The 10 Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls in 2021 (Adult, Puppy, Senior)

Pitbulls are strong, muscular, high-energy dogs that often receive an undeserved bad rap. This bad reputation comes from the day when Pitbulls were used to bear and bull-baiting in England. However, modern Pitbulls are far from their ancestors. What used to be feared dogs have evolved to become one of the most loyal and lovable companion pets. 

Because of the dogs’ origin, traits, and needs, finding the best dog foods for pitbulls can pose some challenges. Here, we have narrowed down our choices to the following:

best dog food for pit bulls

Our Picks for The Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls

Best Dog Food for Pitbull Reviews

Important FDA Alert: Due to the FDA warning about the potential link between grain-free pet food and DCM, we recommend you to feed your furry buddy only wholesome grain foods unless they are specifically allergic to grain.

Best Dry Dog Food for Pitbulls

1. Wellness Complete Health Grained Dry Dog Food

  • Suitable for: Adult dog
  • Caloric content (per kg): 434 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground barley, peas

If you’re looking for a complete dog food that can provide all of your Pitbull’s nutritional needs, look no further than the Wellness Complete Grained Dry Dog Food. It derives most of its protein from chicken and chicken meal.

A closer look at its protein content tells us that the formula contains 27 percent protein on a dry matter basis, which meets the current AAFCO protein standards for grown-up dog maintenance (18% min). The label analysis also reveals the recipe contains 13 percent fat, and 50% estimated carbs.

What We Like

  • Three different flavors and protein sources to choose from: chicken, lamb, and whitefish
  • A well-balanced blend of protein, fat, and carbs
  • Grain inclusive
  • Includes a variety of antioxidant fruits and vegetables
  • Contains Yucca Schidigera to reduce the odor of your Pitbull’s stools
  • Chondroitin Sulfate for mobility

Best for Pitbulls Puppies

2. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Puppy Food

  • Suitable for: Puppy
  • Caloric content (per kg): 366 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain-inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, ground brown rice, salmon meal

Featuring three high-quality natural protein sources to support Pitbull puppies growing body, the Wellness Complete for Puppy is our top pick among other puppies foods.

With chicken as its first ingredient, this recipe contains 32 percent protein, which is more than the AAFCO’s minimum recommended protein intake for growth and reproduction at 22.5 percent. A deeper look into its dry matter label analysis also shows us that the formula contains 14 percent fat, and 40 percent estimated carbs.

What We Like

  • High protein chicken and chicken meal for lean muscle development
  • DHA-rich salmon for brain development
  • Made with high-quality grain sources—peas, ground brown rice, and oatmeal
  • Flaxseed and Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil for healthy skin and coat
  • Supplemented with Taurine for a healthy heart and vision
  • An optimum ratio of phosphorus and calcium for bone development without being in excess

Best Grain Free Food for Pitbulls

3. Taste of the Wild Wetlands

  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 375 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain-free
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Duck, duck meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas

The Taste of the Wild Wetlands is our recommendation for Pitbulls with grain allergies. It uses real duck as its main ingredient, followed with other protein-rich meats such as roasted quail and turkey. All of them are novel proteins that reduce the likelihood of triggering your Pitbull’s allergies.

This recipe, on a dry matter basis, has 36 percent protein, 20 percent fat, and 40 percent estimated carbs. The high protein content will give your Pitbull all the energy they need to get through the day.

What We Like

  • Safe, hypoallergenic profile
  • Abundant meat content for a well-balanced amino acid profile
  • Full grain-free recipe. No corn, wheat, or barley
  • Includes prebiotics and probiotics for your Pit Bull’s digestive health
  • Contains real vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants for ideal nutrient balance
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for skin and coat nourishment

Best Wet Food for Pitbulls

4. Hill’s Science Diet Wet Dog Food

  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 253 kcal/cup
  • Form: Canned dog food
  • Type: Grain inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken broth, turkey, carrots, pork liver, rice

Consisting of 20 percent dry basis protein, 14 percent fat, and 52 percent estimated carbs, this canned dog food from Hill’s Science can be a great addition to your Pit Bull’s diet if they are very active and get dehydrated quickly. 

Looking at the ingredient label, we can verify that it gets its animal protein from turkey, chicken, and chicken broth, which are an excellent natural sources of animal proteins.

