Best Dog Food for Pitbulls


The Best Dog Food for Pitbulls: TheDogDigest Edition

Credit: inst_pitbull

Feeding a dog properly is not as easy as it seems. You can’t just toss them whatever is left from your family’s meal and be done with it. You need to get them proper chow, designed to meet their individual needs. Keeping a Pitbull kind of dog well-fed is an even trickier task. 

Pitties are muscular and bulky, and they are incredibly active and high-performance doggies. Sure, they are cuddly lap dogs at heart, but they need lots of grub to keep them full and peppy day in and day out.

Anyone looking to welcome a Pitty into their family should investigate ahead of time which dog food is the best for their future puppy and how they should feed them when they are all grown up. If you already own a Pitbull, and they seem to have lost their luster, the chances are that their nutritional needs aren’t being met. 

TheDogDigest can help. We put ourselves to the task of finding the best dog food for Pitbulls so that you don’t have to. Given that we aren’t sponsored by affiliate links and never push one dog food brand over another for profit, we base our reviews on facts and expert advice only. We made sure to find the best nibble for your Pittie from puppyhood to ripe old age.

Our Quest for the Best Pitbull Dog Food

Credit: pitbullmagazine

Pitties are classified as medium-sized doggos, but they are so bulky and muscular that they can eat a horse. When choosing the best dog food for a Pitbull, you need to look at the big dog formulas to keep them as strong and vigorous as they were bred to be.

To learn about what constitutes the top dog food for Pitbulls, we consulted:

  1. Vets
  2. Pitty parents
  3. The Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) nutritional requirements for dogs

Veterinarians know their stuff. They told us how to distinguish the best dog food from the worst dog food, and they revealed which dog food ingredients we should avoid when checking the label.

Pitbull owners have the first-hand experience when it comes to keeping their doggies happy and healthy. They shared what their furballs’ favorite brands were so that we could get to testing them out ourselves.

We wanted to be sure that the chow we serve to our Pitties will make them burst with energy. So we looked for those formulas that comply with the nutritional standards set by AAFCO, the leading animal feed organization. Dogs of different sizes and ages have different dietary needs, so we wanted to hit the nail on the head and find the right kind for puppies, adult dogs, and senior pooches, as well as for Bullies, which are particularly high-performance dogs.

We were left with a list of 20 brands that fared the best, but we only reviewed those that we considered top-notch in every regard. We also followed a particular set of criteria ingredient-wise, including:

  • A named meat source as the primary ingredient
  • No chemical preservatives
  • No food dyes
  • No artificial flavor enhancers

These are the results of our thorough analyses of each of the dog foods that are ideal for Pitbulls. 

Category

TheDogDigest Picks Rating
Best Overall WILD FRONTIER Large Breed with Beef & Wild Boar

4.9

Runner-Up

Merrick Backcountry Raw-Infused Large Breed Recipe 4.8
Best on a Budget Taste of the Wild Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lamb

4.4

Best for Pitbull Puppies

ORIJEN Puppy Large 4.7
Best for Senior Pitbulls Halo Holistic Beef Recipe for Senior Dogs

4.9

Best for a Bully

Bully Max 30/20 High-Performance Dog Food 4.9

Best Treats for a Pitbull

PureVita Beef Jerky

5.0

Best Overall: WILD FRONTIER Large Breed with Beef & Wild Boar

Credit: WILD FRONTIER

Pitbulls are omnivores and enjoy eating meats, fruits, and veggies, which makes the WILD FRONTIER Large Breed with Beef & Wild Boar formula ideal for them! 

The first and most abundant ingredient in this recipe is beef, the hearty and delicious meat that these doggos love to the bone. It is paired with a protein-packed pork meal, wild boar, and an assortment of nutrient-rich organs, which will undoubtedly satisfy the inner carnivore of your precious beastie!

Split peas, dried potatoes, and beet pulp supply the energy-loaded veggie carbs to this blend. The healthy fats (coming from chicken and fish oil) are kept fresh with tocopherols, which are natural preservatives that come from vitamin E.

This formula has had a positively delightful response from our readers’ Pitties, and nutritionally, we are super thrilled with it too. Adult dogs thrive on a premium-quality dog food such as this one, so feel free to serve it to your four-legged buddy without a second thought.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein (Min.)

