If you’re a Pitbull owner, feeding your furry friend a well-balanced and nutritious diet is important for their overall health, well-being, and the muscular stature they are known for. So, how much should you feed your Pitbull?
The amount of food a Pitbull should eat is primarily determined by age. For Pitbull puppies, they can be given ¾ to 3 ½ cups of puppy food per day, while adults typically require 1 ¾ to 3 ¾ cups of adult dog food daily. Senior Pitbulls, on the other hand, may need around 1 ½ to 3 cups of senior dog food per day.
In this Pitbull feeding guide, we’ll discuss the dietary needs and best practices for feeding your Pitbull. This article will provide you with the ideal feeding plan, including proper feeding frequency, feeding schedule, and more.
What Factors Impact How Much to Feed a Pitbull?
As a rule of thumb, considering the age, weight, and activity level is the first step in tailoring a feeding regimen for your Pitbull.
By knowing the ideal ratio between these aspects and your Pitbull’s suggested food intake, you can maintain its weight, among many other benefits.
Here are the key factors that impact how much a Pitbull is fed:
- Age: Pitbulls are ideally fed with wet or dry food appropriate for their age. Regarding food portions, Pitbull puppies need to eat more for their growth and development. Meanwhile, the amount gets reduced once they reach adulthood. Seniors, on the other hand, will have to eat in lesser volumes.
- Weight: Young puppies bearing a healthy weight are at less risk of developing joint issues, heart disease, and more. Changing your Pitbull’s diet is necessary if it is not in its ideal body condition. With the assistance of your veterinarian, a weight reduction or weight gain plan can be made to help your dog get back to its ideal mass.
- Activity Levels: A Pitbull is a highly energetic dog that requires a calorie-dense diet. This can provide great energy to support its active lifestyle while stabilizing its body weight. Conversely, adjustments to its daily caloric intake should be made if your Pitbull lives a sedentary life.
Meanwhile, physiological changes to a Pitbull’s body may also require dietary changes, such as pregnancy in female Pitbulls.
Ask your vet regarding the suggested amount of dog food your Pitbull should eat daily. They can come up with a suitable, healthy diet for your dog based on their assessment of its health and nutritional needs.
How Much to Feed Your Pitbull
Your Pitbull’s age mainly determines how much and what formula it needs. This explains why manufactured kibbles are labeled for the different life stages of dogs.
A noticeable difference in the suggested servings on the label can also be observed among these commercial dog foods. That said, considering your Pitbull’s age will help you learn how much its food portions should be.
The following sections will show how much Pitbulls should eat daily in their varying life stages.
Pitbull Puppy Feeding Chart (2 months to 12 months)
A newborn puppy Pitbull only relies on its mother’s milk during its first few weeks. You must let it drink breastmilk, which contains colostrum, for at least eight weeks since this contains all its nutritional needs.
When it reaches three to four weeks old, weaning your Pitbull puppy may begin. To get it accustomed, continue feeding it with 90% of the mother’s milk and 10% new puppy food, preferably wet food.
You can gradually increase the amount of high-quality puppy food and lower the milk intake.
Meanwhile, refer to the table below so you’d have an idea of how many cups of medium or large-breed puppy food a Pitbull pup needs to eat daily:
|Age||Daily Feeding Amount|
|2 – 3 months||¾ – 2 ½||388 – 1,099|
|4 – 5 months||1 – 2 ¼||435 – 933|
|6 – 9 months||1 ¼ – 3 ¼||590 – 1,455|
|10 – 12 months||2 – 3 ½||865 – 1,565|
Take note that the Pitbull puppy diet should contain around 22 to 32% of animal protein for normal body function and muscle development.
Aside from high-quality protein, appropriate amounts of chicken fat or fish oil and other nutrients are just as important. Make sure you don’t add in too much calcium, too, to avoid hypercalcemia.
It’s no longer necessary to give supplements to your Pitbull pup if it already has a balanced diet.
