The 7 Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls (2021 Reviews)

Pitbulls are some of the most loyal, friendly, and affectionate dogs anyone can have. And while their high energy levels are perfect for an active family, they also mean that Pitbulls need the right balance of protein, fat, and vitamins to keep their bodies healthy.

To help you find the right food for your dog, we researched hundreds of options, and thousands of verified reviews to find the 7 best dog foods for Pitbulls available now. We’ve included both grain-inclusive and grain free recipes in our recommendations, and options suitable for both adult Pitbulls and puppies. Here’s our list:

Our Picks for the Best Dog Food for Pitbulls

1. Taste of the Wild Ancient Wetlands Dog Food

BUY ON AMAZON

Taste of the Wild Ancient Wetlands is made to mimic the diet that wolves and other wild canines eat in nature. This high-protein (36%) dog food is made with cage free duck as the first ingredient, and includes healthy grains such as millet, quinoa, and grain sorghum. Most importantly, it’s all natural and made in the USA by a family owned company.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for adult Pitbulls and puppies
  • Grain-inclusive (contains grains)
  • All natural, with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • First 5 ingredients: Duck, duck meal, chicken meal, grain sorghum, millet
  • 36% Protein, 20% Fat, 37% Carbohydrates, 3% Fiber, 4% Omega Fatty Acids (dry matter basis)

Pros:

  • High protein dog food, perfect for Pitbulls
  • Cage free duck is the first ingredient
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Added probiotics for healthy digestion
  • Includes antioxidant rich foods such as quinoa, chia seeds, and blueberries
  • No corn or wheat fillers
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Does not include glucosamine or chondroitin for joint health

2. Canidae Pure Lamb & Pea Dog Food

canidae pure lamb and pea dog food

BUY ON AMAZON

Canidae Pure Lamb & Pea is a grain-free, high protein kibble that’s perfect for Pitbulls with food sensitivities. It’s made from just 10 total ingredients — including lamb, turkey meal, and chicken meal as the first three — and contains no artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for adult Pitbulls
  • Grain free
  • Limited ingredient recipe, made from only 10 total ingredients
  • First 5 ingredients: Lamb, Turkey Meal, Chicken Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Garbanzo Beans
  • Made in Texas; all ingredients are USA sourced with exception of New Zealand lamb
  • 36% Protein, 20% Fat, 29% Carbohydrates, 4% Fiber, 4% Omega Fatty Acids (dry matter basis)

Pros:

  • High protein, low carbohydrate diet for lean muscle
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for improved skin and coat health
  • No corn, wheat, soy filler or animal byproducts
  • Includes antioxidants and a probiotic blend support healthy digestion

Cons:

  • More expensive than other Pitbull food options

3. Nulo Frontrunner – Beef & Lamb Dog Food

nulo frontrunner beef barley lamb dog food

BUY ON AMAZON

Nulo Frontrunner is a quality dry dog food that’s packed with healthy, all-natural ingredients. Beef is the first ingredient in the kibble, with 77% of total protein coming directly from animal sources, not vegetables. Nulo also contains flaxseed for Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as a probiotic blend for digestive support.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for adult Pitbulls
  • Grain-inclusive (contains grains)
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • First 5 ingredients: beef, chicken meal, oats, barley, brown rice
  • 30% Protein, 18% Fat, 42% Carbohydrates, 5% Fiber, 5% Omega Fatty Acids (dry matter basis)

Pros:

  • 77% of protein is from animal sources
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for healthier skin and coat
  • Made without potato, corn, wheat, or soy
  • Includes a probiotic blend for improved digestion
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Higher carbohydrate content compared to other foods

4. Merrick Grain-Free Texas Beef and Sweet Potato Dog Food

merrick grain free beef and sweet potato dog food

BUY ON AMAZON

Merrick’s Texas Beef & Sweet Potato is another solid grain-free option, complete with Glucosamine and Chondroitin for joint and hip support. The recipe has a high 38% protein content for your Pitbull’s muscle development, and is made with only all-natural ingredients.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for adult Pitbulls
  • Grain free
  • Poultry free
  • Made without corn, soy, wheat, gluten, or artificial ingredients
  • First 5 ingredients: Beef, Lamb Meal, Salmon Meal, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes
  • 38% Protein, 17% Fat, 37% Carbohydrates, 4% Fiber, 4% Omega Fatty Acids (dry matter basis)

