Some people will never understand how amazing Pitbulls can be as family pets. You love your Pitbull like a member of your family, though, and you want to feed them the best food you can. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best dog food for Pitbulls, along with some helpful information about their nutritional requirements to help you select the best one for your pup and your wallet.
Out Top Picks for Pitbulls
- 3Nulo Adult Grain Free Dog Food
- 4Bully Max Super Premium Dog Food
- 5Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Nutrient Dense Dry Dog Food
- 6Natural Balance LID Limited Ingredient Diets
- 7Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Dry Dog Food
- 8Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry
- 9ORIJEN High-Protein, Grain-Free, Dry Dog Food
- 10Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete High Protein Dry Dog Food
Ingredients to Look for in Pitbull Food
There are some ingredients you always want to find in your dog’s diet to ensure that it’s high-quality.
A high-quality animal protein should always be the first ingredient rather than a grain. While dogs aren’t strict carnivores like cats, they still need a meat-rich diet that’s high in protein. Whole meat is the best first ingredient, and meat meal is acceptable (as long as the specific animal it comes from is named). However, you should avoid animal by-products, as they are non-nutritious filler ingredients.
Fat isn’t the enemy that many people think it is. In fact, dogs need healthy fats in their diet to get certain nutrients. Fish, fish oils, and flaxseed are the best natural fats, although chicken fat is acceptable.
Quality Carbohydrates and Other Nutrients
Dogs don’t necessarily require carbohydrates in their food. However, carbs are necessary to bind kibble together. The carbs in your Pitbull’s food should come from whole grains or vegetables rather than things like corn or grain by-products.
Quality dog foods should also contain amino acids, fatty acids, and glucosamine and chondroitin, which are crucial for joint health.
Ingredients to Avoid
Just as there are certain ingredients you do want to see in your Pittie’s food, there are some ingredients that indicate a low-quality food that isn’t as nutritious for your dog.
Animal by-products are what’s left of a carcass after all the pieces that humans will eat are removed. They can include things like hooves, beaks, and feathers. Those are all made primarily from keratin, the same thing that makes your hair and fingernails. As you can imagine, it has no nutritional value and is added to some dog food as a cheap filler ingredient that can bump up the protein values without adding any actual nutrition.
Corn or Wheat
Corn and wheat are two of the most common dog food allergens. They also don’t provide much nutritional value, especially corn. It’s another cheap filler used to bulk up some dog foods. You don’t have to choose grain-free dog food to avoid corn and wheat – look for diets that include rice or barley instead.
Artificial Ingredients and Additives
Why is some dog food colorful? Your dog doesn’t care what color his food is. Artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives don’t benefit your dog and may cause health problems. Artificial ingredients are another sign of a low-quality food.
Best Dog Food for Pitbulls
1. Blue Buffalo Wilderness Denali Dinner High Protein Grain Free, Natural Dry Dog Food
For a high-protein, grain-free food high in fatty acids, check out Blue Buffalo Wilderness Denali Dinner with Wild Salmon, Venison, and Halibut. It also contains LifeSource Bits, which help support a healthy oxidative balance and immune system health.
First 5 Ingredients: Deboned wild salmon (source of DHA and ARA), menhaden fish meal (source of omega-3 fatty acids), tapioca starch, peas, pea protein
Customer Reviews: The few complaints vary from sick dogs to those who didn’t like the taste to shipping complaints. Most dogs, though, love this food and are thriving on it.
Our Take: This is a great choice of grain-free food for your Pitbull. As long as they like the taste and it agrees with their system, they are likely to do well on it.
2. Taste of the Wild Roasted Fowl High Protein Dry Dog Food
Go with a company that’s been a top grain-free dog food brand for many years. Taste of the Wild Roasted Fowl with Real Duck is a top choice for Pitbulls thanks to its high levels of protein and added probiotics for digestibility. Fruits and vegetables are also included as a natural source of nutrients for your pup.
First 5 Ingredients: Duck, duck meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas
Customer Reviews: Like any food, some dogs fell ill or didn’t like the taste of this food. There also seem to be some quality control issues between batches. However, most dogs enjoy this food and are doing really well on it.
Our Take: We love that this formula is offered in both grain-free and grain-inclusive varieties. Overall, the quality ingredients make this food a good choice for most Pitbulls.
