. You can’t get better control over the production process than that. On top of that, Orijen excels at providing the nutrients your dog needs. Eighty percent of the ingredients in Orijen include protein, so you can rest assured that your beloved pit is getting the high-quality calories he needs without a lot of unnecessary fillers. In fact, your pit will get 38% protein in every dish. Orijen is one of the more expensive pitbull foods out there, but the nutrition it packs is certainly worth it. An adult pitbull will eat between 30 and 40 pounds of the food each month.
2. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
With about 40% protein in every bite, this dry food meets the requirements for your pitbull’s healthy lifestyle. That protein comes from an interesting and complex mix of bison, lamb meal and eggs. Earthborn also packs in the fruits and veggies for plenty of vitamins and minerals. Omega fatty acids are similarly present. These mostly come from flax in this formula, and you may see great improvement in your pup’s skin and coat because of these fatty acids. This food is a particularly good choice if you suspect that your pit is allergic to or has difficulty digesting grains. Potatoes are also absent from the mix, another plus if your pit is dealing with sensitivities of any kind. Many owners are also drawn to the presence of L-carnitine, which helps to convert body fat into energy and muscle. Since pits tend to be very muscular and burn through a lot of energy, this is an important component.
3. Taste of the Wild Dog Food
Taste of the Wild combines meat with meat meal to make a particularly protein-packed dry food. Unlike many commercially available dog foods that contain cornmeal, Taste of the Wild relies on meat meal and then more meat to ensure that your pitbull gets plenty of protein. This food also has ingredients that will help your pit properly digest his meal even if he insists on wolfing it down without chewing. Acidophilus and fermented solubles help to take care of these problems, often eliminating some of the digestive concerns to which pits are prone. Taste of the Wild takes advantage of some really unusual meats like wild boar, venison and bison as well as more traditional sources. The best choices from this line include the High Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison & Roasted Venison with its 32% minimum of protein per serving and the Wetlands Canine Formula with Roasted Fowl, which has similar protein content.
4. Merrick Grain Free Real Duck and Sweet Potato Dog Food
The 43 percent protein contained in this food makes it a winner for pits. Plus, that protein comes from quality sources like salmon meal, turkey meal and duck. The carbohydrate content in this food mainly comes from sweet potatoes. However, it is important to be aware that there may be some white potatoes in the mix, which may be an allergy concern for some pitbulls. Produce included in the formula includes apples, blueberries and peas. Look for plenty of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids to improve your pit’s skin and hair.
5. Acana Pacifica
Made by the same company that produces Orijen dog foods, Acana Pacifica is a winner for those who are looking for a more affordable option. This particular formula still guarantees 33% protein in the formula, with that protein coming from wild caught fish like salmon, flounder and herring. The main difference between the Orijen line and the Acana line is that Acana contains more carbohydrates. Nonetheless, the recipes are still completely grain free. The addition of pumpkin and salmon oil, several different seaweeds, probiotics and vitamins and minerals make this food a winner for pitbulls.
6. Canidae Grain Free Salmon and Canidae Grain Free All Life Stages
A full 80 percent of the protein in both of these recipes comes from meat or seafood. Fruits and vegetables make up the remaining 20 percent of the protein. Many pitbull parents love the salmon recipe because of its 40 percent protein and 20 percent fat content. This is perfect for active, high-energy dogs like pitbulls. The All Life Stages formula relies on chicken and turkey meal as well as lamb, chicken fat and peas. Be aware that both the salmon formula and the All Life Stages food contain potatoes and potato protein, so if your pit is allergic to potatoes, this may not be the food for him.
7. Wellness – CORE Reduced Fat Recipe
With the pitbull’s tendency to eat voraciously, it is relatively easy for them to put on weight. That is especially true if your dog hasn’t been particularly active or has been getting a low quality food that contains too many fillers and not enough nutrition. If your pit needs to lose a few pounds, then this reduced-fat food may be just what he needs to get back to a healthy weight. This food is available in other varieties, so it may be helpful to transition your pup to the Ocean or Original Recipe once he’s lost the excess weight. The main ingredients in the Reduced Fat Recipe variety include turkey, turkey meal and chicken meal. Whitefish meal, chicken liver and salmon oil are also in the mix. With 33 percent protein and just 9 percent fat, this formula is just right for helping your pit to take off a few pounds. It’s important to note that this recipe does have potatoes, so keep this in mind if your dog has allergies.
8. Blue Wilderness Grain-Free Puppy Food
It’s common knowledge that you can’t feed a puppy the same formula that you would happily give to your adult pit. At the same time, it’s important to realize that the quality of the nutrition that your pitbull puppy receives now may affect his health for the rest of his life. To help your pup grow up healthy, strong and active, he needs to have the right food. Blue Wilderness bases all of their recipes on the diet of wolves, and their puppy foods are no exception. They actually contain DHA, a substance that is present in the mother’s milk your pup was previously living on, as well as chicken, chicken meal and turkey meal. That’s a lot of protein, which your puppy needs to grow up strong and healthy. Other formulas have protein from bison and other sources, so you can tailor your pup’s diet to meet his specific needs.
Keep in mind that there is not one best dog food for pitbulls. Any of these high-quality foods can easily meet the nutritional needs of your pup. However, this does not mean that he will necessarily respond well to all of the ingredients. If you are interested in switching your pitbull’s food, then it’s wise to take an experimental approach. Try one food for a few weeks, and if you’re not seeing the results you were hoping for, then it may make sense to try a different food. Switching food too often can be difficult on your dog’s system, so try to refrain from doing so too quickly unless you suspect that your dog is having a severe adverse reaction to a new food. If that’s the case, it probably makes sense to consult your veterinarian to see if you can pinpoint the cause of the reaction so you can avoid it in the future.
Pitbulls are wonderful additions to any household. With their loving and protective personalities, they enrich the lives of everyone they come into contact with. When choosing the right food for them, it’s important to keep in mind that pits are muscular, high-energy dogs. This means that they require more protein than other breeds of comparable size. At the same time, these tough guys can be softies when it comes to allergies and digestive issues. This makes it imperative to look for food that doesn’t have a lot of fillers that don’t add nutritional value and that will be easy to digest.
The foods listed here are a sampling of some of the best dog food for pitbulls. There are other reputable, best dog food brands. If you keep in mind your dog’s need for a minimum of 30 percent protein content, then you are already on the right track. Observe your pup closely for signs of allergic reaction or other negative feedback when trying a new food, and don’t hesitate to contact your vet if necessary.
When you understand your pitbull’s unique dietary needs, you can ensure that you fulfill them and that he will be as healthy and full of energy as possible.