The American Pit Bull Terrier is an amazing and strong breed. They can vary in size, but their feeding process is very important. An improper feeding schedule, and the amount of food you give your dog, can cause some potential health problems in the future.
Pitbulls like to be challenged when it comes to exercise, so the right amount of food, especially when they are in the developing stage, is crucial.
Don’t worry – we prepared a Pitbull feeding chart that will help you understand your Pitbull’s feeding needs.
Pitbull Feeding Chart: Puppy Edition
If you are buying your Pitbull puppy from a respectable breeder, you won’t see your puppy until it turns about eight weeks of age.
The amount of food they can consume depends on two things: their gender – females tend to eat less than males, and the general size of the puppy you get. On average, your Pitbull puppy should eat three to, more often, four times a day until it turns 12 weeks old.
A daily dose is two cups of food, but you arrange it so every meal consists of 1/4 of the cup.
After 12 weeks pass, you can reduce it to three times a week, and eventually two times a day will be enough for your Pitbull.
Breeders that breed dogs like Pitbulls usually help you with the puppy feeding process, but if they don’t give you advice, don’t be shy – always ask.
How Much Does A Pitbull Puppy Eat
We explained the feeding process of your Pitbull pup up until 12 weeks, plus we added a Pitbull feeding chart so you can see it more clearly.
As we already told you, when buying your Pitbull, you most likely won’t see your pup until the 8th week. However, just in case, we made a list of life stages from two weeks to 12 weeks.
2 to 3 Week-Old Pitbull Puppy
At two weeks old, the mother is the most important thing for your puppy’s well-being. At this age, your future puppy is completely dependent on its mother’s milk. The mother always needs to be around for the puppies to find their way to the milk.
At this stage, a Pitbull puppy always needs to be monitored. Some puppies might have trouble finding a place to eat, or just don’t develop an appetite like other littermates. If you notice that any puppy stands out by being smaller than the others, you should call the vet.
At about three weeks old, the puppies should still be feeding only on their mother’s milk. They gain some balance and can move around a bit more, but the mother is still at their disposal for feeding until they are full and happy.
Unfortunately, some breeders try to introduce the weaning-off process at this stage, which is absolutely not recommended. Keep in mind that any breeder who will try and sell you a puppy at three weeks old is probably not the best option for you.
4 to 5 Week-Old Pitbull Puppy
At four weeks old, a dog’s diet should still mostly be its mother’s milk. This is the more acceptable time to start the weaning process. If you want to introduce it to puppy food, you need to mix it with water.
The perfect ratio is 3/4 water, and 1/4 food (3:1). You need to be prepared that the puppy might not eat that much of the introduced food, or it might not even be interested in it. If it shows no interest, don’t worry – he might just not be ready yet.
At five weeks old, they might show some interest in the new mixture. They probably will taste it, but not eat that much since they still have a small belly. Don’t force it – the mother’s milk is still the most important food source.
6 to 7 Week-Old Pitbull Puppy
At six weeks of age, they tend to show more interest in the mixture that has been prepared for them. You can even try and reduce the amount of water in the mixture, eventually even removing the water completely.
We might sound like a parrot, but the mother’s milk is still the source of calories and nutritional needs; however, they become less prone to breastfeeding.
If your puppy still hasn’t gotten used to puppy food, at seven weeks, they should be eating it without any trouble. This is the perfect time to remove all the water and make them get used to dryer food.
The mother is also beginning the process of weaning. If she is willing, she will let them breastfeed a bit more, but she should be able to remove herself from the puppies from time to time.
8 to 9 Week-Old Pitbull Puppy
This is the moment you are waiting for. The moment your puppy finally gets to be taken to its forever home. At eight weeks of age, the mother’s milk should be cut off completely. Puppy food is their only source of nutrients.
You should be offering puppy food four times a day, divided equally through every meal, so it ends up being two cups a day.
Tip: if you see that food is sitting in a bowl for about 20 to 30 minutes, move it to a place where your puppy can’t see it. Return the food at the next mealtime. This way, your puppy isn’t going to nibble here and there on the food that is sitting around, and it will help your Pitbull puppy get used to the feeding schedule quicker.
When they reach nine weeks of age, you can introduce them to new food brands or types of food. But, you need to do it gradually so you don’t cause your puppy stomach problems.
Even though their energy increases and they burn more calories, stick to the feeding schedule as when they were eight weeks old.