Pros:

  • High protein dog food, with a high protein/fat ratio
  • Includes Glucosamine and Chondroitin for hip & joint support
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • Available in 10 varieties, including duck, lamb, rabbit, and salmon recipes
  • Made in the USA in a Texas facility

Cons:

  • Contains both peas and potatoes, which may not work for some dogs
  • Pricier than other options

5. American Journey Active Life – Salmon, Brown Rice & Vegetables

american journey active life dog food

BUY ON CHEWY

American Journey Active Life is an all-natural dry food that’s great for both adult Pitbulls and puppies. The recipe includes salmon as the first ingredient, as well as nutrient dense foods such as sweet potatoes and carrots. It’s made in the USA in California and includes no soy, wheat, or corn fillers.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for adult Pitbulls and puppies
  • Grain-inclusive (contains grains)
  • First 5 ingredients: Salmon, Menhaden Fish Meal (type of herring), Brown Rice, Peas, Rice Bran
  • All natural, with no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • 28% Protein, 17% Fat, 48% Carbohydrates, 7% Fiber (dry matter basis)

Pros:

  • Recipe includes no wheat, corn, soy, or animal byproduct meals
  • Salmon and flaxseed for Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • High fiber content from brown rice and other grains
  • Affordably priced compared to other quality dry kibble
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Higher carbohydrate percentage compared with other options — keep this in mind for dogs watching their weight

6. Diamond Naturals Chicken and Rice Formula Dog Food

diamond naturals chicken and rice formula dog food

BUY ON AMAZON

Diamond Natural Chicken & Rice is the most affordable option on our list — but don’t let that fool you. This kibble includes all natural ingredients such as cage free chicken, kale, blueberries, chia seeds, and pumpkin. It’s also suitable for both adult Pitbulls and puppies, and is made without wheat, corn, or soy fillers.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for adult Pitbulls and puppies
  • Grain-inclusive (contains grains)
  • All natural; made without artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Contains superfoods such as kale, spinach, blueberries, and chia seeds
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Brown Rice, Pearled Barley, Chicken Fat
  • 29% Protein, 18% Fat, 44% Carbohydrates, 3% Fiber, 3% Omega Fatty Acids (dry matter basis)

Pros:

  • Cage free chicken is the first ingredient
  • Salmon oil and flaxseed for Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • No corn, wheat, or soy fillers
  • Probiotic strains for enhanced digestion
  • Affordably priced
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Not suitable for Pitbulls who require limited ingredient formulas due to a sensitive system

7. Wellness Natural Complete Health Dog Food – Chicken and Oatmeal

wellness complete health chicken and oatmeal

BUY ON AMAZON

Wellness Complete Health packs a host of ingredients to support your Pitbull’s immune system and joint health. It also includes chicken as the only protein source (great for identifying allergies), and healthy fruits and vegetables such as spinach, apples, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Key Features:

  • Suitable for adult Pitbulls
  • Grain-inclusive (contains grains)
  • First 5 ingredients: Chicken, Chicken Meal, Oatmeal, Barley, Peas
  • 27% Protein, 13% Fat, 52% Carbohydrates, 4% Fiber, 3% Omega Fatty Acids (dry matter basis)

Pros:

  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin for hip and joint support
  • Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health
  • Contains a mix of vitamins, minerals, and taurine
  • Chicken is the only animal protein source
  • Made in the USA

Cons:

  • Higher carbohydrate percentage compared with other foods — keep this in mind for dogs watching their weight

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Buying Guide for Dog Food for Pitbulls

Guide provided by Marguerite Larsen

In this guide, we’ll answer the most common questions related to your Pitbull’s diet including their health and nutrition, how to choose the best wet or dry food, and proper portion sizing. We should also mention that this is not a substitute for veterinary advice — before changing your dog’s diet, be sure to consult your veterinarian.

