The image that springs to mind when one hears pitbull is often not complementary to the dog itself. With incidents recorded and attributed to Pitbulls, a lot of people associate these dogs with ferocity. Pitbull puppies are felt to be unfriendly towards other puppies and even towards children.
Socializing a pitbull puppy well and training it well can ensure better results as pets in them. Among many facets of training is a proper diet for a baby pitbull.
For this, their diet needs to supply essential nutrition while keeping up with every stage of growth. Contrary to their popular image, well-trained pitbull puppies grow up to be delightful pets and family dogs.
- Deciding your puppy food brand
- Feeding schedule
- How much to feed a pitbull puppy?
- Pitbull puppy diet and nutrition
- Nutrition details for pitbull puppy
- How much protein does a pitbull puppy need
- What do you do when your pitbull puppy refuses to eat?
- Common feeding problems with Pitbulls
- Assembling a homemade pitbull meal plan
- Growth Chart
Deciding your puppy food brand
We have to start at the very beginning here. Your new pet pitbull puppy has just arrived home. It has till now been fed on some particular brand of puppy food.
It is important to find that from the breeder. This way may provide a sense of continuity to the little puppy.
Being brought from a dog shelter or breeder is a phase of angst and uncertainty for puppies. They are being uprooted from an environment they grew up in.
To make matters worse, they are in an unknown home and badly miss all the furry little friends. In such a situation, at least the food brand needs to be familiar for the little one to settle in well.
When it is time to change to some other brand, it is advisable to wean the pup slowly. Mixing in the new brand in small percentages and letting your puppy adjust is the best way.
This allows the owner to slowly increase the new brand portion while giving the puppy time to ease into it. There are also lesser tummy problems this way.
Another advantage of easing into a new diet or food brand is to ascertain any components the puppy might be allergic to. This can create a lot of problems if so. An incremental increase in the final puppy food brand helps.
Any puppy is like a human kid when growing up. They need to be fed every few hours to keep their blood sugar levels from falling. This is true for pitbull puppies as well.
When a pitbull puppy comes home, it has a very efficient metabolism. This means it needs to be fed every few hours. With this duration of food, the puppy is firmly on a growth curve.
An older puppy needs lesser calories for every pound of body weight. The fast metabolic rate and the rate of growth both steady in weeks. Even the interval at which the puppy can go without food increases as weeks go by.
Following is a general direction to follow for pitbull owners in fixing a feeding schedule for your pitbull puppy.
- A puppy less than four months of age needs to be fed four times a day.
- From four to six months of age, three meals a day is enough.
- Once your puppy is more than six months, two to three meals a day is all it needs.
How much to feed a pitbull puppy?
This brings us to the all-important question – how much should one feed a pitbull puppy. Before we embark upon this, it is important to remember that owners should weigh their puppies regularly.
It is challenging for pitbull puppies to shed extra weight. Let the growth chart be an able guide to ideal weight. This will also help to monitor the amount of food to feed your puppy.
Any reasonable puppy parent who gets their pitbull pup from a breeder or a dog shelter would bring a puppy not less than 8 weeks old.
This is because, before this stage, puppies are too tiny and can barely walk steadily. They are almost wholly dependent on the mother’s milk in the first two to three weeks. It is not wise to try to wean them off.
After that stage, gradual weaning is possible with a 1:3 mixture of puppy food with water. Even a pitbull puppy would not be eating much at this stage. When the puppy goes beyond 4 weeks, they begin eating really well and showing a spurt in growth.
From the 5th week onwards, the amount of water has to be reduced, and the solid food ratio increased. The amount of food the puppy takes increases, as does the dependence upon the mother’s milk.
When your new pitbull puppy is home and in his 9th week, two cups of food a day is to be the amount fed. This has to be divided equally and given to the puppy over four meals per day. If the puppy does not finish the meal completely, remove the excess from his bowl.
This routine has to continue until the puppy is well into its 12th week at his new home and used to a feeding routine. It is important to keep food out for only 10 to 20 minutes and then remove the bowl, along with any food that has not been consumed.
This will teach the puppy to eat what is given to it without being fed again in between. By this time, the number of feeds would have reduced to 3 per day.
Pitbull puppy diet and nutrition
We have seen how to space out a puppy’s feeds as he grows older. The question is, what goes on the puppy’s plate? Whatever we feed the pitbull pup needs to be balanced to meet all its nutritional requirements.
We have already discussed how to wean the new puppy off the brand that it was on at the breeder/shelter. As the pitbull puppy grows, what would be its ideal diet like?
This can either be ready-made dog food or homemade food. Let us have a closer look at these options:
Ready-made dog food
The advantage of this choice is one just has to stock up on enough food all the time, and they are done. At mealtimes, all that needs to be done is to give the puppy a prescribed amount of this food.
