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Athletic, muscular, and prone to a few health problems, Pitbulls need high-quality food to ensure their good health and fitness.
As an average-sized breed, Pitbulls can usually eat just about any dog food that would be healthy for other breeds.
However, there are some considerations to keep in mind when shopping for Pitbull food.
For example, Pitbulls are susceptible to multiple heart problems as well as joint issues like hip dysplasia. Proper nutrition can help to reduce the effects of these conditions, but not every dog food contains the supplements and nutrients that can have a positive effect on such health concerns.
We’re going to talk about what those nutrients and supplements are, as well as the other things you should be looking for in dry dog food for Pitbulls. I’m also going to share my four favorite dry dog foods for Pitbulls with you but if you’d prefer to skip all the reading and just see what made the list you can check out my favorites here:
- Best Overall: Merrick Texas Beef & Potato Dry Dog Food
- Best Premium Option: Stella & Chewy's Wild Red Classic Dry Dog Food
- Best on a Budget: Amazon Brand WAG Dry Dog Food with Grains
- Best Grain-Free: Orijen Grain-Free High-Protein Dry Dog Food
Before we start discussing my favorite Pitbull foods, there are a few things we need to get out of the way. To start, we’re going to go over a few of the most common health problems Pitbulls experience that can be mitigated with proper nutrition. Then, we’ll discuss what you should be looking for in your Pitbull’s food to help avoid these health issues.
Let’s get into it!
Common Pitbull Health Problems
Pitbulls are generally considered to be pretty hardy, healthy dogs in all, but there are a few health conditions that are somewhat common in the breed.
Luckily, you can help to prevent some of these in your Pitbull by paying attention to what you’re feeding them.
Some genetic conditions may not be entirely preventable, keep that in mind.
Even so, feeding your Pitbull the right nutrients can slow the spread of these conditions and reduce the symptoms that your Pit has to suffer.
Hip dysplasia is one of the most common health conditions that affect Pitbulls. It’s a joint disease that affects the hip, and many muscular or heavy breeds are susceptible to it.
When a Pitbull has hip dysplasia, their hip and femur grow together improperly, causing the femur to rub on the hip bone rather than sit correctly in the socket. This leads to pain, reduced mobility, and can even cause lameness.
Quality of life can get so low for a dog suffering from hip dysplasia that they’re sometimes put to sleep because of it. Other dogs sometimes undergo extreme surgeries such as hip replacements or osteotomies.
Though this condition is genetic, you can still reduce its effects and improve an affected Pitbull’s quality of life with supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin which we’ll take a closer look at later in this article.
Pitbulls are rather likely to develop allergies with food allergies being common in the breed.
In particular, Pitbulls seem to be allergic to wheat and grain quite often. If your Pitbull seems to be displaying signs of allergies, then it could be due to these ingredients in their food.
For those Pitbulls, I’ve included a grain-free recommendation that won’t contain any wheat or grains, thereby eliminating the trigger of your Pitbull’s allergies. But you should also talk to your veterinarian if you’re seeing any signs of allergies in your Pittie.
Joint problems aren’t the only health conditions that Pitbulls commonly face. This breed is at high risk of heart problems, particularly congenital heart disease.
Canine congenital heart disease is often abbreviated as CHD, and it’s sort of a catchall term for a range of inherited heart conditions. Some forms of CHD show themselves when your Pitbull is young, others might not be noticeable until your Pit is much older.
Diet alone won’t be able to prevent these conditions but studies have indicated that a healthy intake of Omega-3 fatty acids can help a dog’s overall cardiac health.
What to Look for in Dry Dog Food for Pitbulls
Now that we’ve covered all the main health conditions affecting Pitbulls that you can mitigate with proper nutrition, it’s time to discuss the things you should be looking for in your Pit’s food.
What separates one dry dog food from another?
Quite a bit, which you’ll understand by the end of this section.