32.0%

Crude Fat (Min.)

14.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)

3.5%

Moisture (Max.)

10.0%
Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Min.)

2.0%

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min.)

0.2%
Calories

3,669 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Beef, Split Peas, Pork Meal, Chicken Meal, Dried Potatoes, Tapioca, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Wild Boar, Natural Flavor, Dried Plain Beet Pulp, Turkey Liver, Pork Heart, Pork Kidney, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Pea Protein, Fish Oil (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Choline Chloride, Potassium Chloride, DL-Methionine, Salt, Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid (preservatives), Zinc Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin E Supplement, Iron Amino Acid Chelate, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Selenium Yeast, Riboflavin Supplement (Vitamin B2), Copper Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Manganese Amino Acid Chelate, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Rosemary Extract.

Runner-Up: Merrick Backcountry Raw-Infused Large Breed Recipe

Credit: Merrick

We’ve already written about the benefits of raw dog food, as well as the precautions you need to take when you feed your pup fresh foods. If you’ve always wanted to give your Pittie a taste of their ancestral raw diet but were scared off by the risk of contamination, Merrick Backcountry Raw-Infused Large Breed Recipe is a safe choice.

This formula has bits of freeze-dried raw chicken mingled with the kibble pieces so that every bite your pooch has is infused with the flavor of raw meat. Freeze-drying is the safest way to serve raw ingredients to dogs because it gets rid of all the moisture that causes meat to spoil quickly, but it retains almost all of the nutrients that are naturally present in it. Dehydration is a similar process, but it destroys nutrients on a large scale.

Apart from deboned chicken, this recipe also uses turkey and chicken meals, which are amazing protein sources, essential for healthy muscles in a breed such as a Pittie. Potatoes and sweet potatoes boost the carbohydrate count of this blend and give ample energy to your vivacious goggie.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein (Min.)

38.0%

Crude Fat (Min.)

17.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)

3.5%

Moisture (Max.)

11.0%
Omega 6 Fatty Acids (Min.)

3.0%

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Min.)

0.3%
Glucosamine (min.)

1200 mg/kg

Chondroitin sulfate (min.)

1200 mg/kg
Calories

3,718 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Peas, Salmon Meal, Potato Protein, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavor, Duck, Lamb, Sunflower Oil, Chicken Liver, Salt, Organic Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Apples, Blueberries, Minerals (Iron Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Zinc Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Copper Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Proteinate, Cobalt Carbonate), Taurine, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Mixed Tocopherols for freshness, Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Acetate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride), Citric Acid for freshness, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product.

Best on a Budget: Taste of the Wild Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lamb

Credit: Taste of the Wild

We already wrote about the Taste of the Wild Ancient Mountain Canine Recipe with Roasted Lamb in our review of Taste of the Wild dog food. It was our fave pick for large, ravenous doggos, which is why we feel it is perfect for the inner wolf in your Pitbull, too!

Pitbulls can gobble up a lot of grub in a matter of minutes, so calorie-dense kibble is not the best choice for them as they can get chubby from it quickly. You can read about the dangers of high protein in dog food here. Pitties need nutritious yet moderately calorific chow that will keep them full and happy but also lean and toned.

This recipe gives them just that — tasty, novel meat like lamb will satisfy their taste buds, and it is also an excellent food for dogs with allergies. Plenty of grains in this formula will keep them full and energized, but the best part is you’ll keep your buddy jolly for a fraction of the price compared to other high-quality chows!

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein

25.0% minimum

Crude Fat

15.0% minimum
Crude Fiber

3.0% maximum

Moisture

10.0% maximum
DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid)

