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Best Dog Foods For Pitbull Terriers: Puppies, Adults & Seniors

Are you looking for the best dog food for your Pitbull? There are several important factors to consider when planning your dog's diet, especially for an active, athletic, and muscular breed like the American Pitbull Terrier. In this comprehensive review, we look at our favorite dog foods for Pitbulls at each stage of their life.

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Last Updated: November 15, 2023 | 14 min read

Best Food For Pitbulls

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American Pitbull Terriers, or the Pitbull as we shall refer to him throughout this guide, is arguably one of the most common dogs in America given his shelter statistics. For Pitbulls who are lucky enough to find their forever home, their owners are then struck with the next hurdle, nutrition! Approximately 90% of all dog owners do not know, or feel confident about their pup’s nutritional needs. This means that most new owners don’t know what to look for when choosing a dog food for their Pitbull.

In this guide, you can expect to find the best dog food for your Pitbull at every stage of life. You’ll also learn about Pitbull nutrition, and how to alleviate common Pitbull health issues with nutrition where possible. The world of nutrition is confusing. Most Pitbull owners don’t know what to research when picking the right dog food.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) have issued guidelines that set out nutritional needs for dog food, and all reputable dog food manufacturers must follow these nutritional guidelines. Of course, all of the recommendations in this guide follow these guidelines, so you can rest assured that all of the favorites on our list really are the best dog foods for your Pitbull.

At A Glance: Our Favorite Foods For Pitbulls

Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula High Prairie
Our Rating

Puppy Pick

Taste of the Wild

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
Our Rating

Adult Pick

The Farmer’s Dog

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Dog Food
Our Rating

Senior Pick

Blue Buffalo Wilderness

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Pitbull Puppy Nutrients

Pitbull puppies have a lot of growing to do. Because of that, they have specific nutritional needs that are different from fully grown Pitbulls. The first nutrition rule for puppies is to feed them puppy formula, not an adult recipe. They should be fed high-quality kibble right from the start. This helps their healthy development into adults and will help minimize health risks for them later in life. You’ll want to test dog food formulas aimed at medium to large breeds that have high energy levels.

Puppy formula has a higher calorie and fat content which is needed for their growth. Ideally, they should be fed food that provides them with 22% to 32%, protein as it allows their muscle and bone growth as well as energy to grow.

Adult Pitbull Nutrients

Adult Pitbulls are muscular dogs with high energy levels. This means they need a diet that is rich in high-quality protein. Protein not only keeps their energy levels up throughout the day, but it also helps to stimulate muscle growth and repair. You should aim for food that contains at least 25% protein, and any more is just a bonus! If your Pitbull is a working dog, then ideally, he should be eating protein that accounts for at least 30%.

Of course, calorie intake will depend entirely on his size and his activity levels. The average Pitbull will consume around 1100 calories per day. Working Pitbulls which can include the Red Pitbull, have similar food needs to other active breeds like huskies. They need more energy, and therefore he should look to consume around 1700 calories per day. If he is much smaller or larger than the average-sized Pitbull, which is 45 pounds, then his nutritional needs will vary.

Thankfully most kibble will detail how much to feed your dog according to his weight. If you are in doubt, then ask your Veterinarian who will be able to provide tailored advice. Pitbulls should be fed their recommended food intake across two or three separate meals, and free feeding should be avoided because the Pitbull will eat all day long if he is allowed too! This goes for many different Pitbull mixes too!

Senior Pitbull Nutrients

Senior Pitbulls are considered to be aged 7 years or older. All dogs are different so it is best to look at your dog’s activity needs, and overall health. If you have questions, speak to your Veterinarian who will know your Pitbull’s health and needs. Pits can be picky about the food they eat. Keep this in mind when picking a dog food for your aging Pitbull, especially if they have sensitive stomachs.

Similar to Senior Boxer food needs, the average senior Pit will need around 875 calories per day. This is much less than a younger and more active Pitbull. It is important to feed him fewer calories because otherwise, he will quickly pile on the pounds. This will further affect his already weakening bones and joints. For this reason, recipes with added Glucosamine and Chondroitin are particularly important for the senior. He should also be given food that contains much less fat as senior dogs find this harder to digest as they get older.

If your senior Pitbull is struggling to crunch their dry dog food then adding a little bit of water helps to soften the kibble. It can also release the smell and flavors of the food which will encourage him to eat it too!

Best Dog Foods For Pitbull Puppies

Best Pitbull Puppy Food
Pitbull puppies need nutrient-dense higher protein food compared to adults & seniors.