We’re going to talk about what makes a dog food great and how you can tell its overall quality, but we’ll also talk about the nutrients and supplements you want to look for to help your Pitbull fight off those health conditions we just explored.
One of the key indicators of a dog food’s overall quality is the ingredients list on the label. Luckily, you’ll be able to find this label even when shopping online, so you won’t need the bag in front of you to read it.
Everyone knows that better ingredients makes for better dog food but labels can still be hard to navigate.
You don’t want to eat food made with cheap, low-end ingredients. Rather, people pay lots of money to go to restaurants with the highest-end ingredients.
Unfortunately, dog foods made with premium ingredients tend to cost more than dog foods made from lower-quality ingredients, just like that five-star restaurant costs far more than McDonald’s.
Still, you can find plenty of great foods for Pitbulls made with excellent ingredients that aren’t outrageously expensive. You just have to know what to look for.
First, you must understand how the ingredient list is structured. Ingredients are listed by prevalence, so the first ingredient is the ingredient you’ll find in the highest concentration. Meanwhile, the last ingredient on the list will be found in the lowest amount of any ingredient.
Based on this principle, you can look at just the first five ingredients in any dog food blend and get a good feel for its overall quality since they’ll be the five most prevalent ingredients in the recipe.
But, what exactly are you looking for in these ingredients?
Primarily, you’re looking for whole-food ingredients. Instead of fillers like cornmeal, pea starch, or potato starch, it’s preferred to see whole food ingredients such as corn, peas, potatoes, apples, carrots, and more.
Of course, it’s not just vegetables we’re looking for. In fact, proteins are arguably more important!
Most of the time, you should be looking for a high-quality whole-food animal-based protein source as the first ingredient. This is something like chicken, deboned chicken, beef, salmon, turkey, or any other similar ingredient.
Less desirable would be to see a lower-quality protein source listed first, like chicken meal, chicken by-product meal, or something similar.
However, these aren’t bad ingredients altogether, as they can be great sources of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are important substances we’re about to cover.
On the whole, you’re hoping to see an ingredients list that’s full of quality whole foods rather than cheap fillers. Most dry dog foods with such an ingredients list can be considered high-quality overall.
The ingredients that make up any given dog food tell the overarching story of that food’s quality, but they’re not the only characters at play.
Many different additives make their way into high-quality dog foods.
Some of these are supplements, added specifically to aid your Pitbull’s health in some important way.
Others are nutrients found in certain ingredients. Looking for those ingredients will only tell you part of the story, but seeing these specific nutrients listed on the nutrition label will let you know exactly how much of it your Pit is going to get.
So, what’s important about these compounds?
These are the nutrients and supplements that will help reduce the likelihood of your Pitbull developing the health conditions most commonly associated with the breed.
If your Pit still does end up with one of these conditions, then the compounds we’re about to discuss can still reduce the symptoms and overall effect of the disease, improving your Pit’s quality of life.
Because of the positive effect that these compounds can have on your Pitbull’s health, it’s important to look for dry dog food blends that contain each of them.
You can still feed your Pitbull recipes that are missing one or more of these compounds, but if your dog is getting them all through diet, then you can rest assured that you’re helping to prevent common Pitbull health conditions from occurring in your dog.
According to the VCA, most dogs suffering from hip dysplasia ought to be taking glucosamine, along with chondroitin and omega fatty acids, which we’re going to discuss shortly.
Glucosamine is a naturally occurring amino acid that’s used to treat arthritis in many creatures, including dogs, humans, and horses.
But that’s not all glucosamine is good for.
It’s also used to reduce joint wear and alleviate the pain that is associated with hip dysplasia.
When your dog consumes glucosamine, it helps to repair damaged cartilage. In a Pitbull with hip dysplasia, this can reduce pain and inflammation, which can lead to improved mobility and overall quality of life.
In a healthy Pitbull, glucosamine still improves cartilage, bone, and joint health, which can help to reduce the likelihood of your Pit developing hip dysplasia in the first place.