0.05% minimum

Zinc

150 mg/kg minimum
Selenium

0.4 mg/kg minimum

Vitamin A

15,000 IU/kg minimum
Vitamin E

150 IU/kg minimum

Taurine

0.12% minimum
L-Carnitine

100 mg/kg minimum

Omega-6 Fatty Acids

2.8% minimum
Omega-3 Fatty Acids

0.4% minimum

Glucosamine

750 mg/kg minimum
Chondroitin Sulfate

250 mg/kg minimum

Total Microorganisms

not less than 80,000,000 CFU/lb
Calories

3,625 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Lamb, lamb meal, grain sorghum, millet, cracked pearled barley, dried yeast, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), brown rice, egg product, roasted lamb, natural flavor, tomato pomace, salmon oil (a source of DHA), quinoa, chia seed, salt, potassium chloride, DL-Methionine, choline chloride, taurine, dried chicory root, tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, yucca schidigera extract, L-Carnitine, dried Lactobacillus plantarum fermentation product, dried Bacillus subtilis fermentation product, dried Lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product, dried Enterococcus faecium fermentation product, dried Bifidobacterium animalis fermentation product, vitamin E supplement, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, copper proteinate, ferrous sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate, potassium iodide, thiamine mononitrate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, ascorbic acid, vitamin A supplement, biotin, niacin, calcium pantothenate, manganese sulfate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, vitamin B12 supplement, riboflavin, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid.

Contains a source of live (viable), naturally occurring microorganisms.

Best for Pitbull Puppies: ORIJEN Puppy Large

Credit: ORIJEN

ORIJEN Puppy Large formula was the one that Pittie puppy parents reported was the most convenient for their yappers to chew on. On our part, we were more than impressed with its ingredient list.

The primary ingredients in this blend are loaded with goodies:

  • Chicken and turkey meat are animal-based proteins that are supremely digestible for canines
  • Cage-free eggs are protein-, fat-, and iron-rich
  • Chicken and turkey livers and hearts are packed with nutrients essential for puppers’ cognitive and cardiovascular health
  • Flounder, herring, mackerel, and sardine are Omega fatty acid-abundant kinds of fish
  • Various lentils, peas, and beans provide the legume-derived carbs, which give tons of energy to Pittie pupperinos
  • Chicken necks and cartilage are essential for the proper development of the little doggies’ skeletal systems

The poultry used in this chow is free-range and fresh, so you know that your tiny pooch is getting a premium-quality, nutrient-dense chow that is suitable for dogs in the growth and development stage.

Besides, the kibble in this blend is small enough for puppies’ teeth and mouths, and it doesn’t pose a choking hazard as standard kibble would. Dry food will strengthen the puppers’ jawlines, keep their teeth healthy, strong, and plaque- and tartar-free.

Bonus tip: Puppies and Pittie puppies, in particular, are ravenous like wolves, so you may want to try using a puzzle feeder bowl to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated while teaching them to eat more slowly and safely. That, combined with the best puppy food, will make mealtime both fun and enjoyable for your cub!

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude protein (min.)

38%

Fat content (min.)

20%
Crude ash (max.)

7%

Crude fiber (max.)

6%
Moisture (max.)

12%

Calcium (min.)

1.30%
Phosphorus (min.)

1.10%

Omega-3 fatty acids (min.)

0.90%
Omega-6 fatty acids (min.)

2.80%

DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)(min.)

0.30%
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)(min.)

0.20%

Glucosamine (min.)

1400mg/kg
Chondroitin sulfate (min.)

1200mg/kg

Ingredients

Fresh chicken meat (14%), fresh turkey meat (7%), fresh cage-free eggs (7%), fresh chicken liver (6%), fresh whole flounder (5%), fresh whole herring (5%), fresh turkey liver (5%), fresh chicken necks (4%), fresh chicken heart (4%), fresh turkey heart (4%), chicken (dehydrated, 4%), turkey (dehydrated, 4%), whole mackerel (dehydrated, 4%), whole sardine (dehydrated, 4%), whole herring (dehydrated, 4%), whole red lentils, whole green lentils, whole green peas, lentil fibre, whole chickpeas, whole yellow peas, whole pinto beans, whole navy beans, herring oil (1%), chicken cartilage (1%), chicken fat (1%), sun-cured alfalfa, chicken liver (freeze-dried), turkey liver (freeze-dried), fresh whole pumpkin, fresh whole butternut squash, fresh whole zucchini, fresh whole parsnips, fresh carrots, fresh whole Red Delicious apples, fresh whole Bartlett pears, fresh kale, fresh spinach, fresh beet greens, fresh turnip greens, brown kelp, whole cranberries, whole blueberries, whole Saskatoon berries, chicory root, turmeric root, milk thistle, burdock root, lavender, marshmallow root, rosehips. ADDITIVES (per kg): Nutritional additives: Zinc chelate: 100 mg. Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 10415: 600×10^6 CFU.

