Here is the updated list of best to worst food for your American Pitbull. For all owners of American Pitbull Terrier, I recommend American Pitbull 101 to better understand the breed and basic needs of your dog.
As many of you know, I’m a huge advocate of feeding pets an unprocessed diet. This is exactly what they were designed to eat in the wild.
Unfortunately, most people are feeding their Pitbulls lesser quality foods because they either can’t afford to feed a better food or they simply don’t know what constitutes good nutrition for their pet.
Therefore, I have formulated the best to worst food for your American Pitbull. Let’s get started
Remember: Your Pitbull Is A Carnivore
First and foremost, when you’re deciding what to feed your dog, it’s important to remember that your pet is a carnivore.
Your pitbull’ss genetic makeup and internal workings remain essentially the same as his wild, carnivorous ancestors.
Hunting And Eating
Your dog can’t move his jaw side to side, which is called lateral mandibular swing, and they can’t do that. Dogs’ mouths only work up and down.
Carnivores grab their prey, tear them into chunks with their sharp, interlocking teeth, and gulp it down. They do not chew.
Digestion In Carnivores
All carnivores including dogs have very short digestive tracts compared to vegetarian animals.
This is because the wild carnivores eat foods, of course, that are heavily contaminated with pathogens. They’re not removing the colon or they’re not removing any parts of the prey’s body that could have bacteria-laden in their system.
So, their digestive tracts are designed to get foods in and out
very quickly. They’re not designed to ferment foods like vegetarians.
Diets of Carnivore
The ancestral diet of a carnivore includes lots of variety and seasonal variability.
Certain prey was more available at certain times of year than the other. So there was actually a lot of variety in the diet.
They thrived on consuming fresh, living, and whole foods but not clean foods.
But their diet was, in fact, moisture-dense, which means a lot of water. The prey was primarily water, about 70 percent. It was high in protein and minerals, and moderate in fat.
Best Food For Your American Pitbull
The best food for your American pitbull has high moisture, high protein, moderate fat, and low carbohydrate.
The vast majority of pet foods on the market today are the exact opposite. They’re low moisture, low to moderate, poor quality protein and fat, and high in starch or carbs.
All that to say, our goal is to mimic the ancestral diet of dogs as closely as you can afford to do.
Nutritionally Balanced Raw, Homemade Diet
It’s a nutritionally balanced raw is the best food you could feed your pitbull.
It’s critically important that you know your diet is balanced. Because nutritional deficiencies over time will cause degenerative diseases in pets.
Additionally, if the diet doesn’t have proper fat or calcium to phosphorus balance, it can actually cause a myriad of health problems, especially in growing animals.
With homemade food, you’re in complete control of every ingredient that enters your pet’s body. Of course, raw food is just that.
It’s raw and unadulterated. It contains all of the enzymes and phytonutrients that are typically destroyed when processing occurs.
Benefits of Homemade Raw Diet
The great thing about homemade, raw diets is that you get to handpick the ingredients. So, if your dog is allergic to chicken, you could pick a different protein source.
You also get to know deep in your heart that you’ve washed the veggies. You know that there are no pesticides on them. You’ve seen the quality of the meats that you’re going to be feeding.
This should provide enormous peace of mind. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to find ethical pet food companies that use locally sourced or even US-grown ingredients.
Homemade food also gives you the flexibility to include a lot of nutritional variety in your pet’s diet. So you can buy seasonal fruits and veggies that are on sale. You can certainly use produce from your garden or your local farmer’s market as well.
Nutritionally Balanced, Cooked, Homemade Diet
Nutritionally balanced, cooked, homemade diet. This option gives you all of the benefits I just discussed minus the benefits of the free enzymes and phytonutrients found in living foods.
Interestingly, there are few nutrients that are more bioavailable when cooked such as lycopene.
Benefits of Homemade Cooked Diet
- Some animals prefer cooked food.
- Some animals prefer warm food. Some clients prefer to cook the food.
- There are also some medical conditions such as recent GI surgery or pancreatitis where cooked food
is just a smart idea for your pet.
Commercially Available, Balanced, Raw Food Diet
Again, it’s critically important that the diet is balanced.
You should be quite aware that there a lot of foods on the market out there that are not nutritionally complete. These foods should say right on the label, “For supplemental or intermittent feeding.”
I don’t recommend feeding unbalanced foods without adding in the missing nutrients or pets can have nutrition-related medical problems in the future.
How to Find Commercial Raw Diet
Commercially available, balanced, raw food diets are found in the freezer section of small or privately owned, upscale pet boutiques.
Actually now, some big-box stores are also starting to carry a larger selection of frozen raw diets.
You can also find an excellent selection online.
There are new raw foods entering the market every month with a variety of different attributes: veggie, bone, and fat content vary widely between products.
Veggie Content In Commercial Raw Diet
Commercial diets range from zero to 40 percent roughage or veggies.
Actually, that impacts the number of synthetic vitamins and minerals that must be added to the diet to make it nutritionally complete.
The veggie content will also impact digestive and stool health. If you have a dog that suffers from chronic constipation, you would want to choose a food with higher veggie content.
Fat Content In Commercial Raw Diet
Commercially available raw food diets range from low fat to high fat.