10 to 11 Week-Old Pitbull Puppy
At 10 weeks old, your puppy will try to eat everything that crosses its path. You need to make sure that the floor has no small things that they can potentially eat. It can be dangerous for their small tummy to digest anything other than their food.
You should stick to the feeding schedule as before. But, they do get a bit more energetic in this period, so if you see your puppy asking for food more than usual, increase the amount just a bit.
At 11 weeks old, you should try to stick to the four times a day portions. Sometimes, your puppy might not be able to eat that much, so you can reduce it to three times a day.
12 Week-Old Pitbull Puppy
At this point, your puppy is growing rapidly, and its energy levels are through the roof. Try to give it three meals a day.
You shouldn’t switch it to adult dog food just yet. It is still growing, but losing more calories, so it needs to compensate for them by eating puppy food. Adult food won’t give it the right amount, which can cause problems with its growth.
Puppy Pitbull Feeding Chart
|Weight Of Dog (lbs)||6-12 Weeks (cups per day)||8-12 Months (cups per day)|
|3 – 5||1 – 1 1/3||1/2 – 2/3|
|5 – 10||1 1/3 – 2 1/2||2/3 – 1|
|10 – 20||2 1/2 – 4||1 – 2|
|20 – 30||4 – 5 3/4||2 – 2 3/4|
Nutrients Your Pitbull Needs
Dog food should be packed with all the nutrients your Pitbull needs. If they are puppies, it is necessary for healthy weight gain, for adults to maintain their health and physique, and for seniors to help them function properly.
Puppies don’t digest protein as well as adult dogs, so their food should consist of 34% to 40% high-quality protein. Fat amounts should be moderated. Food should contain 14% to 17% of fat from sources like chicken (especially chicken fat), fish, and fish oils.
Calcium is also very important, but make sure to not overdo it. The amount of calcium needed in food is only 1.1% to 1.5%. Anything more might cause bone problems.
Read Next: Why Is My Pitbull So Small? 6 Potential Causes
The enzyme that helps puppies digest starch is low. Because of that, the number of carbohydrates in their food should be less than 30%. Anything more might cause bone problems.
Large-breed puppy foods include less vitamin D, phosphorus, calcium, and fat than those designed for miniature breeds.
Amino acids are important for your dog as well. Some of the most important ones are histidine, leucine, methionine, valine, etc.
The best dog food should have all of these combined.
For adult dogs, meat-based food is better than grain-based food. You should avoid ingredients like bone meal.
The food you choose for your dog should contain 15% to 30% protein, and 15% to 20% fat.
A senior dog is considered a dog that has had a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. They have a harder time metabolizing protein, so the amount should rise to 40% in food that they eat, just to be sure they are getting enough.
High carbohydrates and low diets may make your dog more susceptible to urinary tract problems and diabetes.
RELATED: How Long Do Pitbulls Live? Is There A Way To Extend Their Lifespan?
How To Decide On What Dog Food To Give Your Pitbull Puppy
The most important thing you need to make sure of is that whatever food you choose for your puppy, it meets their nutritional needs. A balanced diet is a priority for your Pitbull puppy.
There are a couple of ways you can go when it comes to preparing or not preparing meals. Some ways are more convenient while others require more work on your behalf.
Be careful since they tend to have a sensitive stomach and are prone to food-related allergies that can manifest as skin problems.
Deciding on your puppy’s meal plan can be a bit challenging because some experimenting is necessary, but don’t worry – it can be done. If you feel like you have tried a lot of options, or are just in doubt, contacting the vet will help you a lot.
Whatever way you choose, it must meet all of the AAFCO requirements for growing puppies.
1. Store-Bought Dog Food
This is the easiest way to go. The only thing you need to think about is going to the store and stocking up the food you decided on. All the ingredients are written on the back of pet food, so you don’t have to worry if they are getting everything they need.
They also come with a feeding chart, with the right measures for daily intake.
Store-bought food can also be formulated specifically for the sensitive stomach that Pitbulls tend to have, and this can help with possible food allergies.
There are two types of store-bought dog food – wet dog food, and kibble.
• Wet Puppy Food
Wet puppy food, wet dog food in general, is made up of 75% water. Hence, the name wet food. Because of the wetness, all the aromas are magnified, and puppies go crazy for this type of food.
If consumed in larger quantities, your puppy might have a loose stool. Despite that, it is possible to feed your Pitbull puppy only wet puppy food; however, the packaging needs to say “complete” food and not “complementary” food.
We recommend mixing it with dry dog food.