Chondroitin is a supplemental compound that’s similar to glucosamine. It can help to reduce inflammation, prevent the destruction of existing cartilage, and even promote new cartilage growth.
Even though chondroitin and glucosamine are quite similar in effect, they work through different mechanisms. For this reason, they’re often administered together, and evidence seems to suggest that they work best when taken together.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega fatty acids are essential nutrients in your Pitbull’s diet. There are two main types of omega fatty acids, which are omega-3s and omega-6s.
These essential fatty acids are essential in proper brain and eye development.
Moreover, these omega fatty acids reduce inflammation of the heart and the likelihood of arrhythmias.
They’re often administered to dogs that have heart failure or cardiac disease since they’re so beneficial for heart health.
Furthermore, omega fatty acids lubricate the joints while reducing inflammation, which can help improve overall joint health. This can reduce the effects of diseases like hip dysplasia and might even help your Pitbull avoid getting them in the first place.
Avoid Food Allergies
Not all Pitbulls will have food allergies. However, the breed is more susceptible to food allergies than most breeds, and if your Pit is exhibiting some of the symptoms we mentioned earlier, then it might be due to food allergies.
Thankfully, avoiding food allergies is pretty simple. You just don’t feed triggering foods to your Pitbull.
Ok, it’s not quite as simple as it sounds since you actually have to pinpoint the specific trigger causing your Pitbull’s allergies first!
For Pitbulls specifically, wheat and grains like rice and corn tend to be some of the most common allergens. That said, your Pitbull could be allergic to just about any food, including beef, chicken, soy, and many others.
There are tests your veterinarian can perform to determine your Pitbull’s allergy triggers, but a better option is to simply use an elimination or exclusion diet, eliminating foods from the diet so you can figure out which foods are causing your Pitbull’s reactions.
If you think your Pitbull could be suffering from food allergies, you can learn more about elimination diets for dogs by watching this video, which explains multiple different ways for you to administer an exclusion diet.
Once you’ve figured out which foods are triggering your Pitbull’s allergies, you can switch back to a commercial diet and look for foods that don’t contain triggering ingredients.
Top 4 Dry Dog Foods for Pitbulls
You now know what you’re looking for in dry dog food for your Pitbull at this point. Now, it’s time to present you with some options.
I won’t inundate you with choices here. Rather, I’ve collected my four favorite dry foods for Pitbulls that are packed with precisely the nutrition we just investigated in the last section.
To make your choice easier, I’ve separated these foods into four categories, such as best overall, best on a budget, and a best grain-free option for those Pitbulls with sensitive stomachs or food allergies.
Best Overall: Merrick Dry Dog Food
- (1) 22.0 pound Bag - Merrick grain free dry dog food real texas beef & sweet potato recipe
- Real deboned beef is always the first ingredient in this poultry free dog food
Meeting every criterion on our list to earn my top recommendation is this dry dog food blend from Merrick. It’s made with top-quality ingredients and includes all the vital nutrients and supplements that a Pitbull needs to stay in peak health.
To start, let’s check out the ingredients list, which is populated primarily with whole foods. Here are the first five ingredients in order: deboned beef, lamb meal, salmon meal, sweet potatoes, potatoes.
Deboned beef gets us off to a great start. It’s a whole food animal-based protein, which is exactly what we want to see.
Next, we can see lamb meal and salmon meal. These provide more diverse protein than just beef, but that’s not the only advantage of them.
Both of these meals will also provide lots of glucosamine and chondroitin to the recipe, and with 800 milligrams of each, we can tell that they’re doing their job. That’s twice as much as you’ll find in most similar blends, which will help keep your Pitbull out of pain and in working order.
When we get to the fourth ingredient, we finally start seeing some vegetables. In this case, they’re sweet potatoes and potatoes, which are both whole food ingredients of the sort we want to see on the ingredients list.
