There is a fine line between overfeeding and underfeeding a puppy. There is no exact science either, as various formulas for puppies and the puppy’s size will impact how much food it needs. A pitbull puppy feeding chart is a helpful tool, but there are many other factors to consider.
We’ll cover how much to feed your pitbull puppy, what to feed it, and how frequently among many other important considerations when you bring your young puppy home.
What Does a Pitbull Puppy Need?
Like all other breeds, a pitbull puppy needs high-quality puppy food to grow big and strong. Pitbull pups are a large and muscular breed, which means they require high-quality protein, about 35 to 40%. Too much protein could be difficult for your pitbull puppy to digest, so try to limit their protein intake to within that percentage.
To grow into a healthy adult dog, your pitbull puppy also needs some good fats, but you also want to avoid a high fat intake because weight gain can lead to skeletal issues.
Your best bet is to find puppy food with anywhere between 14 to 17% fat from healthy sources. Fish oil, which contains omega fatty acids, is a great example of a healthy fat source.
We then move on to the amount of calcium there should be in good puppy food. Puppies don’t need too much, just around 1 to 1.5% should be enough.
As we said, there are many factors that influence what your pitbull puppy will need in his diet. Pitbulls range in size, and the breed, in general, will have differing needs from another. Pitbulls are generally considered large dogs, and they can get up to 80 pounds or so.
If you have a larger pittie, you can opt for a large breed puppy food that will have a nutritional profile to meet its needs.
More importantly, look for a label on the dog food that states the recipe” is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for _____. ” The blank should be filled in with whatever life stage or breed type your dog is.
Another very important factor to look for in any commercial dog food is to look for ones that are crafted with top-quality ingredients. Unfortunately, where the ingredients come from is something to be discriminated against.
Pitbull puppy food formulated with as much meat as the first ingredients that are carefully labeled have a balanced profile with macro and micro-nutrients, and no fillers, artificial additives, and preservatives.
How Much to Feed a Pitbull Puppy
How much puppy food to feed your pitbull puppy will depend on a variety of factors. Not every pitbull puppy is the same, and the amount you feed is impacted by what we outlined below.
Factors to Consider
The age of your pitbull puppy is your first consideration. For obvious reasons, a 3-month old pitbull pup will not require the same amount of food as a pitbull puppy that’s 6 months old.
While we’re on the topic of age, you also have to remember to switch out your puppy food to adult dog food when the time comes. This time is usually when your pitbull puppy reaches his full size/maturity.
For most dogs, it is around 1-year of age, but toys and some large and giant breeds may take up to 1.5 years to reach their full size. Switch out the puppy food to the adult food slowly, but make sure you do it soon in order to help your pup transition well into adulthood.
The activity level of your pitbull puppy is another consideration. All puppies, including pitbull puppies, are very high energy and active. They are rambunctious and adorable little animals, which makes sense why puppy food is much more nutrient-dense compared to adult dog food.
However, some pitbull puppies may get a lot of exercises, especially if they live on an acreage or a larger property with a spacious yard. Then there are other active pups that may not run around as much. Those who live in apartments are a great example of this. Maybe their only form of exercise is a long walk around the neighborhood.
Pitbull puppies that are more active will require more food compared to pitbull pup that prefers to laze around with their dog owners all day.
As we said, dog food needs to be replaced at every stage of your dog’s life. For males, the dog life stages are puppy, adult, and senior. For females, the life stages are a bit more complicated, especially if they become mothers.
For female pitbulls, the stages are puppy, adult, pregnancy, nursing, and senior. Every life stage will require a different nutritional profile.
The most important thing to do for your new pitbull puppy is to make sure it has a healthy diet at every life stage. Denying him or her the proper foods needed at a specific interval in their life may result in weight gain due to a very rich formula that your dog may not need, or weight loss if they aren’t fed enough.
Size and Weight
The body weight and size will also have a hand in how much you feed a pitbull puppy. There are pitbulls that cross that weight line into being a large breed. The heavier and larger pitbull puppies will need more food.
Female pitbull puppies are also generally smaller than males, so that will automatically mean females are likely to eat less. Again, remember that these are generalizations and it’s best to consider your dog’s unique needs first.
Puppy Feeding Chart Guide
How much should a pitbull puppy eat? To help you figure out just how much puppy food is right for your pitbull puppy, we have outlined a simple guideline.
Puppies need to feed frequently, so a very young pitbull puppy at about 3 months old should be eating 4 to 6 meals a day totaling about 1.5 cups of food. As your dog grows, to about 6 months old, you should decrease the number of feedings to around 3 times totaling around 2 cups of food per day.
As your dog gets to adulthood and is full size. you will have a better grasp of how much to feed him. Most adult dogs eat around 2 to 3 cups of food split into two feeding sessions.