Below are five of our natural dry dog kibble recommendations that are made from natural ingredients. Each dog food meets overall nutritional content requirements as guided by the AAFCO. Pitbull puppies have different nutritional needs than adults and seniors. Puppies usually need food that’s very nutrient-dense and can meet the demands of a growing puppy. Below you’ll find our favorite foods for your Pitbull puppy.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Puppy Food
  • Grain-free puppy food.
  • High protein formula.
  • Taurine for brain health.
  • DHA for puppy development.
  • No corn, wheat, soy or by-products.
  • 423 Calories per cup.
  • 36% Protein, 16% Fat, 5% Fiber.

This recipe is packed with real chicken which is a great source of rich protein to aid his developmental growth. It is 100% grain free which is suited to puppies with a sensitive stomach. It also includes Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from fish oil which supports healthy brain development and eye health.

We love that this kibble is infused with their exclusive Lifesource Bits. These proprietary mixtures include extra antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are great for your puppy’s health.

Canidae Pure Puppy Formula

Canidae Puppy Small Breed Formula
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • Made with only 9 ingredients.
  • Contains no artificial preservatives.
  • Made with probiotics for digestive health.
  • Made in Texas.
  • 520 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 4% Fiber.

This is also 100% grain-free which means it is suited for puppies with a sensitive stomach. They guarantee that probiotics are added to every bite which supports a healthy digestive system and immune system. It is also full of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids from fish and flaxseed. Each of these ingredients promotes healthy skin and coat. It also includes leading levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin which supports healthy joints.

We love that it only uses 9 simple ingredients. Shorter ingredient lists usually mean higher nutrient densities and less likelihood of food allergies.

Taste of the Wild Puppy

Taste of the Wild Puppy Food HP
  • Our choice for Pitbull puppies.
  • Made with real buffalo.
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 17% Fat, 5% Fiber.

It is free from grain, corn, wheat, filler, artificial flavors, artificial colors or preservatives. Not only is it 100% grain-free for those puppies with a sensitive stomach, but it is made with the best natural ingredients. It is also full of live and naturally occurring microorganisms which will aid his digestive system.

We love that actual buffalo is the first ingredient. This food is also packed with omega 3 and 6 fatty oils which are key to healthy skin and coat, which is really important for the Pitbull.

Merrick Puppy Formula

Merrick Puppy Food For Bullies
  • Made with healthy grains and chicken.
  • DHA for brain development.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin and coat.
  • Essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 406 Calories per cup.
  • 28% Protein, 16% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.

Deboned chicken is the first ingredient. This provides your Pitbull puppy with the protein that he needs for muscle development. It uses grains such as quinoa which provide him with energy sources for his active lifestyle. It is formulated with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as DHA, Glucosamine and Chondroitin, which provide a balance of much needed minerals and vitamins.

We love that this recipe is budget-friendly. It’s also grain-inclusive, which is usually what most dogs will start with before determining any stomach or grain sensitivities.

Hill’s Science Diet Puppy

Science Diet Giant Puppy Food
  • Additional calcium for bone development.
  • Made with natural ingredients.
  • Glucosamine for joint support.
  • Veterinarian recommended.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 394 Calories per cup.
  • 24% Protein, 11% Fat, 3% Fiber.

This recipe is aimed at large breed puppies, so it has the optimal level of calcium for controlled bone growth which is important for his potential Hip Dysplasia issues. It also has fish oil that provides your pup with the nutrients he needs for brain and eye development, as well as a healthy coat. It is also made from lamb which offers an alternative to the most common chicken recipes.

We love that this recipe has been voted number 1 by Veterinarians in America. This is common with all their food lines, and means you can be sure your Pitbull puppy’s nutritional needs are being met.

Best Dog Foods For Adult Pitbulls

Adult Pitbull Eating Food and Snow
Adult Pitbulls need more calories, but that should be spread between more frequent feedings with less nutrient-dense food.

Just like our puppy food recommendations, our recommendations for adult Pitbulls are based on natural dry food ingredients. These also follow the AAFCO guidelines and have the best overall nutritional content. Adults will have a higher calorie requirement. Similar to puppies, it should be broken down across multiple feeding sessions instead of feeding them higher-calorie foods. Feeding your adult dog with a puppy formula will have them putting on the pounds quickly. Below are our favorite foods for your adult Pitbull.

The Farmer's Dog

The Farmer's Dog Food Products (3 flavors)
  • Cooked fresh, flash-frozen, and shipped to you.
  • Personalized meal plans.
  • 4 healthy, vet-designed options: beef, chicken, turkey, or pork.
  • Made with human-grade ingredients (no fillers or preservatives).
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • Calories and nutritional values vary based on recipe.