If you have an obese pitbull, you would obviously pick low-fat food for your dog. But if you have a highly active pitbull that loses weight quickly, you choose a higher fat food for that dog.
Ground bone, bone meal, or a bone meal equivalent mix will be added to raw diets for mineral balance.
Some raw foods contain bone pieces that are actually pretty big. in fact, too big to be safely cooked. So, if you choose to buy commercially available raw food and you want to cook it. You need to make sure it’s safe to do so.
Minerals And Vitamins in Commercial Raw Diet
Some raw food companies pride themselves on only using, happy, healthy, grass-fed animals and organic veggies.
While other companies use animal meats and products imported from China and other countries. As well as factory-farmed and GMO-fed animals raised in feedlots here in the US.
Some companies use whole foods to meet the majority of their diet’s trace mineral requirements. While some other companies use very few ingredients and actually rely on ethical vitamin and mineral premixes to meet their nutritional requirements.
Dehydrated or Freeze-dried Raw Diet
If you can’t feed fresh raw food, a good alternative is the dehydrated freeze-dried category that’s been reconstituted with water.
These diets are shelf-stable. And they’re super convenient. To make them biologically correct, all you have to do is just add water.
Dehydrated or freeze-dried raw diets haven’t been processed at high temperatures. In many cases, the nutrient value has been retained minus a balanced fatty acid profile.
Remember the definition of raw food means it will spoil if it’s left at room temperature. These foods by definition are not the same as raw food diets.
But they can be a great choice for people on the move. People who are camping with their dogs, pets that go to the daycare, or need to be boarded.
It’s really the next best thing to a truly raw, fresh food diet. Make sure the brand that you select is nutritionally balanced for all life stages.
Commercially Available Cooked or Refrigerated Food
This is a new category of pet food that is exploding in the marketplace.
Obviously, the food has been gently heating processed. And the proteins have been slightly denatured. But the moisture content is excellent. And the food is fresher.
So the nutrient content is better than the other choices that will be lower on this list.
You’ll find these foods in the refrigeration section of pet stores. Now, actually, in many human grocery stores as well.
The quality of raw materials going into the cooked, refrigerated pet food ranges from absolutely terrible to excellent. So you do need to do your research when you’re choosing brands.
Human-grade Canned Food
If the Website doesn’t say the ingredients are human-grade, then they’re not.
Pet food made with human-grade ingredients is a great deal more expensive than feeding feed-grade or animal-grade canned food.
Human-grade Canned Food will typically be found in boutiques and usually in small, independent retailers that really focus on great quality foods.
Super Premium Canned Food
Super Premium Canned Food is typically found at big-box stores. For example Petco and PetSmart or in your traditional veterinarian’s office.
Super Premium Canned Foods contain feed-grade ingredients. This in parentheses means foods not approved for human consumption. But the moisture content is
much more biologically correct than dry food.
Many have excellent protein, fat, fiber, and carb ratios.
Human-grade Dry Food
Dry food is not biologically correct in terms of moisture content compared to the ancestral diet. Additionally, even grain-free dry foods contain unnecessary starch. This can cause inflammation issues in your pet.
Human grade is very important because the ingredients have passed quality inspection. This means it doesn’t contain poor quality or rendered unidentified or mystery proteins.
But as I mentioned, unlike dry food that has been baked and it will clearly say on the label, “baked,”. You should assume, if it doesn’t say that, that it’s been extruded. It means you are probably feeding a small number of carcinogens on a daily basis.
Carcinogens are known to cause cancer in dogs.
This is a little scary. If you think about the fact that most pets on the planet are eating dry food for their entire lives. And the fact that the cancer rate is skyrocketing in companion animals
Super-premium Dry Food at Local Stores
Super-premium dry food found at big-box stores and your local, conventional veterinary clinic.
These extruded dry foods are made with feed-grade ingredients not approved for human consumption. But are still usually, naturally preserved.
Most of these foods contain added grains or starches. These are not species-appropriate and may harbor the risk of mycotoxins.
Grocery Store Brand Canne or Dry Food
Grocery store brand canned food and dry food choices ranked below super premium dry foods.
The moisture content is more biologically appropriate in these foods. But they usually contain high levels of unnecessary grains and synthetic toxic preservatives.
Semi-moist Pouched Food
Semi-moist pouched food, which is really bad.
In order to make the food semi-moist, we have to add an ingredient called propylene glycol. And this is an undesirable preservative that actually is the second cousin to ethylene glycol(antifreeze).
While propylene glycol is approved for use in pet foods, it’s unhealthy for dogs to consume.
An Unbalanced, Homemade Diet: Raw or Cooked
Last on the list is an unbalanced, homemade diet –raw or cooked. Dead last on the list for good reason.
The idea that some pet owners believe that they can offer their pitbull, let’s say a chicken breast and some veggies and call it a day.
A lot of people I know are caring but quite uneducated. And they’re feeding things like chicken wings, backs, and necks with some cheap ground beef to a growing puppy.
Yes, the food is homemade and yes, it’s fresh, which is great. However, the food is nutritionally unbalanced. It can cause significant, irreversible, and potentially fatal health problems.
If you discover that your pitbull is eating from the lower half of the list, set a goal to feed better quality foods.
I encourage you to figure out where the diet you’re serving right now falls on the list, and then strive for improvement by feeding more nourishing foods.