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, providing them with a balanced and nourishing diet is essential for growing into healthy adults.
To calculate how much food they need, you must understand that feeding recommendations for puppies are according to their age rather than 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 per day
12-24 weeks (3 to 6 months): 3 Cups of Puppy Food per day
24-52 weeks (6 to 12 months): 2 x RER (Resting Energy Expenditure)
At the 6-month mark, Pitbull puppies complete most of their growth but also become at risk of obesity. You need to recalculate their caloric requirements until they turn one. For that, you can use the Resting Energy Expenditure formula:
RER = 30 x Bodyweight (kgs) + 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 weekly, adjusting their caloric intake to ensure proper growth without becoming 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
Puppies younger than 3 months may not finish their food in 4 meals. Increase how often you feed them by one or two daily feedings until they can eat all their food without being stuffed.
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, focus on providing the mother with the nourishment needed to produce extra milk to 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 cup 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 its 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 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 naturally stop nursing around the eighth week, encouraging the pup to seek food elsewhere. You can initially reduce the portion of water to ½ cup with ½ cup of puppy food. Though whenever the puppy stops taking their mother’s milk, you must put their diet plan into effect.
Give them 2 cups of puppy food daily, divided into 4 or 5 meals. If they cannot finish most of the food at each mealtime, increase the number of meals by one until they can eat all their daily allowance. Keep the food out for around 30 minutes, and remove any left after your puppy finishes.
8 to 10 Weeks:
Food Type: Puppy Food
Food Quantity: 2 Cups
Feeding Frequency: 4-6 times a day
Through the age of 8to 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. 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. Ask the shelter or seller 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, its appetite increases 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 steadily and check their digestive health 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 several 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:
Kibble doesn’t need any introduction. It’s 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 both the AAFCO and the USDA have approved.
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 contain fat derived from fish and vegetable oils along with fruits and vegetables for micronutrient support.
Look for a 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 among all other types. Its crunchy texture is also a natural plaque remover and ensures better dental health. And lastly, it costs the least compared to canned food or 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 comes 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 has a much shorter shelf life than kibble. Also, giving puppies wet food at every meal can 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 your puppy eats and will help you fine-tune their meals according to their preferences and potential health complications.
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.
When Do Pitbull Puppies Become Adults?
On average, Pitbulls reach adulthood at around 18 months or 1.5 years. The time for some Pitbulls can be as long as 2 years, but most pups reach maximum size at the 18th-month mark — transition to adult dog food between 12 to 18 months of age.
Can You Overfeed Pitbull Puppies?
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 a half cup of water every two hours.
What Should You Not Feed Pitbull Puppies?
Puppies are mischievous creatures and eat anything they can get their teeth on. However, you must keep the following items away from them at all costs:
- Raisins and Grapes
- Dairy Products
Can Pitbull Puppies Eat Raw Meat?
Yes, puppies can start eating raw meat when they become 8 to 12 weeks old. Make sure you purchase boneless meat from a reliable source and cut it into bite-sized pieces. Avoid feeding them excessive amounts of raw meat to avoid bone shards and provide nutrients from their regular puppy food.