The Farmer’s Dog produces an all natural dog food that is made from human-grade ingredients. Real meat and veggies give your Pitbull lots of energy to chase and maintain his lean body, especially if you mix it with some homemade rice. Real meat is the first ingredient in all four recipes (chicken, beef, turkey, and pork), and each is supplemented with vitamins and minerals to maintain your Pittie’s figure. Take the survey to determine a customized meal plan for your unique pup and get it shipped right to your home. This grain-free food is perfect for tummies that are sensitive to rice or wheat or if your dog is on a GF diet.

We love that The Farmer’s Dog is customized to your Pitbull’s dietary needs and is such high quality that you could eat it too!

American Journey Adult Dog Food

Grain Free Adult Food American Journey
  • Our Choice for Adult Pitbulls.
  • Budget-friendly dog food.
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Free of corn, wheat, and soy.
  • Rich in vitamins and nutrients.
  • 390 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 14% Fat, 5% Fiber.

American Journey produces a budget-friendly dog food, that’s high in rich protein. This will help your Pitbull by providing energy to chase and maintain his lean body. The nutrients in this formula help maintain an adult Pitbull’s stature, and this is exactly what the adult Pitbull needs. Real salmon is the number one ingredient, and it is packed full of vitamins and minerals to maintain a healthy body. It is also grain-free for those with sensitive stomachs.

We love that this offers one of the highest levels of protein, which is great for active dogs.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Adult

Blue Buffalo Rocky Mountain Recipe Adults
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Antioxidant rich blend.
  • L-carnitine promotes leanness.
  • Made with no by-products.
  • Chicken-free formula.
  • 393 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 15% Fat, 6% Fiber.

This contains real bison to offer protein-rich meat, which is much needed for large breeds such as the Pitbull. It is also packed with it’s exclusive ‘Lifesource Bits’ which is a precise blend of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, as well as Glucosamine and Chondroitin for his joint health. Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are also included which is great for his healthy skin and coat needs.

We love this is not a grain free recipe. This makes it perfect for Pitbull parents who’s pups have a sensitive stomach.

Taste of the Wild Adult

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Food
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Contains real buffalo.
  • Nutrient-dense recipe.
  • Probiotics for gut health.
  • Manufactured in the United States.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber.

This recipe offers an optimal blend of amino acids which are great for your Pitbull’s heart. The fatty acids will improve your dog’s skin and coat health. The antioxidant boost will provide all the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs to stay healthy. It is highly digestible and grain-free for Pitbulls with sensitive stomachs.

We love that Buffalo, Chicken meal and Lamb meal are the first three ingredients. Dog food made with high amounts of animal protein will help your Pitbull put on muscle and keep it on.

Canidae Adult Formula

Canidae Grain Free Salmon
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Contains only 8 food ingredients.
  • Free of soy, wheat, and corn.
  • No artificial colors or flavors.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 496 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber.

Canidae has created this recipe with just 8 key ingredients that keep it simple and natural. In addition to those ingredients are added vitamins, minerals and probiotics which aid a healthy immune system. These ingredients also promote a healthy digestive state. It is 100% grain-free and it does not contain anything that your Pitbull does not need.

We love that the first three ingredients are Salmon, Salmon meal and Menhaden Fish meal. This equals a dog food that’s packed full of fatty acids that will promote both skin and coat health that your Pitbull needs.

Earthborn Holistic Adult Formula

Earthborn Holisitic Adult Grain Free
  • Grain and gluten-free formula.
  • L-carnitine promotes lean muscle.
  • Made with real bison.
  • Natural fibers from fruits & veggies.
  • 400 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 18% Fat, 4% Fiber.

Bison meal is the first ingredient in this recipe. This means that it is full of rich protein meat for the Pitbull’s high energy levels and muscular body. It also includes dried eggs which are another great source of protein. It is 100% grain-free and is full of antioxidants such as Apples, Blueberries, Carrots, Spinach and Cranberries for a healthy oxidative balance.

We love that this is a chicken and poultry free recipe. It’s great for Pitbulls who are either allergic or intolerant of these commonly used meats.

Best Dog Foods For Senior Pitbulls

Senior Pitbulls Dog Food Options
Senior Pitbulls need fewer calories as they slow down, and should have food that contains higher fiber amounts.

Your senior Pitbull is like any senior dog and will start to slow down over time. So, it’s important to get food that matches their energy levels so they don’t get overweight. While Pits will have more energy in their senior years than a mastiff, the mastiff’s senior age foods (and all senior breeds for the most part) are pretty similar in nutrients. Senior formulas will generally have lower calorie counts and be higher in fiber. This is to promote gut health, and also give your pup some regularity to their bathroom frequency. The foods below are our favorites for Senior Pitbulls.