What We Like

  • Made from easy-to-digest natural protein sources to help thwart any potential digestive problems like gas and upset tummy
  • Vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids help to keep your dog’s skin lustrous and itch-free
  • A grain-inclusive recipe without legume concentrates
  • Includes beneficial fruits and vegetables like carrots and spinach
  • Available in three flavor options to keep your dog interested

Best Dog Food for Senior Pit Bulls

5. AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice Recipe

  • Suitable for: Senior dog
  • Caloric content (per kg): 329 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, ground brown rice, ground white rice, rice bran, oatmeal

As your Pitbull age, their metabolism, and energy level decrease, they become more susceptible to various issues, like joint problems, weakened immune systems, and weight gain. To keep them healthy,  they need to consume dog food that is high in protein, high in fiber, low in fat, and promotes joint and digestive health.

We found that The AvoDerm Natural Chicken Meal & Brown Rice is the best for older Pitbulls. It has a dry basis protein content of 22 percent, fat content at 11 percent, and 60 percent estimated carbs.

What We Like

  • Highly digestible for easy nutrient absorption
  • Balanced nutrient formula suitable for senior dogs
  • Added vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for optimum metabolism
  • Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine for added joint support and bone health
  • Includes omega-rich avocados and avocado oil to support healthy skin and regeneration

Best for Pitbulls with Skin Allergies and Sensitive Stomach

6. Purina Pro Plan Salmon and Rice Formula

  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 429 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Salmon, barley, rice, oatmeal, canola meal

The Purina Pro Plan Sensitive Skin and Stomach is our favorite food for dogs with skin allergies and tummy sensitivities. Salmon is the first ingredient, and easy-to-digest whole grain is the second.

This wholesome grain recipe consists of 30 percent protein, 18 percent fat, and 48 percent estimated carbs.

What We Like

  • Features a single source of animal protein from salmon
  • Includes easy to digest carbs like rice and oatmeal to avoid stomach problems
  • Fish oil to promote and maintain joint health and mobility
  • Contains live probiotics for the immune system
  • Enriched with prebiotic to improve digestive system
  • Sunflower oil supplies omega 6 fatty acids and zinc to nourish your dog’s skin and coat

7. Diamond Naturals Chicken and Rice Formula

  • Suitable for: All life stages
  • Caloric content (per kg): 368 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, chicken fat

The Diamond Naturals Chicken and Rice is another great contender for the best Pitbull food list. A quick look at the ingredient list reveals most of its animal protein comes from real cage-free chicken and chicken meal.

According to its dry matter label analysis, this recipe consists of 29 percent protein, 18 percent fat, and 50 percent carbs. It is suitable for dogs from puppies to adults.

What We Like

  • Formulated for all life stages
  • Made with real cage-free chicken for lean muscle support
  • Balanced grain inclusive recipe without corn, wheat, or filler
  • Contains kale, blueberries, and other antioxidants to prevent infections and cell damage
  • Includes prebiotic and soluble and insoluble fibers to support healthy digestion

8. The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey Recipe

  • Suitable for: Adult and senior dogs
  • Caloric content (per kg): 470 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Dehydrated turkey, organic oats, dehydrated potatoes, organic flaxseed, dehydrated carrots

The Honest Kitchen Whole Grain Turkey is packed with high-quality meat proteins, wholesome grains, and a mix of vitamins and minerals to support grown-up and older dogs’ health. It uses turkey as the leading source of protein and organic whole oats for fiber. 

What makes The Honest Kitchen brand interesting is that they use dehydration techniques in their food processing operations. Not only does this kill any pathogenic bacteria that may be present, but it also helps to retain vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients found in the ingredients.

The label’s analysis shows it contains 24 percent protein, 16 percent fat, and 54 percent carbs.

What We Like

  • Offers three flavor options for picky dogs
  • Moderate protein and fat for grown-up and older dogs maintenance
  • Made with human-grade, dehydrated whole food ingredients
  • Includes healthy organic grains like organic oats
  • No BHA, GMO ingredients, or other high-risk preservatives for lower cancer risk

9. Annamaet Ultra 32 Formula Dry Dog Food

  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 480 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, whole dry eggs, herring meal

Using chicken as its principal source of protein, the Annamaet Ultra 32 offers a protein-dense diet that you’d want for Pitbulls with an active lifestyle. Its guaranteed analysis includes no less than 36 percent protein, making it higher than the other dog foods in this list. It also consists of 22 percent fat, and 39 percent carbs.

