How Much To Feed A Pitbull Puppy

It’s no secret that diet plays the most crucial role in a puppy’s mental and physical growth. 

But for new owners, calculating how much food their Pitbull puppy needs to eat can be challenging. Especially because you have to factor in their age, activity level, and other elements.

Luckily, we’ve created a complete guide on how to feed your growing best friend just for you. 

So without further wait, let’s dive in!

How Much To Feed A Pitbull Puppy?

Pitbull puppies go through several growth spurts during the first year of their life. During this period, it is essential to provide them with a balanced and nourishing diet so they can grow into healthy adults.

In order to calculate how much food they need, you must understand that puppies are fed according to their age rather than their weight. You need to provide them with enough food to support muscle and bone development, but not so much that it causes obesity or abnormal growth.

Here is a rough estimate of how much to need to feed a Pitbull puppy compared to their age:

8-12 weeks (Less than 3 months): 2 Cups of Puppy Food in a day 

12-24 weeks (3 to 6 months): 3 Cups of Puppy Food in a day

24-52 weeks (6 to 12 months): 2 x RER (Resting Energy Expenditure)

At the 6-month mark, Pitbull puppies complete most of the growing, but also become at risk of obesity. That’s why you need to recalculate their caloric requirements until they become a year old. For that, you can use the Resting Energy Expenditure formula:

RER = 30 x Bodyweight (kg) + 30

Let’s take a 7-month-old puppy that weighs 7kg as an example. Their RER will be 240 calories, and their total caloric requirement will be twice that, which is 480 calories (2 x 240). 

You can then use this calorie figure and compare it with the calories per cup of your puppy food to calculate how many cups your Pitbull puppy needs. Try to weigh your puppy every week and recalculate their caloric needs to ensure that they do not become obese.

How Often To Feed A Pitbull Puppy

Besides quantity, it’s also important to know how frequently your puppy needs food, especially if you want to prevent hypoglycemia. For Pitbull puppies, use the following feeding routine:

Less than 3 months: 4-6 times a day

3 to 6 months: 3 times a day

6 to 12 months: 2 times a day

Some puppies younger than 3 months will have trouble finishing their food in 4 meals. Thus, you can increase their total daily intake (2 Cups) from 4 to 5 or even 6 equal meals a day. 

Weekly Schedule For Feeding Pitbull Puppies

Just below, you will find a detailed week-by-week feeding plan for Pitbull puppies to ensure optimal growth in the long run:

2 to 4 Weeks:

Food Type: Milk

Food Quantity: As per needs

Feeding Frequency: Free-Feed

Although you probably shouldn’t adopt puppies until they have started weaning, it is worth knowing what they feed on if your dog ever gives birth. A 2 weeks-old puppy is completely reliant on its mother’s milk and should be able to nurse as they wish.

Instead of the puppy itself, you should be focused on providing the mother with the nourishment needed to produce extra milk and support her pups. Keep the puppies close to their mother so they can receive milk and warmth as they wish.

4 to 6 Weeks:

Food Type: Milk and Gruel

Food Quantity: 1 Cup (¼ Puppy Food with ¾ Water)

Feeding Frequency: Once a day

As the puppy ages, it will gain enough strength to stand on its feet and explore its surroundings. While they should still receive their mother’s milk, you can start testing puppy food and gauge their interest. 

Mix a ¼ cup of puppy food with ¾ cups of water to create the gruel. You can place it near the puppy once every day to see if they display any interest. Although they won’t eat the full cup, a bite or two will help their system accept this new addition to their diet. 

Along with the gruel, your puppy will still nurse on its mother several times a day to receive all the essential nutrients to develop their digestive system further.

6 to 8 Weeks:

Food Type: Gruel/Puppy Food

Food Quantity: 1 Cup Gruel/2 Cups Puppy Food

Feeding Frequency: 4-6 times a day

The sixth to eighth week period is the peak stage of weaning puppies off their mothers. During this time, most puppies will start to consume the gruel regularly while balancing off their remaining nutritional needs with milk. 

The mother will also stop nursing around the eighth week naturally, which will encourage the pup to seek food elsewhere. You can reduce the proportion of water to ½ cup with ½ cup of puppy food initially. Though whenever the puppy stops taking their mother’s milk, you need to put their diet plan into effect. 

Start giving them 2 cups of puppy food a day, divided into 4 or 5 meals. If they are unable to finish most of the food at each mealtime, increase the number of meals from 4 or 5, to 6 equal meals a day. Keep the food out for around 30 minutes, and remove any that’s left after your puppy is done.

8 to 10 Weeks:

Food Type: Puppy Food

Food Quantity: 2 Cups

Feeding Frequency: 4-6 times a day

Through the age of 8 to 10 weeks, you need to feed your puppy the same 2 cups a day diet divided into 4-6 meals a day. Your Pitbull will also start to appreciate treats more during this period, so don’t be afraid to throw them a few kibbles when they behave well. Just don’t overdo it, as they still need most of their energy from the puppy food.

