5 Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls 2019 – Building Their Muscle

Do you worry that your current dog food isn’t providing the right nutrients for your beloved pitbull? Like many breed groups, these muscle-bound clowns require specific nutrition to keep them at their best.

If you are looking for a high-quality dog food that will agree with your pitty’s sensitive skin and keep them at a healthy weight, you’re going to want to read on to see our reviews of the best dog foods for pitbulls.

What Kind of Dog Food is Best for Pitbulls?

Did you know that the word “pitbull” is a broad term for multiple different dog breeds including the American pit bull terrier, the Staffordshire bull terrier, and the American Staffordshire terrier? Although these dogs differ in the country of origin and specific physical characteristics, they all have similar nutritional requirements.

As you may know, pitbulls are descended from ancestors who ate meat-based diets with some fibrous plant matter. According to pitbulls.org, the most appropriate food for pitbulls is one that contains high amounts of animal-sourced protein.

Are you looking to help your pitty bulk up? Protein dense food is especially important for bully breeds because it helps them maintain the muscle mass characteristic of the breed group.

If given a diet too low in protein or too high in fat and carbs, they can’t build healthy muscle mass and will likely gain unhealthy weight instead of muscle.

But keep in mind, it is important to pick a dog food that reflects your pitty’s activity level. If you have a very active pitbull, you’ll want to pick a food with high-fat levels in addition to protein.

If, on the other hand, your bully is more of a couch potato, you’ll want to look for a diet food with high protein but less fat.

Because many pitbulls suffer from sensitive skin and stomachs, it is a good idea to find quality food that does not contain filler grains like corn and wheat. You may even consider opting for a grain free food.

How to Tell if Your Pitty is at a Healthy Weight

Have you ever tried to help your pitty gain muscle by simply feeding them more food? Unfortunately, this tactic often leads to a pitty with too much fat and not a lot of muscle.

When trying to help your pitty gain muscle, how many calories you feed is just as important as where those calories come from. Calories from protein will help your bully bulk up without adding excess weight.

So how do you tell if your dog is ripped or just plain fat? Check your dog’s body condition by standing over them.

A healthy pit will have thick musculature around the shoulders and hips while retaining a nice hourglass shape in the midsection. You should be able to see your pitty’s ribs near the tail end of their ribcage.

If you can see the ribs all the way down the ribcage, they may be too lean and might benefit from a higher fat food.

If you want a more detailed overview of how to tell if your dog is overweight, check out this video.

How Food Requirements Vary Between Pitbull Types

Because pitbull is a broad term that covers many breeds, there are some variations in what food will work best for your particular dog.

The American Staffordshire terrier is a large breed dog and would benefit from a large breed dog food. These special diets will help your AmStaff stay trim while supporting bone and joint health.

The Staffordshire bull terrier, on the other hand, is a medium-sized breed and doesn’t require size specific food. Staffy’s will do best on an adult maintenance diet that fits their caloric needs.

The American pit bull and other bully mixes tend to vary greatly in size. It’s a good idea to talk to your vet about your dog’s specific calorie needs based on their size.

How to Select a Quality Food for Your Pitbull

Does your pitty’s current food contain enough protein and quality ingredients to help them thrive? Here’s what to look for in your current food and how to find a new, higher-quality food if needed.

The average dog food has around 20% protein. If your pit is very active or needs to gain muscle mass you will need to look for a food with an amount closer to 30%.

You’ll also want to check the fat content when picking out new food. Most foods will have between 10% and 15% fat. Diet foods will have less than 10%.

If your dog needs to lose weight, look for a diet food. On the other hand, if your dog is very active or struggles to keep weight on, look for one with higher fat levels.

It’s important that you don’t select a food based entirely on the ingredient analyses. You’ll want to check the actual ingredients list as well.

Petmd.com cautions that not all proteins in a food are digestible. If a food lists a lot of plant materials high in the ingredients list, you can assume that much of the protein percentage in the food is not actually available to your dog to use.

Look for quality animal meat as the first ingredient. A food with multiple recognizable animal meats like “chicken meal,” “turkey” or “lamb meal” in the top of the ingredients list is even better.

Your pitty is sure to thank you with a lot of sloppy kisses for going the extra mile to make sure their new food contains quality ingredients.