What We Like

  • High protein and low carb for fuel and muscle building
  • Omega-3 fats from algae for added support joint and to help maintain joint function
  • L-Carnitine for cognitive and lean muscle development
  • Includes DHA to support brain and eyes
  • Chelated minerals for optimal absorption and utilization

10. Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula

  • Suitable for: Adult
  • Caloric content (per kg): 378 kcal/cup
  • Form: Dry dog food
  • Type: Grain inclusive
  • Top 5 Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, brown rice, barley, oatmeal

With its proprietary blend of meat proteins, carbs, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, Blue Buffalo Life Protection makes its way into our list. It extracts most of its meat protein from chicken and chicken meal. Its label analysis reveals the dog food contains 27 percent protein, 16 percent fat, and 52 percent carbs.

What We Like

  • Its mix of high-quality protein and healthy carbohydrates is excellent for maintaining a pitbull’s general physical condition
  • Contains vitamins and antioxidants to help strengthen the immune system
  • Chelated minerals for better absorption rate
  • Includes calcium, phosphorus, and glucosamine for bone and cartilage strength
  • Balanced grain inclusive recipe with no corn or wheat

What To Look For When Picking a Dog Food for Pitbull?

When buying a dog food for Pitbull, you need to take several things into account. The first thing you need to consider is their specific nutritional needs, and the second thing is their health.

Let’s break it down further.

Basic Nutritional Requirements for Pitbulls

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recommends a minimum protein level of 18 percent for adult p dogs and 22 percent for puppies and breastfeeding mothers regardless of the dogs’ size. While for fat content, the agency recommends 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively. 

These are the minimum numbers that you should look for when looking at the dog food’s nutritional information. Don’t risk your dog’s life by feeding them any less than AFFCO recommends nutritionally.

The good news is that nowadays, all the dog foods we found on the market have adhered to AAFCO’s minimum requirements. Still, you will want to check for the AAFCO “complete and balanced” statement on the dog food label just to make sure. This is the quickest and easiest way to ensure you don’t buy a cat in the sack.

These numbers are a good starting point,  but your pit bull may need more protein than the bare minimum. So you should always aim higher than the AAFCO recommendation.

Pitbull Specific Nutritional Needs

Protein

There are many different kinds of breeds that are Pitbulls, such as the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, American Bully, and Staffordshire bull terrier. 

Although they can vary in size, all of them are stocky, muscular, and athletic. This means they also need a diet comprised of high-quality animal protein similar to other active, working breeds. 18 percent is the minimum protein required for dogs to stay healthy, but this number can be increased to 25 percent to 30 percent depending on how active the dogs are.

Just don’t go overboard with this. Consuming too much protein can increase the workload of their kidney and liver, which over the long period could increase the dogs’ risk of getting kidney disease. In most cases, 25 percent protein is sufficient for most grown-up Pitties.

The food should have enough protein and be made from prime natural ingredients like chicken, beef, lamb, and fish. Stay away from products that list unknown meat sources or byproducts like “meat meal” or “animal meal.”

Fats

Aside from a high protein diet, dogs also need healthy fats. Fats are another critical component of a balanced dog diet since they are used by your dog’s body to store energy while giving the food a desirable taste and texture.  

The right kind of fats can actually be beneficial for your dogs. Natural fats and fatty acids found in ingredients like fish oil or flaxseed oil can help keep your Pitbull’s skin well-nourished and moisturized.

Carbs

Carbs provide your dog with the necessary energy they need to support activity and metabolism. However, too many carbs can lead to weight gain. This is why you should figure out the carb content of your dog’s food before purchasing them. Ideally, the carb content should be low to moderate.

As with proteins and fats, there are many sources of carbs, and not all of them are created equal. Whole grains and sweet potatoes are the best natural carbohydrates sources because they provide energy, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

Avoid foods that are made up of cheap grain and filler like wheat, corn, or soy as they do nothing than to make the food more filling.