3. Nulo Adult Grain Free Dog Food: All Natural Dry Pet Food for Large and Small Breed Dogs
If your Pitbull is prone to food allergies, they may do well on Nulo Grain-Free All Natural for Large and Small Breed Adult Dogs. It doesn’t include many of the most common food allergens, including chicken, egg, corn, soy, or wheat gluten. It also contains a probiotic for digestibility.
First 5 Ingredients: Lamb, turkey meal, salmon meal, yellow peas, chickpeas
Customer Reviews: The most common complaint is dogs that suffered from intestinal issues ranging from gas to diarrhea. However, there are also some complaints about quality control and pups not liking the food. All in all, most dogs thrive on this food, even those with diabetes, sensitive stomachs, or allergies.
Our Take: This is an excellent grain-free recipe that many Pitbulls will enjoy and thrive on.
4. Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food
For a grain-inclusive high-calorie food, look no farther than Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food. Since it has 535 calories per cup of food, you can feed your dog less. Bully Max is made in American and has never been recalled.
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), dried plain beet pulp, ground grain sorghum
Customer Reviews: There are a fair number of reports of dogs getting sick after eating this food, along with some quality control issues. Most dogs, including many Pitbulls, have no problems with this food, though.
Our Take: The ingredients are just average, but it’s hard to beat the high calorie content. If your Pittie has a hard time maintaining weight, this dog food may help.
5. Rachael Ray Nutrish PEAK Nutrient Dense Dry Dog Food, Grain Free
Are you looking for a grain-free food that won’t break the bank? Look into Rachael Ray Nutrish Peak Nutrient Dense Dry Dog Food. It’s made in America with real beef as the first ingredient. It has no added gluten, grain, fillers, or artificial ingredients.
First 5 Ingredients: Beef, chicken meal, dried peas, whole dried potatoes, pea flour
Customer Reviews: Like any food, there are complaints about dogs not liking it or getting sick or gassy after eating it. However, most dogs enjoy it and seem to be doing well.
Our Take: This is an excellent budget-friendly grain-free food your Pitbull is likely to do well on.
6. Natural Balance LID Limited Ingredient Diets Large Breed Bites Dry Dog Food with Grains
Many limited ingredient diets are grain-free. If you want one that’s grain-inclusive, take a look at Natural Balance LID Limited Ingredient Diets Large Breed Bites with Grains. This kibble is large enough to encourage dogs to chew it rather than gulping their food without chewing it first.
First 5 Ingredients: Lamb meal, brown rice, brewers rice, rice bran, canola oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols and lactic acid)
Customer Reviews: A lot of the complaints are about a recent formula change that caused dogs to become ill when they had been fine on the food previously. Otherwise, most dogs love and do well on this food.
Our Take: Your Pitbull is likely to do well on this dog food as long as they aren’t allergic to grains or lamb.
7. Merrick Backcountry Grain Free Raw Infused Dry Dog Food
For picky dogs that love the taste of real meat, try Merrick Backcountry Grain-Free Raw-Infused Dry Food. It includes freeze-dried pieces of real poultry as well as leading levels of glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy joints.
First 5 Ingredients: Deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes
Customer Reviews: Some people reported receiving “counterfeit” food when ordering online compared to in the store, while others suspected a bad batch. Either way, most of the complaints are from dogs who had previously done well on this food. Apart from that, customers are thrilled with this food as their dogs love it and are thriving.
Our Take: As long as you don’t get a bad bag, this is an excellent food for Pitbulls.
8. Wellness Complete Health Natural Dry Large Breed Dog Food
Grain-inclusive dog foods often lean heavily on the grains to bulk up the food. That’s not the case with Wellness Complete Health Natural Large Breed Chicken and Rice. The first three ingredients are all meat-based. The fourth ingredient is oatmeal, but it’s followed by a vegetable (ground peas).
First 5 Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned whitefish, chicken meal, oatmeal, ground peas
Customer Reviews: As with any food, some dogs got ill or didn’t like this food. However, most dogs do well on it and enjoy the taste.
Our Take: This is one of the best grain-inclusive dog foods on the market right now for Pitbulls.
9. ORIJEN High-Protein, Grain-Free, Dry Dog Food
Some of the highest-quality ingredients available are found in Orijen High-Protein Grain-Free Premium Food. It includes several quality whole meats as well as organs, bones, and cartilage for natural ingredients your dog would eat in the wild.
First 5 Ingredients: Deboned chicken, deboned turkey, yellowtail ﬂounder, whole eggs, whole Atlantic mackerel
Customer Reviews: There seem to be quite a few quality control issues lately, especially since the food manufacturing was moved from Canada to the United States. Other common complaints were about the premium price tag. Most people are willing to pay the premium price, though, for a food they say is high-quality that their dog loves and thrives on.