Checking the guaranteed analysis, we can see that this blend contains more than just the glucosamine and chondroitin mentioned a moment ago. There’s also plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These will aid the other supplements in improving your Pitbull’s joint health, but will also help keep the heart healthy to reduce the possibility of congenital heart disease.
Providing premium ingredients along with all the supplements we’d like to see for a Pitbull, this is my favorite dry dog food for Pitbulls overall.
You can see the full list of ingredients, read more reviews and check out today’s price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I love about it: 800 milligrams of both glucosamine and chondroitin, ample fatty acids, and top-quality ingredients…what’s not to love?
What I wish it had: This food ticks all of my boxes, though it isn’t very easy on the budget.
Best Premium Option: Stella & Chewy’s Wild Red Classic Kibble Wholesome Grains Dry Dog Food
- Quality nutrition made in the USA. This recipe is packed with meat from three animal protein sources:...
- Free of legumes and made with wholesome grains. No potatoes, peas, lentils, by-product meals, artificial...
No dog food becomes a top recommendation unless it meets all, or at least most of the categories I’ve outlined. This wholesome grains dry dog food blend from Stella & Chewy’s meets all of those requisites and exceeds most expectations.
Granted, you’ll be paying more for this food than most commercial blends, but if your Pitbull’s continued health is a top priority for you, then you’ll feel good about everything this food offers your best bud.
Let’s start with the ingredients, which are primarily whole foods.
In order, the first five ingredients are beef, pork meal, barley, oatmeal, and millet.
You can tell we’re off to a good start right away when you see beef listed as the primary ingredient. Making things even better is the quality of that beef since this blend uses premium grass-fed beef.
In addition to beef, you can see pork meal listed second, which offers loads of protein and other nutrients for your Pitbull.
In fact, this pork meal is likely where the 400 milligrams each of glucosamine and chondroitin included in this recipe come from. In case you forgot, these supplements can help prevent hip dysplasia or reduce the suffering of a dog who’s already got it.
Continuing with the top five ingredients, barley, oatmeal, and millet are all whole foods, showing that this food uses high-quality ingredients and primarily whole foods.
We mentioned the glucosamine and chondroitin in this mix, but there’s also plenty of omega fatty acids, both omega-3 and omega-6. This will help keep your Pitbull’s heart and joints in top health.
Check out the flavors, more reviews, and the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I love about it: It meets every criterion for an excellent dry dog food blend for Pitbulls.
What I wish it had: I can’t think of any way to improve this blend for Pitbulls, but a slightly more affordable price wouldn’t hurt any Pitbull parents!
Best on a Budget: Amazon Brand WAG Dry Dog Food with Grains
- Real Meat First: Sustainably raised salmon is the #1 ingredient; protein helps keep your dog at his...
- No added salmon by-product meal, corn, wheat, soy, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives
Usually, when we’re talking about budget-priced dog foods, something has to be sacrificed. For example, you might find inferior ingredients or important supplements might be missing from the blend altogether.
Surprisingly, this blend from WAG, Amazon’s in-house brand of pet products, isn’t lacking anything that your Pitbull needs to remain in peak health. It passes all of our aforementioned criteria at a price that’s pretty hard to beat.
Naturally, it’s the incredibly affordable price that earned this food its best on a budget title. However, a look at the ingredients list will let you know that it’s not made with a bunch of cheap fillers.
Here are the top five ingredients in order: salmon, whole grain brown rice, chicken meal, barley, grain sorghum.
The five main ingredients are all whole foods. Very impressive for such a low-priced dog food.
Even better, the primary ingredient is salmon, which is a high-quality whole-food animal-based protein source. That’s exactly what you want to see as the first ingredient for a Pitbull food.
The chicken meal listed as the third ingredient is another great inclusion since it provides plenty of glucosamine for your Pitbull’s joints.
