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Choosing the Best High Quality Dog Food for Your Pitbull

By Ashley Turner     Last Updated October 4, 2019

Best Dog Food for Pitbulls

Just like humans, dogs enjoy different tastes and may also have specific needs which makes it crucial to know what ingredients are found in your dog's food. With a plethora of options available, it can become a hassle trying to analyze dry food when you are unsure what to look for.

To help save you time and possible frustration, a guide has been composed to assist you in figuring out the needs of your pooch. We also devised a list of our top 5 picks to find out what is the overall best dog food for pitbulls along with what food might be best for your pitbull.

Our Top Picks for the Best Dog Foods for Your Pitbull

Why Are The Dietary Needs of Your Pitbull Important?

Happy Pitbull Resting

In order to guarantee that your pooch will live a life that is of the highest quality, you must get familiar with what types of foods he needs in his diet. Since pitbulls are muscular and have plenty of energy, it can be difficult to pick a food that is right for your dog without understanding what nutrients he needs and why he needs them.

When it comes to feeding your pitbull, search for a food that provides a high quality of proteins and carbohydrates to provide him with energy that will last awhile. Foods produced with low-quality proteins and carbohydrates will leave your pup feeling tired much quicker.

Take notice of your dog's behavior as licking, scratching, and rashes can often mean that he is suffering from a food-related allergy or stomach sensitivity as these are common for pitbulls. Sensitivities may present themselves in different ways such as unusual bowel movements and nausea.

If you do have a reason to be concerned, start by checking your dog's food and seeing if bone meal, meat by-products, corn, soy, or wheat is one of the top five ingredients listed. These ingredients are common irritants for pitbulls and most dogs alike.

Why Would You Feed Your Pitbull Food That Is Classified As Hypoallergenic or Grain-Free?

Overall, grains typically are not a good source of carbohydrates for pitbulls as they tend to be allergic.

While grain-free dog food does not contain grains, it may still contain soy and egg which are known allergens. It is ideal for a pitbull with acute allergies to try a hypoallergenic food as it does not contain grain, soy, corn, eggs, and gluten.

Transitioning your pup onto a food that is the best fit for him may take some time, so patience is key. If your pitbull has symptoms such as loose stool, excessive gas, or loss of appetite, you might want to try another food, eliminate ingredients that are common allergens along with seeking the opinion of a veterinarian.

Benefits of Feeding Your Pitbull a Healthy Diet

Dogs need to be fed quality food. A diet that consists of food that lacks nutrients will only leave your pooch lacking the nourishment he needs to stay strong and agile.

However, quality food often comes with a higher price tag than a dog food found at the grocery store. This results in individuals purchasing cheap food without knowing the true cost.

Cheap food is made with low-quality ingredients that will eventually lead to health issues later down the road which will end in a boat load of veterinary bill. However, many pet owners notice that when they switched to a higher quality food, their amount of vet visits decreased.

Similar human athletes, pitbulls need to consume more protein, carbs, and fat in their diet in comparison to most other breeds. Vitamins and minerals may vary in whether or not they are essential due to the age and size of your dog.

Is Your Pitbull Eating Too Fast? Try a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl.

Nutritional Requirements for Pitbulls

Happy Healthy Pitbull Smiling Outside

Meals should occur twice a day for adult pitbulls, while puppies and young adults should have 3 meals a day since they are still growing and burn an excess of energy. Both adults and puppies are able to have healthy treats, but it should not consist be more than 10% of your dog's total calories for the day.

While the AAFCO recommends a minimum protein of 22% for puppies and 18% for adult dogs, it is important to keep in mind that because pitbulls are such a muscular breed a protein content of 25%-30% protein is necessary for typical adult pitbulls. For muscle growth and overall development in incredibly active dogs, it increases to a protein content of 30%-40%.

Protein is essential for your pitbull's diet as it can repair tissue and assist in bone growth along with reducing injuries that pitbulls are prone to. However, be cautious of chicken as many dogs tend to be allergic to it.

Fat is needed in your dog's diet as it provides energy and regulates the body's temperature along with assisting with a shiny coat. Ideally, your pitbull's fat content should be between 15%-25%.

Carbohydrates also provide energy and aid in digestion, however, no getting enough carbs in your pup's diet can make their body use their own muscle as an energy source. Sweet potatoes, oatmeal, brown rice, and barley are common carbohydrates of high standards.