Adult Pitbull Feeding Chart (1 to 7 years)
When the Pitbull surpasses its puppy stage, its diet should transition to a commercial dog food formula, preferably medium or large-breed adult food.
For Pitbull owners who want to avoid commercial food for their adult dogs, the biologically appropriate raw food or BARF diet is another option.
Here’s a video showing a Pitbull being fed raw meat:
However, a high protein raw diet has potential risks, such as nutrient deficiency, if the raw meats lack certain components.
That said, a homemade diet designed by a certified pet nutritionist may be preferred by some who are meticulous about what their adult dogs eat.
You can base your Pitbull’s diet on the guidelines established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
However, a home-cooked diet or raw feeding requires too much preparation. If commercial dog foods sound more convenient for you, ensure they’re high-quality and complete in nutrition.
Refer to the feeding chart below to learn how many cups of food adult Pitbulls need to consume on a daily basis:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|1 – 7 years||1 ¾ – 3 ¾||692 – 1,498|
Notice the volume reduction in how much Pitbull breeds eat when they become adult Pitbulls.
Their calorie intake is also cut down since they no longer burn ridiculous amounts of calories compared to when they were Pitbull puppies.
At this stage, you must not also give too much protein and fat since your Pitbull’s metabolism changes as it ages. High-protein diets can lead to weight gain, so keep everything in moderation.
Meanwhile, consider using vet-prescribed supplements, such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, for healthy skin and coat.
Senior Pitbull Feeding Chart (8 years and above)
A change in your Pitbull’s behavior can be observed once it becomes a senior dog. Generally, it will no longer be as active as it was during its younger years and would prefer laying on its dog bed all day.
Check out the chart below to find out how many cups of food a senior Pitbull needs to eat in a day:
|Age||Daily Food Quantity|
|8 years and above||1 ½ – 3||554 – 1,198|
The table above shows that a senior Pitbull needs to eat less and consume low-calorie foods to complement the change in its energy levels.
Choose the best dog food with high-quality animal protein sources to retain a healthy muscle mass.
Muscle loss is a major health risk for old Pitbulls, especially large breeds, so more animal protein is required to fuel their muscles.
Nonetheless, aside from age, you should also consider the breed of your Pitbull. American Pit Bull Terriers are said to be larger and heavier than American Staffordshire Terriers.
Hence, an American Pit Bull puppy might need more food than an AmStaff. The same goes for adult Pitbulls.
How Often Should You Feed Your Pitbull?
Ideally, a Pitbull puppy under 12 weeks old should be fed three to four times daily. Once it reaches its 13th-week mark, the feeding frequency can be adjusted to three meals a day. Meanwhile, an adult Pitbull needs to be fed twice daily, and once a day for a senior that’s over eight years old.
Having a feeding frequency keeps your Pitbull’s energy levels consistent all day. This also encourages your dog to form a habit and keep its stomach from getting empty at any time, which can cause hyperacidity and nausea.
Imagine a puppy Pitbull eating just one meal a day. This will likely not help your Pitbull puppy grow and develop well.
On the flip side, free-feeding or giving more food than recommended isn’t ideal for Pitbull puppies. Allowing a Pitbull puppy to graze can cause juvenile obesity, binge eating, and orthopedic problems.
Here’s a table that will show you how often a Pitbull should be fed daily based on its age:
|8 – 12 weeks||Three to four times a day|
|4 – 12 months||Three times a day|
|1 – 7 years||Twice a day|
|8 years and above||Once a day|
Knowing the recommended feeding frequency of a Pitbull can help contribute to its healthy lifestyle.
If you forgot to feed it, maintain the suggested meal portions and let your Pitbull have it on its next feeding.
Never double the amount to compensate for the previous meal since other dogs generally do fine if they skip a meal or two. Doing the contrary may lead to your dog gaining unnecessary weight.
