Different pit bull breed puppies, including American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, and everything in-between are lovable balls of joy which sometimes get a bad rap. With a loving home, these stocky, muscular breeds typically grow into very loyal, fun-loving, active dogs.
To account for their higher level of activity, you’ll need to feed your pit bull pup more calories to suit his active lifestyle. After all, you want your little pooch to stay happy and healthy. As long as you ensure he gets the right amount of high-quality puppy food until he reaches adulthood, your little one will reach his maximum potential for healthy growth.
First six weeks
During the first four-to-six weeks of life, your little pit bull puppy needs to feed on his mother to get the nutrition and antibodies he needs to stay healthy. Mother’s milk is high in protein, fat, and sugar, all of which your little pup needs for proper growth. These vital nutrients are all needed by growing puppies for healthy bone and muscle development.
If your pup’s mom isn’t around, you’ll need to provide him with puppy milk replacement formula, which you can find at your local pet supply store. Puppy formula is specifically developed to mimic the ingredients found in his mother’s milk to provide a healthy start in life. Follow the directions on the package to give your pup the proper amount of formula.
Six to twelve weeks
Starting around five-to-six weeks old, you’ll need to wean your pit bull pup onto solid food. To ensure she grows into a happy and healthy adult, choose a wet or dry puppy-specific food for her to eat. These foods are higher in fat and calories than those designed for adult dogs, which give her the nutrients her growing body needs.
Choose foods that follow the nutritional standards recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, an organization that does rigorous testing to determine the required nutrients of adult dogs and young pups. This should be listed on the label of the food you purchase.
Mix the puppy food with warm water or puppy formula to form a mush that your little pit bull can eat. Start out with a mix of 75-percent liquid to 25-percent wet or dry puppy food. Over the course of four-to-six weeks, slowly increase the amount of food by 25 percent and decrease the liquid by the same amount. Plan on feeding your little one about four times a day, recommends Cesar’s Way.
Twelve weeks to twelve months
Pit bull breeds and mixes are generally medium-sized dogs under 50 pounds in size. Most medium-sized dogs are fully grown between 8-and-12 months old, according to the American Kennel Club. During this time, feed your pit bull a puppy-specific food, following the package directions for his size.
Because of variations within the bully breeds, some pit bulls may even grow into large-size dogs, ranging between 50-to-100 pounds in size, which means they might not be fully mature until around 16-months of age.
It’s important not to under- or over-feed your growing puppy until he reaches maturity because too little food prevents him from reaching his maximum potential and too much food can cause him to develop too rapidly. Rapid development is something to avoid, especially for large pit bull mixes which may have bigger dogs in their lineage. Developing too quickly can lead to bone and joint issues later in life for larger dogs warns DVM360.
To ensure that your pit bull doesn’t eat all his food at once, as bully breeds are prone to do, consider feeding him in two meals or get him a slow-feeding bowl. These types of bowls prevent your dog from scarfing down all of his food at once with ridges that he has to eat around.
Feeding considerations and growth
Pit bull breeds are generally very active dogs, so you’ll need to feed them accordingly as puppies and as adults. They may require more calories than your average medium-sized dog, but if you see your pup is packing on the pounds, you may need to cut back on what you are feeding, recommends PetMD. Pit bulls are stocky, muscular dogs but shouldn’t be round. Too much weight can put pressure on their joints, which isn’t healthy.
When feeding your pit bull puppy, also keep in mind that big-chested bully breeds are prone to a very serious condition called gastric dilation volvulus, commonly known as “bloat,” according to WebMD. So, don’t let them eat too rapidly or feed them an hour before or after exercise.