The calories required for your pitbull may change depending on what stage in their life they are at. Keep in mind that weight, age, and activity level are factors that will accurately allow you to calculate how many calories your dog should intake daily.

It is important to precisely determine these factors as they may drastically affect your dog's weight over time if the calorie intake is incorrect. If you have any trouble figuring out how many calories your dog needs daily, a veterinarian can help you find the best number for your pitbull.

As a general rule of thumb, old pitbulls should have around 875 calories daily while puppies, young dogs, and lactating mothers should intake around 1100 calories a day. If you have an incredibly active adult pitbull, you should increase to around 1750 calories a day.

Pitbulls who overeat will gain weight, even if they need a higher caloric intake. Obesity can impose health issues along with lower the quality of your pitbull's life.

Keep your pitbull hydrated because it helps the body run the way it should. Since they have a lot of muscle mass and have high energy levels, they will need water frequently.

What is the Best Dog Food for Pitbull Puppies?

Your pitbull puppy is a bundle of energy, and you want to keep them as healthy as possible. Ensuring that you feed them the best dog food for pitbull puppies is one way to start your puppy off right and keep them growing at a healthy rate.

There are many factors to consider when you're choosing a puppy food including protein content, fat content, fiber, and calcium. Feeding your pitbull puppy a high-quality medium to large breed puppy food will get them on the right track for a healthy immune system, and a healthy coat and skin.

Pitbull Puppy Food Protein Requirements

Since the pitbull is a muscular breed, they need a steady diet of protein. A lot of high-quality medium to large breed puppy foods have high protein counts.

Your pitbull puppy's dog food should have between 22 percent to 32 percent for a protein count or higher. This higher protein count supports healthy bone growth and provides your puppy with much-needed energy.

The higher quality puppy foods will get their proteins from whole meats like chicken, beef, duck, salmon, or whitefish. Ideally, the puppy food will list these in the top ingredients, and they'll get part of them for necks or organs.

Pitbull Puppy Food Fat Requirements

Fats and fatty acids are more important things to look for in your pitbull puppy's food. You want a food with a fat content of 10 percent to 25 percent.

Good fats are essential for your puppy's healthy growth and the development of your puppy's immune system. Additionally, they help your puppy's body absorb vitamins and nutrients as well.

Your puppy food should have a high-protein and high-fat diets, and you want to avoid foods that don't have a meat product listed in the first few ingredients.

Our Top Food Pick for Pitbull Puppies

Taste of the Wild Dry Puppy Food

We've selected Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food as the best dog food for pitbull puppies. This puppy food comes in two different flavors and has bison as the first ingredient.

It is grain-free, and it contains antioxidants, a blend of essential fatty acids, and a higher protein count. Additionally, the kibble pieces are smaller, and this makes them easier for your pitbull puppy to eat.

This puppy food contains a proteins, fats, calcium, and fiber to aid in your puppy's digestion. The salmon oils will work to improve your puppy's coat and skin health as well.

Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Dry Puppy Food contains:

  • Crude Protein - 28 Percent
  • Crude Fat - 17 Percent
  • Crude Fiber - 5 Percent
  • Calcium - 1.4 Percent

You should carefully monitor your puppy's food intake as pitbulls may overeat if they're left to graze. Ideally, you should feed your puppy the recommended amount and take the bowl away after 30 minutes as this is more than enough time for them to eat.

Things We Liked
  • Buffalo, lamb meal, and sweet potatoes are the first three ingredients.
  • The grain-free formula may help reduce stomach upset.
  • Antioxidants and fiber count may help regulate your puppy's digestive tract.
Things We Didn't Like
  • The formula contains a bit of pea and potato filler.
  • This puppy food could have a higher fiber count.
  • May be a slower transition process.

What is the Best Dog Food for Senior Pitbulls?

Pitbulls are agile but muscular dogs that typically weight between 30 and 70 pounds. These dogs enjoy their food, so you have to monitor and measure their food.

Your average pitbull should consume between 745 and 1,407 calories per day. They may need slightly more or less depending on their activity level and their metabolism.

Important Factors and Ingredients in Your Senior Pitbull's Food

Your pitbull needs protein and healthy fats, and these are an essential part of their diets. Ideally, they should have 18 percent protein and 5 percent fats.

It is important to note that the best dog food for senior pitbulls will contain these percentages or a higher amount. These can give your older pitbull energy, and they may help to protect against joint problems.