Another plus with store-bought dog food is that these are well proportioned in all nutrients. They also come with definite measures for your puppy’s daily nourishment requirements.
They also are specially formulated to take care of sensitive tummies that pitbull puppies are known for. This helps to combat possible skin allergies in pitbull puppies.
This store-bought dog food comes in two forms – kibble and wet food.
This has to be the most convenient form of dog food. It is easy to digest and spares your puppy the tummy runs they are prone to. This form of food is easy to store and carry. It is also available in different flavors. One may keep trying different combinations to see which their puppy prefers.
Kibble is easier for puppies to digest. However, much they might be designed for sensitive tummies, it is imperative to check ingredients. Avoiding soy, corn, fructose, and glucose syrups will give your puppy a better chance.
This is also a form of commercial dog food. It contains a lot of water, in fact, 75% water. This is what lends it its name. Moist food form is much more acceptable to dogs, and they consume this eagerly.
However, this form of dog food might not be perfect for carrying with you. It might also spoil easier than kibble.
It is best to mix up both types of foods to feed your pitbull puppy. Each has its own advantages. Mixing up types of foods provides dogs the variety they look for. It also gives them complete all-around nutrition.
Homemade dog food
In contrast to readymade dog food, some owners prefer to make dog meals themselves. This is akin to taking on a lot of responsibility for oneself. Meals have to be prepared on time, day in and day out.
There is also the all-important factor of nutrition. Readymade meals have this going for them in that all nutrients are packed into the formula.
For a homemade dog diet, each ingredient has to be chosen with care in correct proportions. Check the puppy’s weight daily and calculate calories to arrive at the correct quantity.
It is best to consult with your vet and then arrive at the most suitable ingredients. There are two variants of homemade dog food – raw or BARF diet and cooked diet.
A raw diet is also called the BARF diet. If you wonder why this form of diet is endorsed at all, it is all about ancestry. Your pitbull pup has evolved from its wild ancestors who lived and hunted for life.
Raw meats and bones made up their diet, with some vegetables and fruits thrown in for good measure. This kind of diet for a pitbull needs to be high on hygiene since raw meats spoil easily.
Vets had different opinions on the efficacy or wisdom of this diet. However, they do not rule out the goodness of this at all. While their coats might get shinier, some contend their wild side might get exposed. As it is, Pitbulls have quite the reputation for their violent streak.
Alternatively, one may cook each meal for the new pitbull puppy at home. This also needs to be vetted by a vet to provide balanced nutrition to the puppy.
A proper meal plan may then be chalked out. This would include timings, how much to feed, and what to put into the food being made.
Nutrition details for pitbull puppy
Pitbull puppies, like most other puppies, have nutritional needs that are different from adult dogs. However, since they are a large breed, their dietary requirements are large too.
Pitbulls need a perfect proportion of protein, fat, and calcium to support their growth. As stated already, they have sensitive stomachs and are prone to developing allergies.
It is important to look for a ‘large breed’ label when choosing store-bought puppy food.
How much protein does a pitbull puppy need
Given their large size, pitbull puppies have a large protein requirement. For a puppy, it might be a challenge to digest too much protein though. This is why it is enough to keep protein levels at 34-50% of their diet.
In the same vein, growing pitbull puppies need fat too. Around 15% fat content in their diet would be just right to help them gain optimum weight. More than this could put pressure on their skeletal system.
Coming to their skeletal system, it is not right to load their diet with calcium either. Contrary to popular belief, too much calcium is not beneficial either.
The most optimum percentage of calcium would be 1.1 to around 1.5% of their dietary needs. There is also a cap of around 30% or less carbohydrate in a pitbull puppy diet.
Do all these numbers and details seem daunting to you? Rest assured, that need not be the case. Most store-bought dog foods for large breeds take care of these requirements adequately.
This is why it is easy to see why people often opt for these rather than preparing food themselves. There are specific requirements other than those already mentioned above.
To get the best results with store-bought dog food, look for the AAFCO statement. This statement signifies that your choice of dog food meets nutritional requirements at every stage of growth.
AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This body provides every kind of information on all major dog breeds to help every dog owner take care of their dogs.
In spite of all the care and nutritional requirements, making the right composition of dog food at home is not rocket science either. All one needs is guidance from a good vet to get going.
What do you do when your pitbull puppy refuses to eat?
In all of the food and diet discussions above, it is easy to get distracted from a puppy that is refusing meals.
It can be very worrisome for the owner when their puppy is not eating. It is easy to begin fretting over what happened to the puppy and overthinking oneself out. Before you begin to panic, ask yourself if this is a one-off or happening more regularly.
After all, a little puppy that is still getting used to a new place and people. It is learning new things and new routines. It is easy for the little fellow to feel a bit overwhelmed.