The other thing you need to be careful about is that this type of food easily goes bad, and it is more difficult to store.
Kibble is the most convenient food you can choose for your puppy. It is easy to store and lasts longer than wet food. There are various flavors you can choose from.
Despite being used as the main meal, you can use it as treats as well. Kibble has a teeth-cleaning effect because of the mechanical abrasion made in contact with the dog’s teeth.
A suggestion is to spend a bit more money on all-natural ingredients. Some studies have shown that more expensive kibble tends to be easier to digest.
When buying your Pitbull dog food, make sure you get food intended for medium-sized to large breeds.
We had to emphasize this type of food in particular. Grain-free kibble tends to be a bit more expensive, but it fulfills all the dietary needs of your Pitbull. It is richer in proteins than other dog food that contains more grains.
Ingredients that are used to replace grains like rice, corn, etc. are legumes and potatoes. Legumes are rich in protein.
Meat is the main ingredient in this type of dog food. High-quality proteins are very important for your dog.
This type of food might be more suitable for adult dogs or older puppies.
2. Homemade Dog Food
Some dog owners like to prepare the dog food by themselves. But, we must caution you that this process is a lot to take on yourself.
The most important thing is to fulfill all the important nutrients that your dog needs for its development. Another thing is that you need to carefully pick the ingredients, know their composition, and know how to properly arrange them throughout the meals.
If you have the patience and time to make the food yourself, we suggest asking your vet for advice.
• Home-Cooked Dog Food
As already stated, this is the most demanding way to feed your Pitbull, and you need to watch out for a lot of factors. But, we are here to suggest some human food that your Pitbull can eat.
Meat is the most common ingredient that is used in your dog’s food. Other ingredients may include dairy products; fruits like apples, watermelon, pears, etc.; vegetables like carrots, green beans, broccoli, etc.; fish, peanut butter, popcorn, white rice, etc.
• Raw Diet, a.k.a., BARF
BARF stands for biologically appropriate raw foods. This diet is composed of raw meat and bones. Vegetables are often used for dietary needs.
There might be some controversy with this type of diet, especially connected with Pitbulls. Unfortunately, when thinking about Pitbulls, some people connect them with their bad reputation.
It is thought that feeding your dog raw meat gives him a taste of the wild and makes him more aggressive and prone to biting.
But, this has not yet been scientifically proven nor denied. Some dog owners who decided on the raw diet claim their dog is healthier, and their coat is shinier.
Some dogs might become more defensive when it comes to their dog bowl. If you have kids around, try to separate them from the dog while eating. This advice applies to every dog no matter the diet they are on.
Raw meat can get contaminated with harmful bacteria and parasites, so be careful.
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Is My Puppy The Right Weight?
Your Pitbull is one of those dog breeds that can gain healthy weight until it reaches two to three years of its life. You won’t be giving it puppy food all those years, of course. An older puppy needs fewer calories for every pound of body weight.
About 12 to 18 months is the time they are considered fully grown, and that is when you easily introduce them to adult dog food. Puppy food is full of calories, so if you overdo that food, it can make them gain extra weight.
You start with adding a small amount of adult dog food to puppy food, and eventually end up with only adult dog food.
Overfeeding your adult Pitbull is also very bad. Overweight dogs can have bone problems, especially concerning dysplasia, and this can cause them some serious problems.
We have linked a Pitbull growth chart for you that can help you understand the puppy growth process and the ideal weight from one to 12 months of their development. Also, check out our article on how heavy a dog should be for additional advice.
Should You Give Your Pitbull Puppy Supplements?
If you are giving your puppy high-quality puppy food, there is no need for supplements. Quality food should have all the nutrients needed for your puppy’s health and development.
Pitbulls do have a bigger risk of developing hip dysplasia and joint issues. Supplements for those might be used. Always check with your vet first.
What If My Pitbull Won’t Eat?
It is not unusual for puppies to sometimes refuse food. Their appetite can decrease and increase. But, this is over a span of 24 hours.
Sometimes, the cause can be a change in food.
If your puppy refuses to eat for more than a day, you should call the vet as soon as possible. Never wait too long.
A Pitbull feeding chart can help you with the process of making sure how much and how often your Pitbull should eat. It might sound confusing at the beginning, but don’t worry – you will get the hang of it.
The most important thing is the quality and nutrients of the food. The amount of food to give your puppy is presented in the chart we made for you, and is also mentioned in this article. Don’t overdo it.
We are sure you will get the hang of it really fast.