Our Take: This premium dog food comes with a premium price tag. As long as you don’t get a bad bag, it’s well worth the price tag if you want to feed your Pitbull high-quality ingredients.
10. Diamond Naturals Extreme Athlete High Protein Dry Dog Food
If your Pittie has tons of energy, you might want to check out Diamond Natural Extreme Athlete Real Meat Recipe High Protein Diet with Real Cage-Free Chicken. It’s made with an optimal amino acid profile for strong muscles and includes cage-free chicken.
First 5 Ingredients: Chicken meal, chicken, ground white rice, chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols), cracked pearled barley
Customer Reviews: The most common complaints are about intestinal issues ranging from gas to constipation to diarrhea. Most dogs love it, though, and even highly active dogs gained or maintained weight on this food.
Our Take: There’s a chance your Pitbull’s digestive tract won’t agree with this grain-inclusive dog food, but it’s more likely they will enjoy it and build or maintain their muscle mass.
Dog Food for Pitbulls Buying Guide
Here’s more information about feeding your Pitbull and finding the right diet to maintain your dog’s health and happiness.
How Much Should I Feed My Pitbull?
Every food has a different calorie amount per cup of dog food, so you always want to check the back of the back for the feeding guide. They usually offer a range of feeding amounts per dog size. Keep in mind that Pitbull puppies, active dogs, and nursing bitches need more calories than lazy, neutered, or senior dogs.
If you have a Pitbull puppy, know that they need to eat four times a day when you first bring them home. You can cut down to three meals per day when they reach four months old, then twice a day once they reach six months old. You should continue to feed your adult Pitbull twice a day.
When in doubt, ask your vet how many calories per day your dog should be eating.
What Kind of Diet Is Best for a Pitbull?
Pitbulls are an active breed that has a lot of muscle mass, assuming they get enough exercise. To maintain that muscle, Pitties need high protein content (at least 30%), moderate fat (at least 15%), and low carbs (ideally no more than 40%).
If your Pitbull is more of a lapdog than a jogging buddy, look for food that’s a little lower in protein and fat.
There is a lot of debate about grain-free dog foods. We’ll talk more about the pros and cons a little later.
Pitbulls and Food Allergies
Sadly, Pitbulls are a breed that is especially prone to food and environmental allergies. Many Pitbulls struggle with itchy skin, hot spots, ear infections, digestive system, or skin issues.
The most common food allergens include corn, wheat, chicken, beef, dairy, soy, and eggs. If your Pittie is showing allergy symptoms, you might try a limited ingredient diet with a single protein source that doesn’t contain any of the common allergens. It may take some time for your dog’s symptoms to disappear. If they do, you can start reintroducing ingredients slowly to see what triggers their allergies.
Wet Foods Vs. Dry Foods for Pitbulls
Most people choose to feed their dogs dry food, at least as a base diet, and that’s a perfectly acceptable option for Pitbulls. Canned food makes a nice supplement, treat, or birthday surprise.
Wet dog food can be cost-prohibitive to feed as the only option, especially for a large dog breed like the Pitbull. Still, if you want your Pittie to get more moisture in their diet, or if they have a lot of dental options, you might choose to feed only wet food.
If you do, make sure the food says it offers “complete and balanced nutrition.” Some canned foods are only designed to supplement other foods and don’t have all the vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain your Pitbull’s health.
Grain-Free Vs. Grain-Inclusive Food for Pitbulls
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement that they had found a connection between grain-free dog foods (especially those high in lentils, peas, and other legumes) and a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
They haven’t proven if or how grain-free foods cause DCM in dog breeds that aren’t usually prone to the condition, although they suspect that legumes may reduce the amount of available taurine, an essential nutrient for dogs. Therefore, grain-free diets with supplemental taurine or a limited amount of legumes may be safe.
In any case, there are only a few hundred reported cases of DCM linked to dog food, and millions of dogs eat grain-free food without any problems.
If you have any questions about whether or not to feed your Pitbull grain-free dog foods, you should talk to your vet. Some vets advise against it, while others still recommend it. This article should not take the place of a conversation with your vet.
Common Health Problems in Pitbulls
As with any breed, Pitbulls are more prone to certain conditions than others. Many of those conditions can be prevented or lessened with certain food ingredients or feeding practices.