Wellness Complete Health Seniors

Wellness Core Senior Dog Food
  • Made with deboned chicken.
  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • Taurine for heart health.
  • No corn, wheat, or soy.
  • No artificial preservatives or colors.
  • 416 Calories per cup.
  • 22% Protein, 10% Fat, 4.25% Fiber.

Wellness complete health offer a recipe with the senior dog’s complete health in mind. It has delicious deboned chicken for his rich protein needs, as well as healthy peas to help satisfy his hunger. It also includes blueberries and spinach for his oxidative balance, as well as flaxseed that provides him with his omega 3 and 6 fatty acid needs.

We love that this dog food provides all the nutrients that a senior dogs needs without cutting down on the calorie content. This makes for a great formula for active senior dogs who still need the energy.

Blue Buffalo Senior Formula

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Senior Formula
  • Our choice for Senior Pitbulls.
  • Grain-free recipe.
  • Promotes healthy skin & coat.
  • Made with no poultry by-product meals.
  • No corn, wheat, or soy.
  • 380 Calories per cup.
  • 18% Protein, 10% Fat, 7% Fiber.

This recipe is packed with their exclusive ‘Lifesource Bits’ which is a unique blend of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants tailored to the senior Pitbull. The recipe also includes Glucosamine and Chondroitin for his mobility and joint health. It rounds out the recipe with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which is great for his aging skin and coat nourishment.

We love that this recipe is 100% grain free for senior pups with allergies or intolerances to grains.

Merrick Senior Formula

Merrick Senior Dog Food Formula
  • Grain-free senior recipe.
  • Made with less fat and lower calories.
  • Real deboned chicken is first ingredient.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat health.
  • Glucosamine for joint health.
  • 370 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 3.5% Fiber.

This grain-free recipe is aimed at senior dogs who still need rich protein to maintain their muscle mass. It also includes added Glucosamine and Chondroitin for healthy joints and bones. It is rich in antioxidants, such as apples and blueberries, as well as omega 3 and 6 fatty oils to maintain a healthy skin and coat.

We love that this offers a high protein and low calorie ratio, which means it supports his muscle mass but without the risk of piling on the pounds.

NUTRO Senior Formula

Nutro Essentials Senior Formula Dog Food
  • Made with Non-GMO ingredients.
  • Omega fatty acids for skin & coat.
  • Natural fiber aids in digestion.
  • Antioxidants boost aging immune systems.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 317 Calories per cup.
  • 23% Protein, 12% Fat, 4% Fiber.

This recipes promotes overall vitality with its extra added blend of vitamins and minerals for the senior Pitbull. It includes omega 3 and 6 fatty acids which continue to support skin and coat health, as well as wholesome nutrition to support a strong immune system.

We love that the first ingredient is chicken meal. This happens to be a great source of Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Senior dogs.

Nulo Senior Formula

Nulo Senior Dog Food
  • Grain-free senior formula.
  • Glucosamine boost for joint health.
  • Probiotics for digestive health.
  • L-carnitine for metabolism support.
  • Calcium and phosphorus for bone health.
  • 396 Calories per cup.
  • 30% Protein, 12% Fat, 5% Fiber.

Nulo is made with premium ingredients that is packed full of nutrients that closely resembles the canine ancestor’s diet. It is also 100% grain free which means that it is suited to those with senior stomachs, and thanks to the BC30 probiotic strain it results in much healthier stools too.

We love that is offers a unique BC30 probiotic strain, which is believed to be 100 times stronger than other probiotics, which is great for his gut, metabolism regulation and overall resilience.

Best Foods For Overweight Pitbulls

Overweight Pitbull Foods
If your Pitbull happens to get overweight, you’ll want to make sure that you put them on special food to reduce weight.

Is your American Pitbull Terrier overweight? If so, you’ll want to have your dog eating a food that’s engineered to help them shed some pounds. This means picking a dog food that’s lower in calorie count and is less nutrient-dense. Below are our favorite foods for overweight Pitbulls that need to shed a few pounds. Both of these when moderated and matched with exercise, should help your pup trim up in no time.

Instinct Raw Healthy Weight

Instinct Raw Boost Healthy Weight
  • Grain-free formula.
  • Made with cage-free chicken.
  • No soy, corn, or wheat.
  • No by-product meal or potato.
  • Made in the United States.
  • 368 Calories per cup.
  • 32% Protein, 11% Fat, 7.5% Fiber.