Optimal Feeding Times for Pitbulls
The optimal feeding times for a Pitbull largely depend on its age. Growing puppies usually need to be fed every four to six hours. Once they become adult Pitbulls, you can transition this to a 12-hour interval. Meanwhile, feeding seniors once a day, either in the morning or evening, is recommended.
By having a regular feeding routine for your Pitbull, you can tell when its bathroom breaks will be.
Additionally, with a feeding schedule, your Pitbull can form expectations on when its next meal is instead of constantly asking for food.
Here’s a table that will guide you on the optimal feeding times of a Pitbull:
|Age||Optimal Feeding Times|
|8 – 12 weeks||7:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.|
|4 – 12 months||7:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.|
|1 – 7 years||7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.|
|8 years and above||7:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m.|
Being consistent with your dog’s suggested meal intervals will eventually enable it to form a strong habit.
Meanwhile, always provide a fresh bowl of water to keep your Pitbull hydrated. Use stainless steel bowls since they are generally easy to clean and won’t hold on to harmful bacteria compared to plastic ones.
Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pitbull
It has been particularly common for a Pitbull pet parent to share food with their dog. However, this is not a good practice since there are certain human foods a Pitbull shouldn’t eat.
To help you out, here’s a list of the common human foods your Pitbull should never eat:
- Avocado: Avocados contain persin, a fungicidal toxin that can cause serious health risks or death. Although dogs are more resistant to this toxin, this remains poisonous for your Pitbull, especially if a lot has been consumed.
- Ice cream: Ice cream can cause oral health problems for your Pitbull puppy due to its high sugar content. Your dog could be lactose intolerant, too, making ice cream an unideal choice of a treat.
- Chocolate: Owners should steer clear from giving their Pitbulls any chocolate. It might contain high doses of methylxanthines, which can disrupt a dog’s metabolic process. In the worst cases, your dog may end up experiencing tremors, seizures, and even death.
- Salty foods: Feeding your Pitbull puppy salty chips and other salty foods can almost immediately dehydrate its cells. If there’s too much sodium in your dog’s bloodstream, also known as salt toxicosis, the brain and nerve tissue can be badly harmed.
- Macadamia nuts: Macadamia nuts are also notorious for being poisonous to dogs. Chances are it will lead to muscle shakes, high body temperature, lethargy, and ataxia if your Pitbull consumes small quantities of raw or roasted macadamia nuts.
- Onions and garlic: Avoid damaging your Pitbull’s red blood cells by not feeding it foods with garlic or even onion. As Allium family members, both are highly toxic to dogs, which, if ingested, may lead to hemolytic anemia, breathing problems, or vomiting.
Always keep these human foods stored in the cupboard or out of reach for your Pitbull puppy.
If your dog ever ingests something it shouldn’t consume, contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) or immediately bring it to the nearest veterinary clinic.
How to Transition Your Pitbull to a New Food
Transitioning your Pitbull’s food is necessary if it’s turning into an adult or a senior or if its old food no longer appeals to it.
Regardless, switching from old food to new food should be done slowly. This enables your Pitbull’s body to adjust gradually to the new food components.
Further, choose only the highest quality dog food brands to ensure the food switch goes well.
Meanwhile, here is a 7-day plan which you can follow to transition your Pitbull to new food:
|Day||Old Food||New Food|
|1 – 2||75%||25%|
|3 – 4||50%||50%|
|5 – 6||25%||75%|
Based on the table above, it only normally takes seven days to switch your Pitbull’s old food to the new one. However, a Pitbull puppy with a sensitive stomach may take longer periods than that.
Remember that although other dogs do well during a diet transition, others may respond differently.
Tips on Feeding an Overweight Pitbull
You may be accustomed to seeing Pitbulls looking muscular and athletic in build. However, breeds of this type are still prone to obesity.
This is often caused by a lack of exercise, excess food consumption, or a certain illness.