Call your vet if your pitbull puppy goes off food for more than 12 hours. Also, look for over tiredness, diarrhea, or vomiting, which can indicate other problems. Always trust your vet to know what is best for your baby pitbull.
Common feeding problems with Pitbulls
One of the aspects of a pitbull puppy is its sensitive stomach. It is well known that they are allergic to a lot of things. These stomach allergies can translate into skin problems for these puppies.
Along with these already known facts is a characteristic that is typical to pitbull puppies. They tend to almost gobble up their food without chewing adequately.
This, of course, is a recipe for stomach upsets and troubles for the puppy. Inevitably they get bloated, and this gas can cause severe distress.
Not to be taken lightly is the problem that gas causes in Pitbulls. This is called gastric torsion and can even cause the puppy to lose its life in severe cases. The pet parent must find the right diet for a pitbull puppy to minimize bloating.
Like in humans, giving your puppy small meals rather than one big meal could be a solution. This will allow the puppy to digest the small amounts that it eats.
Another thing to keep in mind is to allow the puppy to rest soon after it has had its feed. Making it run or exercise immediately after it has eaten will cause more gas and bloating.
The seating position also helps to eliminate the formation of gas in little pitbull puppies. Their feeding bowls need to be positioned in a manner that allows the puppy to eat in comfort. This will go a long way in preventing instances of bloating.
Assembling a homemade pitbull meal plan
Bringing in proteins, vegetables, and fruits together in recommended proportions helps in the steady growth of pitbull puppies. Let us have a look at each of these requirements in detail.
It is important to remember that there will always be a debate about plant versus animal protein in the diet. Both deliver the same punch to growing pitbull puppies.
However, a meat-based diet will obviously be richer in amino acids than a plant-based diet. These can be supplemented along with vitamins and minerals to come up with a balanced diet.
Meats need to be fatty portions to provide pitbull puppies their share of protein and fat. This can be from a combination of chicken and fish.
Switching between either of these will provide the much-needed balance to their diet. Chicken in the diet will help the puppy to put on muscle as well as weight.
If your puppy develops an allergy to any meat product, you will need to switch to something else. Introducing the puppy to a new food can cause this to happen in Pitbulls. This would necessitate discontinuing the diet at once and see the vet.
Another essential supplement to your pitbull puppy diet is a healthy oil. This can be obtained from fishes like tuna and salmon. They can be alternatively supplied in the form of pills to help your puppy grow well.
There are multiple data on the ideal growth chart for pitbull puppies all over the Internet. For easy reference, here is one such that will help new pet parents keep a close eye on their new baby.
|Age in months||Weight in kg (pounds)||Weight in kg (pounds)|
|1||4.2 (9.2)||3.3 (7.2)|
|2||9.0 (19.9)||7.5 (16.6)|
|3||14.2 (31.3)||12.1 (26.7)|
|4||19.0 (41.8)||16.4 (36.2)|
|5||22.9 (50.6)||20.0 (44.0)|
|6||26.1 (57.4)||22.7 (50.1)|
|7||28.4 (62.6)||24.7 (54.4)|
|8||30.1 (66.4)||26.1 (57.5)|
|9||31.5 (69.4)||27.1 (59.7)|
|10||32.7 (72.0)||27.9 (61.5)|
|11||33.7 (74.3)||28.6 (63.1)|
|12||34.5 (76.0)||29.1 (64.2)|
Do Pitbulls make good pets?
Contrary to belief about their violent nature, Pitbulls actually make loyal and caring pets. They can be trained to be very good around children.
How to choose the best dog food?
Always look for large breed dog food for Pitbulls. Checking the composition will help to know the exact ratio of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. One can then decide depending upon this. Look for AAFCO guidelines when buying a particular brand.
What to look for in dog food?
Besides protein-carb balance, look for recipes without corn and soy. The presence of Omega-3 and DHA helps joints and blood vessels.
How much should a pitbull be exercised?
Pitbulls are big dogs. They tend to put on weight easily and then find it tough to shed. It is important for pitbull owners to exercise their dogs regularly. This will help keep the dog in good shape.
They need to be walked or taken for runs regularly. However, they should not be allowed to pull when taken for walks.
Should Pitbulls be verbally disciplined?
A pitbull should never be hit. That is the ground rule in their training. These are smart dogs, and verbal reprimands are enough for them.
They are tough, muscular dogs by nature with a reputation for being violent. Getting a trainer is a must for pitbull owners. A good trainer will give obedience as well as anger management lessons to your puppy.
Pitbulls can be fun, loyal, and engaging pets. They might have a ‘reputation’ alright, but with dedicated training and patience, their fierceness can be turned around to a relation of lifelong loyalty.