Your dog food should ideally contain two or three meat proteins, and they should be either the first or among the first ten ingredients listed on the dog food package. They will be listed either under whole meats or meat meals.

Additionally, many pitbulls may be prone to food allergies and common food irritants are corn, soy, or wheat. So, a grain free dog food may be a better choice for your senior pitbull.

However, there are several other common food allergens that your dog may react to and they include:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Chicken Eggs
  • Dairy Products
  • Fish

As a general rule, many people avoid grains and soy products when they choose a dog food to try and avoid setting off any allergic reactions.

Even if you want to avoid soy or corn products, your senior pitbull might be able to eat barley, oats, rice, or another grain cereal. Finally, pitbulls are a breed that tends to do well with lower carbohydrate levels.

Our Top Pick for the Best Dog Food for Older Pitbulls

AvoDerm Grain Free Senior Health Plus Dog Food

AvoDerm Natural Senior Health+ Dog Food is our pick for the best dog food for senior pitbulls. Lamb, chicken, and salmon meal are three of the top ten ingredients, and this senior dog food is grain free.

It has 28 percent protein and ten percent crude fat per serving, and this makes this dog food more than adequate for your senior pitbull's health. Additionally, this senior dog food contains avocados which support skin and coat health.

AvoDerm dog food has only natural ingredients with no preservatives, by-product meals, colors, or artificial flavors. It is also free of corn, soy, and wheat for a healthier food choice.

This dog food is also packed full of vitamins, minerals, and various antioxidants that support a healthy immune system, brain function, eyes, and joints. The high-quality fats and oils in this food are balanced out with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

AvoDerm designed this dog food to be gentle on even sensitive stomachs, and the smaller kibble size makes it easier for smaller pitbulls to eat. Additionally, it has peas, beans, and tomato pomace as a healthy filler.

Things We Liked
  • Lamb, salmon, and chicken meal are listed within the first ten ingredients.
  • Grain free and gentle enough for sensitive stomachs.
  • Several different sizes and flavors to choose from.
Things We Didn't Like
  • Contains meat meal instead of whole meats
  • Could have more meat filler instead of peas and beans.
  • May have difficulties getting your dog to like the taste.

What is the Best Dog Food for Pitbulls to Gain Weight and Muscle?

Ingredients to Promote Muscle Growth and Function in Pitbulls

Promoting healthy muscle growth in your Pitbull requires certain ingredients formulated into your dog food. Your dog food should have at least a few of these things listed on the ingredients to reassure you that it's a healthy option.

Vitamin E

A powerful antioxidant that is fat-soluble, vitamin E helps promote tissue repair, energy metabolism, and it increases cellular activity. If your dog is deficient in vitamin E, they end up with muscle degeneration and ligament or tendon weakness, so you want to make sure your dog gets vitamin E from sources like broccoli, nuts, spinach, or kale.

B Complex Vitamins

Vitamin B1 helps to support healthy carbohydrate metabolism, B6 helps with maintaining healthy muscle tone, and B8 is responsible for generating energy for your dog's muscles to use to function. Popular sources of these B complex vitamins include organ meat like liver, fish, beef, leafy vegetables, nuts, poultry, and sweet potato.


Calcium is essential for muscle and bone health, and it helps to support proper muscle contraction along with proper nerve transmission. Pitbulls with deficient calcium diets can end up with weak bones, ropy muscles that are prone to tearing, and a degraded nervous system. Food with fish, leafy vegetables, and nuts or seeds are good sources of calcium.


Choline is another vitamin that plays an essential role in gaining muscle and promoting healthy muscle function by allowing your dog's nervous system to communicate and cause the muscles to contract. It helps to break down fat for energy, and good sources in dog food include things like spinach, organ meats like liver, nuts, and cauliflower.

Ingredients that Promote Healthy Weight Gain in Pitbulls

You want your dog to gain healthy weight as they grow, and this can mean getting food packed with a few key ingredients. You do want to monitor your dog when they eat this food though because too much of it can lead to an unhealthy weight.


Dog foods that are very high in protein from good sources can encourage healthy weight gain, and you want to find a food that has around 30% protein content. This protein should come from whole meat sources and not meals, and it should be one of the first ingredients listed on the label. Protein sources include chicken, beef, salmon, turkey, venison, bison, and more.


Another key ingredient for supporting healthy weight gain in your Pitbull is to get them a dog food with a higher fat content of at least 17% fat. It's common to see chicken or pork fat listed on the bag, but you can also see things like soybean oil, vegetable oil, or fish oil.