Best for Senior Pitbulls: Halo Holistic Beef Recipe for Senior Dogs

Credit: Halo Pets

Halo Holistic Beef Recipe for Senior Dogs ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the nutrition of elderly Pitties. Here is what makes it fantastic:

  • Beef meat and liver are the main ingredients
  • It abounds in wholesome veggies, such as peas and carrots, that are light on an aged doggo’s tummy
  • It has plenty of fiber-rich ingredients that facilitate the digestion of our seasoned pooches
  • A wet formula is easier for senior dog’s gnashers, and it is more aromatic and appetizing, which is essential for older dogs that have weak appetites (but it can contribute to plaque buildup, so it’s good to have one of the best dental chews handy!)

If you need further convincing, make sure you check out our Halo dog food review. In case you think a different formula would suit your grandpa-dog better, take a peek at the best senior dog food in our book.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein (Min.)

8.0%

Crude Fat (Min.)

4.5%
Crude Fiber (Max.)

1.5%

Moisture (Max.)

78.0%
Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) (Min.)

0.1%

Chondroitin Sulfate (Min.)

200mg/kg
Chondroitin Sulfate (Max.)

290mg/kg

Glucosamine (Min.)

300 mg/kg
Glucosamine (Max.)

360 mg/kg

Calorie Count (ME Calculated)

1,070 kcal/kg

Typical Analysis (Dry Matter Basis)

Protein

33.6%
Fat 

42.5%

Fiber 

5.1%
Carbs 

13.8%

Calcium 

0.8%
Phosphorus 

0.6%

Ingredients

Beef, beef broth, beef liver, ground dried peas, oat bran, pea fiber, carrots, tricalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, peas, potassium chloride, guar gum, salmon oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), minerals, sunflower oil, vitamins, choline chloride, agar-agar, glucosamine hydrochloride, sodium carbonate, chondroitin sulfate, salt, L-Carnitine, rosemary extract.

Best for a Bully: Bully Max 30/20 High-Performance Dog Food

Credit: Amazon

If you have a Bully, you already know that this is one big dog! Their nutritional needs are different from a Staff Terrier’s, for instance, so you can hardly go for the same chow. 

Bully Max 30/20 High-Performance Dog Food is exactly what it says — it has 30% protein and 20% fat, which is an ideal ratio for a high-performance dog like yours. It is also one of the most calorific dog foods that we could find, which is excellent for the hefty muscle mass your fellow has or will grow to have.

The recipe contains no traces of soy, wheat, or corn, which are low-quality protein sources and common dog allergens. Instead, it uses all-natural ingredients, such as chicken meal, brown rice, barley, and menhaden fish, among others. The company offers full disclosure about the ingredients they use and their nutritional value, so you can hop on over to their page for more info.

This blend is suitable for all life stages, so if your pupper enjoys it, you know you’ve found the chow that you can stick to for a long time. In our humble opinion, it is a bit too calorie-dense for an older doggo as they are usually not as active as they were in their prime years. That may cause them to put on excess weight, which is particularly unhealthy at their tender age (if your pup has a few extra pounds, a green bean diet might help). It’s up to you to make the call — if your senior woofer is agile and sprightly even after their seventh birthday, they can continue munching on their favorite recipe for as long as they like.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein (min.)

30.0%

Crude Fat (min.)

20.0%
Crude Fiber (max.)

3.8%

Moisture (max.)

10.0%
Omega-6 (min.)

3.85%

Omega-3 (min.)

0.5%
Total Microorganisms (min.)

31m CFU/lb

Calories

3,930 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, ground sorghum, pearled barley, brewers dried yeast, whole ground flaxseed, menhaden fish meal, potassium chloride, salt, L-lysine, lactobacillus acidophilus fermentation product dehydrated, propionic acid, vitamin E supplement, ascorbic acid, organic dried kelp, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement, vitamin A acetate, thiamine mononitrate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, citric acid, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, iron sulfate, zinc sulfate, zinc proteinate, iron proteinate, copper sulfate, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, manganese proteinate, manganous oxide, copper proteinate, sodium selenite, calcium iodate, natural flavor. 