Reviews of The Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls

#1. ORIJEN Dry Dog Food, Original, Biologically Appropriate & Grain Free

Best Overall

Orijen Biologically Appropriate Grain Free Food
Score: (5/5)

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Super-high animal protein formula with whole-food nutrition for active pitbulls.
Pros

Very high protein

Whole food sourced nutrients

85% animal-sourced ingredients from the USA

Cons

Pricey

Orijen brand dog food is known for its unique, high-quality ingredients and focus on biologically appropriate foods. So if you’re looking for an uber high-quality food to feed your pitty that reflects his ancestral diet, you’ve found it!

Orijen’s original recipe grain free food is not only one of the best foods for pitbulls, but the Orijen brand is one of the best dog food brands for pitbulls.

They offer a range of different recipes from puppy to senior, and all with the same standard for quality, animal-sourced ingredients.

We chose this food as one of the best foods to feed pitbulls because it has a whopping 38% protein. And because almost all of that comes from animal proteins, you can be sure your pitty will be absorbing it well.

It also has a slightly higher than average fat content at 18% and is one of the best dog foods for pitbulls to gain weight on.

This food contains 85% animal sourced ingredients and no grains, making it our choice for the best grain free dog food for pitbulls and the best dog food for pitbulls with skin allergies.

Of course, all this quality does come at a price. This is one of our most expensive foods on the list, but well worth it for the pitbull owner looking to give their dog as close to a natural diet as you can come with kibble.

Customers love this food for its quality and health benefits, as well as for the fact that it is sourced and made in the USA.

#2. Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food

Runner Up

Bully Max High Performance
Score: (5/5)

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High-fat, high-protein food made specifically for working pitbulls.
Pros

Made for bully breeds

High protein, high fat

Quality ingredients

Cons

Pricey

How could you go wrong with a dog food made specifically for your bully’s needs? Bully max was formulated as the perfect diet for pitbulls and other muscle dense breeds.

For this reason, we have not only named this one of the best dry dog foods for pitbulls but also the best dog food for bully breeds in general.

Do you have a pit that competes in weight pulls or other high endurance sports? This is the food for them.

Bully max contains 30% protein and an impressive 20% fat. This food is made for super-athletic dogs or those in need of quick weight gain.

The high-fat content makes this food the best dog food to bulk up pitbulls on our list. And because of their frequent use in weight pull competitions, we’ve also named this the best dog food for blue nose pitbulls.

This food includes quality animal-sourced ingredients and minimal grain additives. It’s high caloric density also makes this one of the best dog foods for pitbull bully puppies.

Like our first choice food, this one comes with a high price tag. But for the serious pitty owner, this food is worth the cost.

#3. Crave Grain Free Adult Dry Dog Food With Protein

Best Adult Formula

Crave Grain Free Adult
Score: (5/5)

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High protein adult dog food with quality ingredients for companion pitbulls.
Pros

High protein

Quality Ingredients

Grain free

Cons

High in potatoes and legumes

Are you looking for a quality maintenance dog food for your companion pitbull that won’t break the bank? Crave’s adult dry dog food is a great choice for you.

This recipe has an even higher protein content than Bully Max but contains less fat, making it one of the best dog foods for pitbulls to gain muscle without as much risk for excess fat gain.

If you’re like most pitbull owners whose dogs go from exuberant ball chaser to happy couch potato without a second thought, this is a great food for you. It has fewer calories than our first two choices which makes it a better option for dogs that get moderate activity.

Like our Orijen and Bully Max, this one contains quality ingredients and lots of meat, including chicken, pork and lamb. This formula is also grain free, making it one of the best dog foods for pitbulls’ sensitive stomachs.

This food is moderately priced and great for owners who want quality but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it.

#4.CANIDAE Grain Free PURE Dry Dog Food

Best for Sensitive Systems

Canidae Grain Free Pure
Score: (4.5/5)

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High protein, limited ingredient diet for pitbulls with sensitive stomachs and skin.
Pros

Limited ingredient diet

Quality ingredients

High protein

Cons

Higher price tag

Does your pitty suffer from allergies or a sensitive stomach? We’ve included this quality food from Canidae just for you!

Canidae’s Pure line was made for dogs with sensitivities. Because this food contains a limited number of ingredients and uses fish as the only animal protein, it is one of the best dog foods for pitbulls with sensitive skin.

The salmon and fish meals in this food will supply your pitty with a high dose of healthy fats to help nurture their skin and coat while packing a hefty dose of protein. In fact, this food contains 32% protein, making it the protein-rich diet your pit craves.

And, because this is an all breed maintenance food, we consider it one of the best dog foods for pitbull terriers and pit mixes.

Like all our choices, this one contains quality ingredients. And, like our number three choice, this formula has the perfect mix of high protein and moderate fat levels for the average companion pitty.