Our Top Pick for the Best Dog Food for Pitbulls to Gain Muscle and Weight

Bully Max High Performance Super Premium Dog Food to Gain Muscle and Weight

Bully Max has the only meat-based formula dog food of its kind, and you can customize your order by choosing from a 15 or 40 pound bag. This dog food comes packed with calories, and your dog will get 535 for every cup you feed them to enable you to feed them less while bulking them up.

You can feed your Pitbull this food throughout their lives starting at four weeks and continuing on well into their lives without a problem, and it comes with all-natural ingredients that are less prone to cause reactions. There is no wheat, corn, or soy in this dog food, and this makes it a good choice for dogs that have allergies or sensitivities.

You'll find no hidden ingredients, and no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives in this dog food, and this makes it a healthier choice overall for your dog. The kibble is a good size for both puppies and adults to eat without a problem, but you do have to monitor them to make sure they're not getting too many calories because they can gain weight quickly.

Pitbull parents that bought this food liked that it came so calorie-dense because it allowed them to cut back on their portion sizes. Pitbull parents did mention that this food was a much more expensive option than other types.

Things We Liked
  • Uses healthy and natural ingredients
  • Packed with protein and fats
  • Able to feed through all life stages
Things We Didn't Like
  • More expensive than other brands
  • Can cause your dog to be overweight if not carefully monitored
  • May have a stronger smell when you open the bag

Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls

1. Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast


With lean, red meat bison as the top ingredient, this grain-free, gluten-free dry food is ideal for pitbulls as it has an average protein content of around 34 percent. Compared to fresh bison, the bison meal contains way more protein.

It also contains high levels of antioxidants nutrients, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E. This formula is packed plenty of fruits including peas, blueberries, cranberries, apples, and spinach.

L-carnitine is present in this formula, which is great for pitbulls as it helps to convert fat in the body to muscle mass and energy. Also, it contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 fatty acids which are not only helpful for a shiny skin and coat but also assist with brain function and behavior.

For a 28-pound bag, this is in between Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food Original Formula and Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dog Food in both affordability and product size.

One customer enjoys knowing that the food her dogs happily eat every day is potato-free. Typically, most potatoes are used as fillers in certain dog foods as they provide little to no nutritional benefit.

A reviewer stated that she was unsatisfied as her dogs had gotten nausea and loose stool due to eating this food, and she was unable to return the food.

Things We Liked
  • Grain-free, gluten-free, and potato-free
  • L-carnitine which assists in converting fat to muscle mass and energy
  • Contains Omega-6 and Omega-3 for a shiny coat and positive brain function
Things We Didn't Like
  • Some customers reported their dogs getting sick from this food
  • Return policy can cause issues if a bad batch is received
  • A little expensive for the size of the bag

2. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dog Food


Taste of the Wild High Prairie is a grain-free dog food that is formulated with sweet potatoes and peas that makes it easily digestible for pitbulls. With a 32% protein minimum, this product is made with bison, venison, and buffalo.

As it is supplemented with vegetables and fruits, this formula provides plenty of antioxidants to ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrients he needs. Each cup of this food has 370 kcals.

A 30-pound bag retails for much less than other brands making it an affordable high-quality dog food for pitbulls.

One customer stated that the kibble is dark and rich in color and does not crumble easily, ensuring you are getting the most out of your money and not winding up with a bunch of crumbs filling the bottom of the bag. Another happy customer stated that she refused to feed her pitbulls any food besides Taste of The Wild as they have sensitive skin.

Consumers recommend buying this product locally as bad batches have been floating around the internet, causing loose stool and nausea. Some customers also noticed a sizing different in the kibble of bags purchased online versus bags purchased in stores.

Things We Liked
  • Affordable, high-quality formula
  • Provides a minimum protein content of 32%
  • Grain-free dry food that does not crumble easily
Things We Didn't Like
  • Many customers have purchased bad batches online
  • May not be convenient to purchase in stores in order to diminish the likelihood of getting a bad batch
  • Sizing differences in kibble purchased online versus in store

3. Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food


Wellness Core Natural Grain Free Original Formula contains chicken, chicken meal, and turkey meal as its primary ingredients with a protein content of around 40 percent. This formula uses natural ingredients and does not contain corn, soy, wheat, meat by-product, along with artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

The fat content is enough for it to be healthy, yet it might not be enough for athletic dogs. Since this food contains a prebiotic, it could assist in promoting your dog's overall digestive health.