What to Feed a Pitbull Puppy
Aside from how much to feed a pitbull puppy, dog parents also need to know what to feed their pups. There are 4 basic types of diets to feed a pitbull pup, and which one you choose is ultimately your own decision.
Dog kibble, or regular dry dog food is the most common type of diet for many reasons. First of all, it’s the most accessible, the most convenient, keeps the longest, is generally the more affordable option (high-end formulas could still be very pricey), has a variety of uses, and comes in various flavors.
Every commercial brand of dog food will make dry kibble. The food is cooked in a way that will last. All you need to do is store the dog food in a dry and cool place and each bag can keep for a long time, even after opening.
However, we recommend consuming a full pack of dog food within a month just to be safe. The little kibble pieces can be used as treats as well if you pick a different brand.
During training, you can reward your pitbull puppy with a different kibble, which is less fattening and holds more nutrition than treats. Not only is dry dog food easy to keep, but it is also easy to take with you on the go.
Plus, there are many different flavors to choose from so it won’t be too difficult to find a pitbull puppy diet your dog will like.
There are even formulas that infuse raw bites in with the dry kibble to add texture and flavor to entice your pitbull puppies even more.
If you do decide to go with kibble, make sure you pick a food mixture that’s right for your dog. Regular or large breed formulas created from the best ingredients will be easier to digest for young puppies. High-quality dog food is also nutrient-dense, so you may not need to feed as much for your puppy to feel full.
There are also special recipes for puppies with a sensitive stomach, ones with an allergy to grain, ones to help with gaining weight, and ones for weight loss. Try to avoid corn, soy, wheat, and artificial additives, flavors, and preservatives. These ingredients will do nothing for your puppy’s stomach and not contribute anything whatsoever to a proper diet.
As we also mentioned, looking for formulas that meet or exceed those outlined by the American Feed Control Officials is also a very safe bet. One other very notable benefit of feeding your pitbull puppies dry food is the dental hygiene properties.
Dry kibble is hard, and the rough surfaces will actually scrape the top of your dog’s teeth to prevent and get rid of plaque and tartar buildup.
Wet food, or canned dog food, is great on its own or as a mixer added on top of dry puppy food in order to make it more irresistible in terms of taste. You will need a lot more wet food compared to kibble to keep your pitbull pup full because it is about 75% water.
As you can imagine, wet food doesn’t keep as well as dry solid food, and it requires refrigeration after opening. The shelf life is typically just a few days.
It’s no surprise that dry dog food beats out wet food when it comes to teeth cleaning. In fact, wet food can leave stains very easily, so make sure that you clean your pitbull pup’s teeth every day or at least every other day.
Wet food is mostly water, so feeding your pitbull puppies on a solely wet diet could result in loose stools, so we really recommend feeding it together with kibble.
One other way to make sure your dog won’t experience wet stools is to read the label. You should feed your pitbull puppy a complete diet rather than a complementary one. All in all, wet food is an excellent choice for picky eaters if dog owners want to spruce up the meal.
They also come in many flavors so you have the option to switch the taste quickly if your dog doesn’t like it.
The BARF diet, an acronym for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods is centered on the concept that dogs only need to eat what their ancestors ate. Dog owners who follow this logic will feed their dogs raw food. The ingredients in this diet include raw meat, cartilage, bones, veggies, and fruits to balance it out.
It’s a very controversial diet with supporters on both sides of the argument. Supporters claim their dogs are more energetic, get sick less often, and have shiny coats. All of which supporters against this diet also claim their dogs can have without eating raw food.
It is their belief that dogs have evolved since their ancestors and have different nutritional requirements today.
Expert vets, breeders, and many dog owners are still very divided on the subject. As of now, there are no conclusive reports to support either side.
If you do want to feed your pitbull puppy a raw diet, make sure you are only getting the best. Otherwise, your pooch could be at risk for contracting bacteria such as Salmonella and E. Coli. Look for a raw diet that meets AACFO requirements.
Before trying out a raw diet we highly suggest consulting with your vet first before making a commitment, because not every dog is suited for this diet. Those with a sensitive stomach may thrive or feel sick on a raw diet.
It’s also a bit harder to create a balanced diet with BARF because it’s more than just feeding meats, veggies, and fruits, it’s also making sure you’re not feeding the wrong type and in the wrong amounts. It’s also more difficult for dog owners to determine just how much micro-nutrients are in the formula to aid in your dog’s steady growth.
The last type of diet you can choose for pitbull breeds is the fresh or homemade diet. This is a new trend to hit the stage and there are also two schools of thought. The first one consists of dog parents who believe fresh food is more beneficial.
Why? Because it’s fresh, of course! There is very little processing if you pick organic ingredients and it goes from the kitchen to your pitbull puppy bowl directly.