In order for your Pitbull to lose weight it is important to feed him a less calorific diet, but one that still provides him with a high protein content for his high energy levels. Be sure to follow the package guidelines closely and ensure that he continues his recommended exercise plan as directed by the Veterinarian. Instinct Raw Boost has created this special formula with specific fibers that keep him feeling full, whilst keeping the recipe 100% grain-free. It also includes fat-burning L-carnitine to maintain a healthy metabolism.

We love that this food isn’t too hard on your budget, and still gives your overweight pup a kibble option that they will actually eat despite having reduced calories.

Bullymax Dog Food

Purina Pro Weight Management
  • Our choice for overweight Pitbulls.
  • Budget-friendly formula.
  • Lower calorie and fat content.
  • Has nutrients for muscle retention.
  • Fortified with probiotics for gut health.
  • 330 Calories per cup.
  • 27% Protein, 9% Fat, 5.5% Fiber.

This budget-friendly formula by Purina’s Pro line is designed specifically with the overweight dog in mind. Pitbulls are no exception to gaining weight, so eating a food with a lower calorie count can help. This food provides plenty of energy with natural ingredients. This food serves Pitbulls and other working dogs well, having a lower calorie and fat content than other foods on this list. Purina Pro is one of our favorite brands for many breeds, including the Pitbull, due to their blend of cost, quality and high-quality ingredients.

We love that this food is specifically made for overweight dogs, but still has the nutrients to maintain muscle density. If you have an overweight pup, this will help keep them in shape while giving your Pitbull the energy it needs to become and stay more active.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Pitbulls need dog food for sensitive stomachs?

This is something to consider on a dog by dog basis. Some Pitbulls have sensitive stomachs, and some do not. We recommend all dogs start on a grain-inclusive diet, then later moving to a chicken free dog food, or a pea free dog food if they start having stomach issues.

How about if my Pitbull has sensitive skin?

If your Pitbull has sensitive skin, it’s best to look at a food that’s high in Omega fatty acids. American Journey’s salmon and sweet potato formula is a great mix of budget, without sacrificing nutritional value. Taste of the Wild and any of the other manufacturers on this list that have fish as a base ingredient will help maintain skin health.

What if I want my Pitbull to gain weight?

We recommend you feed your Pitbull a blend of wet food and dry food to achieve weight gain. There are some manufacturers that make a calorie-dense dry kibble. This can be a good solution, but you’ll need to make sure they aren’t just including additional ingredients of no nutritional value.

Is Taste of the Wild the best dog food For Pitbulls?

We like Taste of the Wild as our favorite dog food for Pitbull puppies, and we think that their Adult Formula is excellent as well. In fact, we’ve reviewed many of Taste of the Wild’s formulas, and all of them are top-notch. But there are also other brands that compete, at a lower price point if the cost is something that’s important to you.

What about Blue Buffalo for Pitbulls?

Blue Buffalo also makes several excellent dog foods, as we’ve mentioned in this review. They have several different formulas, and even Pits with sensitive stomachs can react well to their Wilderness line. Their Wilderness lines have less ingredients and are usually all grain-free.

Should blue nosed Pitbulls eat a different formula?

The color of your Pitbull’s coat won’t make a difference when it comes to their food. Blue Nose Pitbulls should eat the same nutrition as Red-Nosed Pitbulls, White Pitbulls, or any color combination. What matters more is the size of your dog, and the size of their parents, which can help project how big they will be.

Can I feed my Pitbull cheaper dog food?

We don’t recommend feeding ANY dog cheap dog food. While there are some budget-friendly brands, many of them contain ingredients that will not lengthen the life of your dog. We encourage you to buy what your budget allows, but do your best to treat your dog’s meals as you would your own.

Are there dog food formulas for muscle growth?

Some foods claim to promote muscle growth. The truth is, they often include ingredients that can be harmful to your Pitbull longer term. We recommend that you stick with a high-quality dog food, and mix it with a wet food should your pup need to gain additional muscle or weight.

Final Thoughts

Being a high energy and muscular dog it is important to feed your Pitbull a natural high-quality kibble that is specifically designed for a larger high energy dog, with a high protein content. This is important if he is a working dog.

Nutrition is the easiest way to keep your Pitbull healthy, as long as it is age-appropriate and suited to his health needs and allergies. Keep in mind that his skin conditions might dictate his nutrition, so be sure to work with your Vet. Choosing one of our recommended foods will not only ensure that your Pitbull is getting the best quality nutrition, but it will also keep him happy and healthy.

Merrick vs Blue Buffalo Dog Food

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