A 26-pound bag is a little expensive compared to other brands that even provide more quantity. However, it is made only in the USA and backed by the Wellness Guarantee, if for some reason your dog does not like the formula or if it simply not the right fit for your pitbull.

One customer loves this formula as it has helped her senior dog lose weight and regain his energy, improving his overall quality of life. However, the customer did notice that the kibble typically has dust on it that end up getting stuck to the bottom of her dog's bowl so she sifts the food through a colander before feeding him.

A few customers have received bad batches of this formula that have gotten moldy due to getting wet and/or smell terrible.

Things We Liked
  • Made in the USA
  • Backed by Wellness Guarantee
  • High protein content and low fat is great for pitbulls who need to lose weight
  • Does not contain corn, soy, wheat, meat by-product, or artificial colors, flavors and preservatives
Things We Didn't Like
  • Expensive for a 26-pound bag
  • Athletic dogs might not get their recommended fat content
  • Kibble is loose, resulting in some people sifting the food before meals
  • Inconsistency of batches which has lead to bad smells and mold

4. Natural Ultramix Grain-Free Duck, Sweet Potatoes and Whole Peas Entrée


Duck is the main ingredient used in this dog food, which is great if you have a dog that has allergies to common proteins. In addition to the 38% protein content, this product contains plenty of fruits and vegetables to satisfy your pitbull's need, such as bananas, carrots, cranberries, apples, and blueberries.

This formula does not contain any soy, corn or wheat as well as being made in the United States, and none of the ingredients are sourced from China. For a 25 pound bag, this product is within the same price range as the others but provides less product for more money.

A customer raved about this product as she always receives bags that are fresh. She stated that her dog enjoys the kibble and real fruit pieces; overall, this product is great for all dogs because the kibble is not too hard.

However, another customer noticed quality differences after Castor and Pollux were purchased by Purina. After the switch, her dog had experienced diarrhea and nausea, but she was unable to return the bag.

Things We Liked
  • Plenty of real freeze-dried fruit and vegetable pieces
  • Ideal for dogs with food sensitivities
  • Made in the USA and no ingredients are sourced from China
Things We Didn't Like
  • Expensive compared to product amount
  • Quality difference after purchased by Purina
  • Some dogs experienced loose stool and nausea

5. Canidae Grain Free PURE Fresh Salmon Dry Dog Food


To remain simple, it is created with 8 key ingredients such as fresh salmon, salmon meal, menhaden fish meal, sweet potatoes, peas, canola oil, sun-cured alfalfa, and potatoes in addition to natural flavor, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics mix. This formula provides Omega-6& Omega-3 fatty acids to help your dog achieve a beautiful skin and coat.

The probiotics used are able to aid in digestion and antioxidants are also added to support your pitbull's immune system. This formula is free of soy, corn, and wheat making it great for dogs with grain sensitivities.

This is the most expensive food mentioned as well as the provides the least amount of product, that is 24 pounds.

A customer who tried out this formula mentioned how her dogs loved the taste of it but she noticed that they were producing more stool, while it was solid and looked normal. She had reached out to Canidae and not only did they email her back with genuine concern, they had their vet email her as well to provide answers.

Things We Liked
  • 8 simple main ingredients used
  • Free of corn, soy, and wheat
  • Has added Omega-6 and Omega-3 to give your pitbull a shiny coat
  • Responds to customer efficiently and genuinely cares
Things We Didn't Like
  • Most expensive dog food mentioned
  • Smallest sized bag at 24 pounds
  • Due to a high fiber content, your dog may poop more when adjusting to the formula

Our Top Pick

Overall, Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast is the best dog food for pitbulls as it is high in protein and has moderate to high-fat content, unlike Wellness CORE Natural Grain Free Dry Dog Food. While most of the bags weight 26 pounds or less and cost a large chunk of change, this bag weighs 28 pounds and is relatively affordable per pound. However, if you get a bad batch, it is unlikely that you would be able to return it online but depending on the store, you might be able to exchange it for store credit.

About Ashley Turner

Ashley our Editior-in-Chief and Community Manager

Ashley Turner has been a passionate Dog Mom to 2 West Highland White Terriers, Lily and Lola, for over 10 years. She now makes a living doing research, writing, and editing of dog-related content for PuppyWire.