However, there is no debate that this is an expensive endeavor because it’s almost like you’re feeding one extra mouth in the house every time you grocery shop. You can’t have a balanced pitbull puppy diet on just one ingredient, so you would have to make sure to pick up food from all food groups to make sure your very young puppies get the best to thrive.
Similar to a BARF diet, getting the right ratios is extremely difficult. If this is a task you plan on taking on yourself, then we highly recommend working with a nutrition expert to formulate the right recipe.
If this all sounds like too much work, we have one other piece of advice that could solve all your problems – go for a subscription plan!
There are already companies out there that specialize in the tough part of feeding your dog a home-cooked diet – the formulation and cooking.
These companies take care of everything for you, from the sourcing to the formulating, and the cooking and even packaging and delivery. The food will be delivered to your doorstep fresh and ready to serve.
The storage is not difficult, all you need to do is put the leftovers in the fridge when you’re done – much like how we store our food. Every recipe is different for every dog, so the company takes a great deal of care to make sure they are creating something your dog will not only like, but something that will help your pitbull puppy grow into strong and healthy adults.
The first step is to go on a subscription
If your dog doesn’t like the flavor, you can always ask to try another. You can make a recurring order that ships out your dog’s food right to your door for the entire month, or one-time purchases. It’s all very easy to do and won’t require you to step into the kitchen and cook.
Pitbull Puppy Feeding Tips
Now that you know how much and what to feed your pitbull puppy, we have some extra tips that will help you create a better feeding schedule, help your puppy adjust to different foods, and ensure steady growth.
We mentioned this before but we will do it again. You must switch your puppy to adult food when the time is right. Aside from that, you may also find yourself needing to switch dog food or dog food brands if you find out that the one you’re on doesn’t benefit your dog. For whatever reason you’re switching, make sure to do it slowly and gradually.
Don’t cut one dog food off cold turkey and feed your pitbull puppy the new food the next day without a transition period. This could lead to upset stomachs and loose stools. The right way to do it is to mix bits of the new food with the old. Start with just adding maybe 1/4 of the new food with 3/4 of old food and gradually increase the amount of new food and decrease the old.
It should take around 3 to 5 days to completely change to the new food.
Changing Diets at Life Stages
As we talked about above, the life stages are important in a dog’s life. Going from puppy food to adult food is a given, but there are also special requirement foods for some dogs. Large breeds may need added glucosamine and chondroitin recipes for joint protection, and nursing and pregnant moms may go back to puppy food for the higher nutritional profile.
Senior dogs will need a senior dog food that has different ratios compared to regular adult food. Small breeds need specific kibble that has smaller pieces more suited for their mouths and the same goes for large breeds who need larger kibble pieces.
All of these requirements are a bit tough to grasp for the raw diet, so we’re taking this opportunity to remind our readers once more to consult with a vet if they decide to go with a diet of raw meats.
Don’t Forget about Treats
When we say don’t forget about treats, we mean don’t forget to account for the calories they add to your dog’s diet. If today is a training day and you know your dog will get a ton of positive reinforcement in the form of treats, it’s okay to decrease the amount of food you feed your pitbull puppy just for today.
Many people forget to account for the extra treats, which leads to their dogs gaining weight despite eating a very healthy diet.
Then there is the question of free feeding. Free feeding or grazing is where dog parents leave the dog’s entire day’s portion of food out for their dog to eat whenever he feels like it. This doesn’t instill the scarcity concept in dogs, but it also decreases the chances of resource and food guarding. Food guarding can get quite aggressive, so free feeding can be good for that.
Free feeding isn’t great when you’re potty training, because having a consistent feeding schedule is the key. Free feeding is great for owners who don’t have a consistent schedule where they can be home to feed their pitbull puppy at the same time each day.
However, some dogs don’t know when to stop eating, so you may also end up overfeeding your dog, which can be a problem with regular meal feeding as well.
As said, free feeding may make your pitbull puppy less food motivated because they don’t really have to wait for it, the food is always available. Keep in mind that your puppy may not abide by all these pros or cons, so go with whatever works best for you.
There are also downsides to meal feeding such as portion control, and it’s a much better way if you have more than one dog. It’s easier to monitor just how much your dog is eating so you can get a clear heads up if something is wrong. If you have two dogs you free feed, then it’s very likely that one will eat more than the other, which could leave one malnourished.
Meals can be used as a reward, which makes training easier as well. As we always say in every one of our training tips articles, dogs thrive on consistency, and this includes your pitbull puppy. Set meal times will help your new puppy adjust to his new home and take better to training.
There is no answer for exactly how much to feed your pitbull pup. In reality, dog parents must consider a variety of factors including the age, life stage, activity level, and size of their dogs. No matter what type of diet you decide to feed, make sure it is high quality, a balanced diet, meets AAFCO nutrient profiles, and is something your dog loves.