Dog Food Labeling

A Pitbull refers to number of breeds — such as the American Pitbull Terrier, American Bully, and American Staffordshire Terrier — which have strong, stocky builds that require the right mix protein, fat, and vitamins to maintain.

Like human food, pet food is regulated by the FDA. But it’s also evaluated by another organization: the AAFCO, which instructs how dog and cat food is labeled.

The best food for Pitbulls should meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) guidelines for a “Complete and Balanced” or “100% Nutritious” meal, and follow the 95% rule. You can also buy formulated dog food to address common Pitbull health issues such as dental disease, obesity, or joint problems. We’ll dive into each of these topics below.

Complete and Balanced or “100% Nutritious”

Foods labeled as “Complete and Balanced” or “100% Nutritious” have been evaluated to ensure they contain the proper amounts of crude fat, protein, and carbohydrates in the correct ratios to meet the nutritional needs of a healthy dog. All of our recommendations in this article are AAFCO certified to be Complete and Balanced.

That being said, the quality of those ingredients can vary. That’s why you’ll also want to look for food that follows the 95% rule.

The 95% Rule

Ingredients on dog food labels are listed in order by weight. In other words, those listed first are the most commonly found ingredients in that food.

To meet the “95% rule”, animal ingredients on the front label must make up 95% of the total weight of the dog food, excluding water (note that this rule does not apply to vegetables). You should look for products that list an animal protein or a protein & carbohydrate in the product name. This ensures that the product is made up of real food and not low-quality fillers or byproducts.

“Chicken Dog Food” and “Salmon and Sweet Potato Dog Food” are examples of labels that meet the 95% rule.

High Quality Ingredients

While AAFCO certifications are a great place to start, you should know that these are minimum standards. When buying food for your Pitbull, look for high quality ingredients that are sourced from countries that maintain food regulations, such as the USA, New Zealand, Canada, and EU countries. Again, we’ve reviewed the ingredient lists on our recommendations to ensure they include only foods sourced from reputable areas.

Deceptive Labeling to Watch Out For

Certain labels on foods can signal lower food quality, as long as you know what to look for. Here are some deceptive marketing terms:

  • Avoid words like “Entree”, “Dinner” or “Platter” (e.g. Chicken Dinner), which only need to contain 25% of the item named.
  • The word “With” (e.g. Dog Food With Chicken), which only requires 3% of the item listed after the word “with”.
  • The word “Flavor” (e.g. Chicken Flavor Dog Food), which has no percentage requirement!

Wet vs. Dry Dog Food for Pitbulls

A common question many pet parents ask is whether to feed their dog wet or dry food. The good news is that both are fine (assuming you buy high quality products) as they contain the same essential ingredients to meet your Pitbull’s needs.

There are pros to each type. Dry dog food is less expensive, easier to store, and better for dental health, while wet food is often tastier, easier to eat, and more hydrating.

As Pitbulls are prone to dental issues, we recommend at least a portion of their diet be dry food. That being said, it’s fine to include a mix of wet and dry if you want to treat your Pitbull to special wet food every so often.

For more information on what to look for, see our article on the best wet dog foods.

Pitbull Health Issues and Nutrition

Allergies

While human allergies usually cause respiratory or dietary issues, Pitbull allergies usually manifest into skin problems such as dermatitis or ear infections. Thankfully, a hypoallergenic or limited ingredient diet can likely help.

For environmental allergies, such as dust, pollen, or mold, look for a dog food that’s high in Omega-3 or Omega-6 fatty acids. For Pitbulls with food allergies, try feeding a limited ingredient diet that relies on a single “novel” protein and allergy-friendly carbohydrate. A novel protein is a meat that’s not normally found in dog food — for example, goat, duck, venison, etc. We have a detailed guide on the best dog foods for allergies that outlines each type of food if you’d like to learn more.

If you suspect your dog has allergy symptoms, speak with your veterinarian to ensure you’re taking the proper course of action.