This food carries a higher price tag than Crave but is worth the investment if your pit struggles with allergies.

#5. Merrick Whole Earth Farms Grain Free Dry Dog Food Recipes

Most Affordable

Merrick Whole Earth Farms Grain Free
Score: (4.5/5)

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High quality all life stages food for pitbulls at an affordable price.
Pros

Quality ingredients

Affordable

Multiple flavor options

Cons

Lower protein

Are you looking for a food that will spoil your pitty while providing quality protein without spoiling your budget? We’ve included Merrick’s Whole Earth Farms brand on our list for its high quality and affordable price.

This dog food comes in multiple flavors from chicken and turkey to pork, beef, and lamb. All formulas contain quality meats, high animal protein concentrates and are grain free.

This is one of the best affordable dog foods for pitbulls out there. And, because it contains 26% protein and only 13% fat, this is also a great choice for pitties who are less active or need to lose some weight.

Best of all, this is an all life stages food, making one of the best foods for pitbull puppies.

Are you struggling to find a quality, affordable food for your pit’s sensitive stomach? Because Merrick offers this grain free food in different flavors, you’re sure to find one your pitty can handle even if they have protein allergies.

At less than $2 a pound, this food costs less than any other on this list and earns our pick for best cheap dog food for pitbulls.

What is the Best Dog Food for Pitbulls?

We reviewed a ton of high protein food with quality ingredients looking for the absolute best for your pitbull. What we found was a whole list of amazing foods that your pit will surely love.

But in the end, Orijen’s Biologically Appropriate Grain Free dry food stood out above all others. This food has ingredients that call back to your pitbull’s wolf ancestors while packing a mean punch of optimal fat and protein levels.

Because this power-packed brand focuses on whole food derived nutrition in high amounts, they don’t just get our pick for the best dog food for pitbulls, but Orijen also has a formula on our list of the best puppy foods for pitbulls.

This food is a great choice for every stage of your pitty’s life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I switch my pitbull onto a new food?

Anytime you switch your dog to a new brand of food, it is important to do so slowly. Start with a mix of 25% new food and 75% old food and slowly increase the ratio over the course of a week until it is all new food.

If your pitbull has a sensitive stomach, you will want to introduce the food more slowly. Start with about 10% new food and increase the ratio over the course of 15 to 30 days.

How much food should I feed my pitbull?

Because the different pitbull breeds differ so much in size, there is no one right answer to this question. The food you choose should have serving suggestions on the package that you can reference.

Do keep in mind that these serving sizes are for intact, active dogs. If your dog is neutered and gets moderate to low exercise, you should feed less than directed. Start with 75% the recommended amount and lower or raise it as needed over the next few weeks to keep your dog at their optimal weight.

Is it ok to free feed my pitbull?

Because pitbulls tend to eat slowly, many owners often resort to free feeding or letting their dogs graze on a full bowl of food throughout the day. This practice is not recommended by vets for a number of reasons.

First, most free-fed dogs end up overweight because they are offered more food than they need throughout the day. More importantly, pits and other large breed dogs are at risk for bloat and should not eat right before exercise or play. It is best to offer your pit two, measured meals per day. If they don’t finish the bowl, pick it up after ten minutes and offer it to them later.

My pitbull won’t eat his new food. Does that mean I need to try something else?

Unlike labradors who often woof their food down in a few gulps, many pitbulls are picky eaters and seem to prefer playing to dining. If your pit doesn’t take to their new food right away, that doesn’t mean you need to toss the bag and try something else.

You may need to entice your pit to eat the new food at first. Try adding water, broth or some canned food to the dry kibble to pique your dog’s interest.

Most pits will start taking the food more easily after they become accustomed to it.

Summed Up: The Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls

 Orijen Biologically Appropriate Grain Free FoodBully Max High PerformanceCrave Grain Free AdultCanidae Grain Free PureMerrick Whole Earth Farms Grain Free
Features for PitbullsHigh protein, biologically appropriate, 85% animal-sourced ingredientsHigh protein and high fat for working pits, quality ingredientsHigh protein, moderate fat for companion pits, quality ingredientsHigh protein, healthy fats, sensitive systems friendlyOptimal protein and fat for companion and overweight pits
Ingredient Quality5/55/54.5/54.5/54.5/5
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Sources

  1. Various. “Pitbull Puppy Nutrition.” pitbulls.org.
  2. Melody Schamble. “Getting the Overweight Dog in Shape.” akc.org, 14 January 2019.
  3. Various. “Pitbull Specific Nutrition.” pitbulls.org.
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