Best Treats for a Pitbull: PureVita Beef Jerky Dog Treats

Credit: NutriSource Pet Foods

PureVita Beef Jerky wowed us with its simplicity. Regardless of the Pitbull breed you have, if you feed your pup with quality dog food, they will get what they need from it. Treats and snacks are not there to feed your Pittie, but rather to help you train them and reward them for their efforts and obedience. That is why we loved that this kind is based on beef and pumpkin only.

Apart from wanting them to be tasty and mouth-watering, we look for healthy and natural dog treats. This jerky is preserved with healthy tocopherols, and its taste is enhanced with beef broth in which the beef itself was cooked. No additional flavor enhancers are present, and no artificial, harmful ones certainly found their way into this recipe. That holds true for all formulas made by this brand — you can read more about them in our detailed PureVita dog food review.

If you want to add more variety to your dog’s snacks, check out our favorite dog treat brands and steer clear from the worst dog treat brands that are currently on the market.

Guaranteed Analysis

Crude Protein (Min.)

30.0%

Crude Fat (Min.)

14.0%
Crude Fiber (Max.)

3.0%

Moisture (Max.)

24.0%
Calories

3,115 kcal/kg

Ingredients

Beef, Beef Broth, Sea Salt, Pumpkin, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, Tocopherols (preservative).

The Pitbull Taboo

Credit: inst_pitbull

Did you know that the Pitbull is not a dog breed per se? When you say you have a Pitbull, different people will have different ideas on what your dog looks and behaves like. More often than not, they will associate a Pittie with the American Pit Bull Terrier, but there are other popular “Pitbull” breeds, such as:

Pitbulls are not ancient breeds. They originated sometime around the start of the 19th century when the British crossbred Terriers and Bulldogs. What they wanted was to concoct the right genetic cocktail of the Terrier’s tenacity and the Bulldog’s strength so that they would have a canine tough enough to participate in blood sports for the amusement of the masses. These woofers had to be brawny enough to get to grips with bears and bulls in fighting pits and live to tell the tale — and that they did.

After those blood sports were banned, people found new ways to put these beasties to work — they tossed them into ratting pits and dog rings. Sure, their opponents were significantly smaller that time around, but decades of being bred to fight and attack has contributed to this dog’s vile reputation. 

The Misconceptions About Pitties

Credit: dailypits

There isn’t a doggo that is feared and frowned upon more than the Pitbull. They are believed to be vicious killers with locking jaws, eager to attack at the slightest signal and without a shred of remorse. This, of course, couldn’t be farther from the truth, and you will hear such jibber jabber coming only from the mouths of people who don’t even own one.

Pittie parents can testify to their pooches’ affectionate and cuddly nature, their devotion to their human families, and many other amiable traits that are in stark contrast to their sinister appearance. Yes, they are excellent guard dogs, but that doesn’t make them evil. Dachshunds are exceptional guard doggos too, but you won’t find them banned in any states around the world, as is the case with Pitbulls. Keeping these woofers is prohibited to various extents by breed-specific legislation in:

  • Australia
  • Canada’s province of Ontario
  • U.S. cities of Miami and Denver
  • Singapore
  • The U.K.’s England and Wales
  • Ireland

In countries that don’t explicitly prohibit owning a Pitbull-like breed, you will find apartment complexes that don’t allow them. That makes owning one inconvenient as many people are unable to choose where they live and end up abandoning the idea of adopting a Pitty. The American Kennel Club doesn’t recognize the American Pitbull Terrier as a breed, either, which is why proud Pittie owners have started their own exclusive organizations, such as:

  1. The United Kennel Club (UKC)
  2. The American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA)

Here’s the thing about Pitbulls — today’s Pitty is a far cry from being the horrific, bloodcurdling monster that many believe them to be. Centuries have passed since their pit-fighting beginnings, and they have progressed into the companion dog category as have many hunting and working dogs before them. 

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_bull
  2. https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-best-food-for-pitbulls
  3. https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-feed-a-pitbull-puppy
  4. Pereira, Keylla Helena Nobre Pacifico, et al. “Incidence of Congenital Malformations and Impact on the Mortality of Neonatal Canines.” Theriogenology, vol. 140, 2019, pp. 52–57., doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2019.07.027.
  5. Hotovy, Erin. The Complete Guide to Pit Bulls: Finding, Raising, Feeding, Training, Exercising, Grooming, and Loving Your New Pit Bull Dog. LP Media Inc., 2019.

Recent Content