Here’s a list of feeding tips if you’ve observed your Pitbull is overweight:
- Cut portion sizes. Reduce the amount of food your Pitbull consumes daily. Do this gradually to prevent its metabolism from changing drastically. Also, if your Pitbull leaves its bowl with leftover food for about 15 minutes, remove it, so it won’t come back and eat it out of boredom.
- Measure food portions. Never eyeball how much dog food to scoop out of the bag when feeding your Pitbull. Instead, always use a standard measuring cup to ensure you’re giving your dog the right amount of food.
- Keep treats in moderation. Although dog treats can take up 10 percent of your Pitbull’s daily calorie intake, consider going less than that. By limiting the number of snacks it gets, you’re helping in speeding up your dog’s weight loss journey.
- Provide low-calorie, high-fiber food. Fiber is often overlooked by owners who have overweight dogs. By adding quality fiber-rich foods, like green beans and sweet potatoes, your Pitbull will feel full longer while consuming fewer calories.
Always watch your Pitbull and see if it exhibits any physical changes. Meanwhile, you can use a body condition score tool to determine if your dog is slowly achieving its ideal weight.
In my experience dealing with overweight dogs, Pitbulls are quite easy to manage since they love being active. Though they tend to finish whatever you place in their bowls rather quickly, they are also quick to invite you to walk, run, and play outdoors.
So long as they are given the right balance of diet and exercise, it is guaranteed that Pitbulls can maintain their natural muscular and robust physiques.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If I’m Feeding My Pitbull Enough?
One of the easiest methods to know if you properly feed your Pitbull is by looking at its body shape.
Ideally, it should have a defined waist, an outline of the ribs that can be seen or felt, and a noticeable belly that can be viewed from the side.
If your Pitbull appears unnaturally thinner or larger in its frame, you may have to make certain adjustments to your dog’s diet, such as adding in sources with high protein.
Why Is My Pitbull Not Eating?
Carefully assess the situation to know why your dog is losing its appetite. Stress and environmental changes are two of the common reasons why a Pitbull puppy isn’t eating.
Give your puppy time to adjust to your new home if it’s the case. It could also be that your Pitbull’s food preferences have changed, or the dog food brand’s taste or texture has been altered.
Can I Feed My Pitbull With Human Food?
Feeding your Pitbull with human food is fine, yet this should be done cautiously. Learn what foods are safe and which shouldn’t be given to your dog.
Also, even though many dogs eat human food or table scraps, this shouldn’t replace your Pitbull’s diet plan tailored by your pet nutritionist.
Do Pitbulls Eat a Lot?
Pitbulls eat a lot, especially since they’re highly active dogs. Due to their ravenous appetites, owners have to be vigilant regarding how much their Pitbull is fed to avoid the onset of obesity.
What’s equally important to feeding these dogs is exercise. Keep your Pitbull fit by giving it tasks or letting it play games daily to complement the amount of food it consumes.
Can Pitbulls Eat Bones?
Pitbulls can definitely eat bones. However, these should be raw bones since cooked ones can splinter into pieces and cause choking hazards or oral, esophageal, and intestinal damage.
In choosing what bones to give to your Pitbull, make sure it’s large enough not to be swallowed and free from sharp edges or cracked areas, which can injure its mouth.
Pitbull feeding encompasses much more than keeping your dog’s stomach full. It involves learning the ideal food volume based on age and the frequency and optimal times the meals should be provided.
Considering these, your dog can grow and develop healthily regardless of its life stage. On top of that, its vigor will reflect through its appearance and behavior.
Although feeding a Pitbull may seem complicated, you can eventually get the hang of it by establishing a meal plan and sticking to it consistently.
On a different note, always choose the best food for your Pitbull. Whether you prefer commercial dry or wet food, homemade food, or the raw foods diet, it has to be of high quality.
Do you find this guide helpful? Let us know your thoughts about Pitbull feeding by leaving a comment below!