With 400 milligrams of glucosamine, WAG’s dry food contains the same amount per serving as my top pick, though this blend is lacking the chondroitin that you’ll find in the other.
Thankfully, this WAG blend also contains plenty of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to help keep your Pitbull’s heart and hips in high health.
Back to the ingredients. Our second ingredient, whole grain brown rice, as well as the barley and grain sorghum are all whole foods. In truth, most of the ingredients on the list are whole foods, such as tomatoes, blueberries, and raspberries.
Consisting of primarily whole-food ingredients and containing vital health-boosting compounds for Pitbulls like omega-3 and glucosamine at a very affordable price, WAG dry dog food is one of my favorite budget-buy foods for any Pitbull.
You can see more reviews and the latest price on Amazon by clicking here.
What I love about it: High-quality at an affordable price- a great combination by anyone’s standards.
What I wish it had: I’d love to see some chondroitin in here, but at this price, it’s a minor sacrifice.
Best Grain-Free: Orijen Grain-Free High-Protein Dry Dog Food
- ORIJEN Original dog food delivers a diet rich and varied in fresh, whole animal ingredients from free-run...
- With 85% quality animal ingredients, ORIJEN nourishes dogs according to their natural, biological needs
It’s certainly not cheap, but if your Pitbull has food allergies or sensitivities and requires a grain-free diet, then this blend from Orijen is one I would recommend.
Crafted with 85% animal ingredients, this dog food contains far more meat than most blends and uses almost exclusively whole food ingredients, even outside of protein sources. For instance, you’ll find whole pinto beans, whole chickpeas, whole pumpkin, collard greens, whole carrots, whole apples, and more in this recipe.
When it comes to protein sources, this blend offers quite a few. The first five ingredients alone are entirely protein sources. Truthfully, you have to go pretty far down the ingredients list to find the first non-animal ingredient.
Here are the first five ingredients in order: deboned chicken, deboned turkey, flounder, eggs, whole Atlantic mackerel. Sure sounds like your Pitbull will be eating better than you on this blend!
All of these first five ingredients are top-quality animal-based proteins. Not just that, but they’re clean sources and very diverse, ranging from livestock birds to multiple fish! Further down the ingredients list, you’ll find still more animal proteins, ensuring your dog is getting a diverse and healthy assortment of amino acids.
These ingredients are good for more than just protein though. Taking a look at the guaranteed analysis label reveals that this blend is high in both glucosamine and chondroitin, containing 600 milligrams of each. That’s plenty to help keep your Pitbull’s joints healthy and working.
In conjunction with the glucosamine and chondroitin, the included omega fatty acids will also lubricate and protect your Pit’s joints, while simultaneously working to keep their heart healthy.
This dry dog food has more than 3,500 five-star reviews on Amazon, showing how much users of this food loved it. Many users report improvements to their dogs’ health such as better skin, healthier coat, reduced allergic reactions, and improved energy levels.
Made up of primarily animal ingredients and offering all the nutrients and supplements your Pitbull needs to maintain prime health, this Orijen dry dog food is my favorite grain-free blend for Pitbulls. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, it might be a great fit, and you can click here to check the current price on Amazon.
What I love about it: It’s made with 85% animal ingredients and contains plenty of omega fatty acids, chondroitin, and glucosamine.
What I wish it had: This price is a bit out of reach for many Pitbull owners. While it’s not unreasonable considering the exceptional quality of this food, it is a steep price to pay for dry dog food.
Picking the right dry dog food for your Pitbull doesn’t have to be complicated. Look for a food that meets the criteria we’ve laid out and you’re sure to have made a good choice.
Of course, you can simplify things further by sticking to one of my recommendations. I’ve offered four great options that range from a budget-priced pick to a premium option on the far end of the price spectrum, so there’s a good fit there for every Pitbull and person.
Hopefully, you’ve already found the right food option on this list. I’m confident it will help your Pitbull to live their best life, maintaining peak health well into their latest years.