Dental Disease

Dental disease affects up to 80% of dogs by age two, but Pitbulls are especially susceptible. Dry dog food is better at preventing dental disease, as the hard kibble breaks down tartar during chewing. Given this, it’s best if a portion of your Pitbull’s diet is made up of dry food.

Pro tip: The best way to prevent dental issues for your Pitbull is to follow a proper oral care routine that includes regular tooth brushing and annual cleanings. Dog dental chews and dental water additives can also help.

Obesity and Hypothyroidism

Pitbulls are muscular dogs that are especially prone to obesity and hypothyroidism. For this reason, it’s wise to feed a pitbull a diet higher in protein. Advice on the exact protein level varies depending on who you’re talking to, with some advocating up to 35-40%. We recommend food with at least crude protein levels above 22% on a dry matter basis.

Before starting any new diet for your dog, speak with your veterinarian to rule out other underlying health conditions. Hypothyroidism is a serious medical condition that cannot be treated with diet alone.

Hip Dysplasia and Other Joint Issues

Because of their size and build, Pitbulls are also prone to hip and joint issues. Dog foods that contain glucosamine or chondroitin can help, but the amount your dog receives depends on the volume of food they eat. Because of this, you may be better off giving them a separate dog joint supplement.

Raw, Organic, and Grain-Free Diets

Raw, organic, and grain-free diets have become popular in recent years. You may have heard they’re better for your dog’s health — but do the claims stack up? In most cases they don’t.

Of these three terms, “Organic” is the only one that’s regulated. You won’t do any harm by feeding your Pitbull an organic diet, as dog food made from organic ingredients is likely to be higher quality. But, while this food certainly more expensive, there’s no conclusive evidence that it translates into better health.

Some pet parents also swear by raw and grain-free diets. However, research is mixed on their effect. For example, the FDA is investigating whether grain-free diets contribute to a serious heart condition in dogs called DCM. As of the time of this writing, there has been no direct link found between DCM and grain-free diets, however this is an ongoing investigation. We’ll update this article as new information is released, but you should keep this in mind when weighing the pros and cons of this diet. We’ve included both grain-inclusive and grain-free options on our list above.

Ultimately, the best food for your Pitbull is a high quality option that meets their individual needs. Before starting a raw or grain-free diet, we suggest that you speak with your veterinarian.

Dog Food for Pitbull Seniors

On average, senior dogs need about 20% fewer calories than regular adult dogs due to their decreased activity levels and metabolism. They generally do best with specialized diets that have high protein and fiber content, adequate fat, and lower amounts of carbohydrates. When purchasing food for an aging dog, look for products that are specially formulated for seniors.

How Much Dog Food to Feed Your Pitbull

How much dog food should you feed your Pitbull? The answer will depend on the type of food you decide to purchase. On the product labeling, there should be information about the amount (by weight or cup) to feed your dog based on size. Follow these directions, and remember that you may need to adjust the amount to fit your individual dog’s age, activity level, and metabolism.

dry dog food

For a mix of wet and dry food, it’s helpful to know that 3 oz. of wet food is equivalent to ¼ cup of dry food.

If you’re unsure about the amount to feed your Pitbull, or are worried that they’re not receiving adequate nutrition, be sure to reach out to your veterinarian.

Conclusion

There are many options for high-quality foods for Pitbulls, whether you’re interested in dry or wet options. As a general rule, opt for dog food that meets the AAFCO’s “Complete and Balanced” or ”100% Nutritious” certification requirements and follows the 95% rule for packaging. This will ensure that your Pitbull’s food contains all the nutrients they need for a complete and balanced diet.

References

AAFCO Labeling Requirements
https://petfood.aafco.org/Labeling-Labeling-Requirements#labeling

Dog Food Labeling
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/how-to-read-a-dog-food-label/

Types of Dog Food
https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_multi_dry_versus_wet_food
https://www.aspca.org/news/grain-free-pet-food-helpful-or-harmful-diet

Pitbull Health
https://animalhealthcenternh.com/client-resources/breed-info/american-pitbull-terrier/

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