Many Pitbull puppies will be making their way to new homes at this age. If you too are welcoming an older puppy from a store, ask the shopkeeper what brand and formula they’re currently feeding. Buy some of that food and gradually transition the puppy to the new food so they don’t suffer any digestive issues.

10 to 12 Weeks:

Food Type: Puppy Food

Food Quantity: 2 Cups

Feeding Frequency: 3-4 times a day

As your puppy reaches the 3-month mark, you will notice their appetite increase gradually. Their bowls will be emptier after each mealtime, and your pup will grow more active and energetic. Keep them on the same feeding routine, and if possible, start reducing the number of meals from 4 to 3 a day.

Maintain a log of their weight to see if they’re growing at a steady rate and check their digestive health every now and then for signs of trouble. If your puppy develops loose stools or refuses to eat for more than 24 hours, get them checked by a vet as soon as possible.

What To Feed A Pitbull Puppy

No matter how regularly you feed your Pitbull puppy, they won’t grow any healthier unless you put quality food in their bowl. And that’s where the decision of selecting puppy food comes in. 

You can find a number of brands, flavors, and textures of puppy food in the market. Although it might take some taste-testing to see which one your Pitbull likes, knowing about the few basic types can make your decision easier. 

With that in mind, here are a few broad categories of puppy food that you can select from:

1. Kibble Food

Kibbles don’t need any introduction. They’re the most common, convenient, and cost-effective type of dog food. You can find a variety of kibble formulas from different brands, but you should always pick one that is approved by both AAFCO and USDA.

Another thing to look for in kibble food is the ingredients. Whole meat sources like beef, chicken, and fish are essential for muscular breeds like the Pitbull. The puppy food should also contain fat derived from fish and vegetable oil, as well as fruits and vegetables for micronutrient support.

Look for puppy food that contains a minimum of 30% protein and 8% fat on a dry matter basis. And try to avoid formulas that list ingredients like corn, wheat, and soy. 

One of the benefits of kibble food is that it has the best shelf life amongst all other types. Its crunchy texture also acts as a natural plaque remover and ensures better dental health. And lastly, it costs the least compared to both canned food and homemade diets.

2. Wet Food

Wet food, or canned food, is known best for its delightful taste and aroma that dogs find irresistible. It contains slices or chunks of meat dipped in broth or gravy. The meat can be sourced from various sources, such as chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, and more.

On average, a can of wet food contains 75% water. While this makes the food extremely delicious and hydrating, it also ruins much quicker than kibbles. It is also not suitable to give puppies wet food in every meal, as it could cause loose stools.

But on the brighter side, an occasional wet food meal won’t hurt and might even increase your puppy’s appetite, especially if they’re a picky eater.

3. Homemade Food

Homemade food is complex and difficult to prepare but also the most nourishing of all diets. It gives you complete control over what goes over your puppy’s plate, and will help you fine-tune their meals according to their preferences and potential health complications.

In order to prepare puppy food at home, you’ll want to consult a vet and discuss the list and quantity of ingredients required. The meals can be served fresh after cooking, blended and converted into paté, or frozen for later. 

Just be careful when handling raw meat as it could contain salmonella and pose a risk of cross-contamination.

FAQ’s

When do Pitbull puppies become adults?

Pitbulls reach adulthood at around 18 months or 1.5 years of age on average. The time for some Pitbulls can be as long as 2 years, but most pups reach maximum size at the 18th month mark. You should start transitioning to adult dog food between 12 to 18 months of age.

Can you overfeed Pitbull puppies?

Yes, it is possible to overfeed a Pitbull puppy if you leave their food out 24/7. An overfed puppy will experience vomiting, bloating, and soft stools. In rare cases, they might also suffer from GDV, a potentially life-threatening condition that causes the stomach to twist.

How much water should a Pitbull puppy drink?

A Pitbull puppy needs 0.5 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. However, very young puppies will fulfill their hydration needs through their mother’s milk. As they start to wean and shift to solid food, they will need half-cup water every two hours.

What should you not feed Pitbull puppies?

Puppies are mischievous creatures and will eat anything they can get their paws on. However, you must keep the following items away from them at all costs:

  • Chocolate
  • Raisins and Grapes
  • Avocadoes
  • Onion/Garlic
  • Dairy Products
  • Caffeine

Can Pitbull puppies eat raw meat?       

Yes, puppies can start eating raw meat when they become 8 to 12 weeks old. Make sure that you purchase boneless meat from a reliable source and is cut it into bite-sized pieces. Avoid feeding them excessive amounts of raw meat as they need other nutrients from their regular puppy food, as well as portions that might contain bone shards.

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