Nutrients

Vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients like vitamins B complex, E, calcium, phosphorus, and iron will supply your dog with all the extras that they need to thrive. For example, antioxidants will help boost immune function while vitamin E helps promote tissue repair and cell renewal.

Most of these nutrients come from fruits and veggies like kale, spinach, carrot, and blueberries. So look for the addition of these when you read the ingredient label.

Ingredients to Avoid

We are sure you’re aware of this. Just as a reminder, the food you’re going to choose should be free of artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

How Much Food Should You Feed Your Pitbull?

Pitbulls are voracious eaters. They will gobble up any food that is dropped on the floor, causing overfeeding and eventually leading to obesity. As their owners, it’s your job to keep this from happening.

As a general rule, you can feed Pitbull puppies up to three times a day, while adults should be fed no more than two times per day.

How Many Calories Should I Feed My Pitbull?

Their calorie intake will be determined by their weight and physical activity. In general, a normal Pitbull will reach between 30 and 70 pounds as an adult. This brings us to an estimated range from 800 to 1800 calories per day.

Pitbull puppies will need to consume somewhere between 815 to 1622 calories a day. Older, less active pitties and those who have been spayed or neutered will have their calorie intake go down to roughly 825 to 950 calories per day.

Should Your Pitbull Eat Dry or Canned Food?

Canned dog foods have more protein, fat,  and water content than kibble, and they are also easier to chew and digest. This is a good choice if your dog needs a high protein diet or extra hydration.

Even so, for most pitties, dry dog foods are a better option as they have a longer shelf life and more affordable. Kibble can also maintain your pit’s dental hygiene and prevent obesity.

Pitbull Health Problems

Pitbull dog breeds are prone to a number of health problems. The first issue that this breed is susceptible to is food allergies. Previously, a grain-free diet used to be a favorite among pit bull owners as this recipe is believed to be able to keep allergies at bay.

However, a grain-free diet has been linked as a possible cause of canine heart problems by the FDA, so unless your dog has been diagnosed with grain allergies or sensitivities, it’s better to stick with a grain inclusive diet.

These allergies can also be triggered by common ingredients like chicken, beef, pork, and lamb in some cases. The solution to this type of food allergies is to pick foods that favor novel ingredients like venison and salmon.

Some signs of food allergies in dogs include:

  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting
  • Soft stools
  • Hair loss
  • Skin problems

Suppose you notice any of the above signs. In that case, you should consult your veterinarian immediately to have a test performed and find out the allergens that are causing the symptoms.

Weight-related problems like hip dysplasia or arthritis are the second most common issue in Pit bulls. This condition is exacerbated if your pit is overweight, which is why you want to keep their weight in check from time to time. 

To aid your pit in their battle against joint problems, you will want to make sure that their food contains enough calcium as this nutrient is necessary to strengthen their skeletal muscle structure and function. Many veterinarians recommend between 1 to 1.5 percent calcium in the dog diet to prevent skeletal abnormalities.

For aging pit bulls or those experiencing joint problems, the inclusion of glucosamine and chondroitin is recommended as these ingredients have been proven to alleviate pain and joint wear.

Wrapping It Up

To recap, the top spot and the best overall food for pit bulls belongs to the Wellness Complete Grained Food. Their balanced nutrient profile keeps your pit’s weight in the right range. Not forget to mention this formula is grain inclusive, so it should put your mind at ease if you’re worried about DCM.

The Wellness Complete Natural Puppy Food is the best overall food for pitbull puppies. Its high protein profile can easily meet growing pitbull puppies’ needs during the first year of life. In addition, this recipe also contains DHA that is good for the puppy’s brain and vision development.

For pit bulls with grain allergies and intolerances, we recommend the Taste of The Wild Wetland. They manage to make this recipe free of allergenic grains as well as common allergenic meats like beef, chicken and lamb.

Pitties who need higher water content in their diet will do well with the Hill’s Science Diet Canned Food. The best approach is to mix canned food and dry food. It’s a great way to keep your muscular pooch hydrated and stimulate their appetite.

Our pick for the best food for senior pit bulls is the AvoDerm Senior Chicken Meal and Brown Rice recipe. It is filled with carefully selected ingredients that can help your dog age gracefully.

And that’s it! Hopefully, if you’ve read all this way, you’ve found the best food to feed your pitbull with.

References