Pit Bulls are active, hardworking canines and need a well-balanced diet to help them grow from rambunctious puppies into strong dogs. But with all the different dog food brands out there, how can you tell which will take care of your puppy’s needs?
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In this article, we’ve collected the top five best dog foods to help your Pit Bull puppy gain weight and muscle and have included in-depth reviews for each. Armed with these reviews and our super-informative buyer’s guide, you’ll never lose time wading through the pet food aisle again!
The 10 Best Foods for Pitbull Puppies to Gain Muscle
Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein
|Main ingredients||Beef, liver, meat by-products, chicken|
Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein wet food for puppies is a tasty beef and rice entrée with 23 essential nutrients and real beef as the first ingredient. This protein-packed can contains antioxidants to boost the immune system and DHA to promote eye health and brain development. It is specifically designed to support a more active lifestyle and a tasty way for your Pitbull puppy to get the energy, protein, and healthy fats they need to turn fuel into lean muscle.
Purina Pro Plan Development and Purina Pro Plan Performance high-protein dry kibble puppy foods are also available and pair well with our Vet’s Choice canned puppy food. While these foods can support a variety of breeds, they are ideal for your highly active Pitbull as they grow in size and weight.
Purina products are made in Purina-owned facilities located in the US and pass strict quality control measures. They are formulated by a team of nutritionists based on thorough research that helps create high-quality products that pet owners can trust.
Wellness CORE Large Breed Puppy Dog Food – Best Overall
The Wellness brand of dog food almost always makes it to the top of our list. The company is committed to high-quality ingredients, and carefully balances the vitamins and minerals in each batch for maximum nutritional value.
And this blend is high protein and full of good fats, which means it will support your Pit Bull puppy’s joints, brain development, as well as strong muscle and bone growth.
One of the best parts about Wellness CORE puppy food is that it does not have any filler grains that may upset your pup’s tummy. It is almost completely made from natural, whole-food ingredients which are so much better for your dog than additives and cornmeal.
The Wellness brand is on the expensive side, but if you really want to help your Pit Bull puppy grow big and strong, Wellness CORE dog food is one of the best options out there and comes in top spot for best dog food for your Pitbull puppy!
- Moderately expensive
- No by-products, or artificial dyes or preservatives
- Animal protein plus nutritional supplements to support muscle growth
- Formulated specifically for large breed puppies
- First ingredient is deboned chicken
- Full of natural, nutrient-dense whole foods including vegetables and fruit
- No grains or filler ingredients
Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey
|Main ingredients||Turkey, lentils, tomato pomace, sunflower oil|
Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey recipe is a limited ingredient dog food with just four main ingredients. In addition to turkey, the lentils, tomato pomace, and sunflower oil are packed with high-quality nutrients. Because the food contains only a few main ingredients and does not contain grain, it may be easier on your pup’s sensitive belly or beneficial if they have an allergy. If your dog experiences any symptoms from their food, you should discuss going grain-free with the vet before making the switch.
Cage-free turkey provides much of the animal-derived protein content, but legumes are also a source of protein. Legumes, like lentils, are still being studied for concerns over heart disease in dogs.
The food is fortified with supplements to provide naturally healthy nutrition. They receive all the vitamins, minerals, and added benefits like probiotics that help them grow strong and healthy. Antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine, and DHA combine to help support eye, brain, skin, bone, and joint health, among other things.
Taste of the Wild High Prairie Dry Dog Food – Best Value
Proving that you don’t have to break the bank to feed your dog well, Taste of the Wild easily comes in as our choice for best food for Pitbull puppies to gain weight and muscle for the money.
Our puppy testers loved the taste of the diverse blend of proteins — bison, venison, and lamb, oh my! — and we love the superior quality of the meats. Pasture-raised animal protein is positively packed with nutrients that are often lacking in meat that is factory farmed.
And the rest of the ingredients are just as high-quality as the protein, which means that your Pit Bull puppy will have all the nutritional support necessary to absorb and use all those great vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. No filler grains or artificial ingredients here!
It is important to note that this dog food is not specifically made for puppies, so it may not be appropriate depending on your puppy’s age and development. You will need to get vet approval and gradually transition your Pit Bull, seeing if it agrees with them before swapping foods completely.
- For adult dogs
- No grains or filler ingredients
- No artificial colors or preservatives
- First three ingredients are animal proteins
- Nutrient-rich whole food ingredients, veggies, and fruit
- Probiotics and prebiotics support healthy gut flora
Purina Pro Plan Puppy for Large Breeds
|Main ingredients||Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn|
Like the Vet’s Choice Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein wet food for puppies listed above, the Purina Pro Plan High Protein Formula for Large Breed Puppies offers ideal nutrition for healthy growth. It is packed with protein to help your pup develop solid muscles and gain weight.
The High Protein Chicken and Rice recipe support active puppies through their daily exercise and quick growth rate. DHA from quality fish oil ensures brain and vision development while omega-6 fatty acids and vitamin A enrich their skin and coat. Glucosamine will help develop strong joints that will support them now and as they mature. Your pup will look as healthy and strong as they feel.
Purina Pro Plan offers a variety of Pro Plan foods, including those for Sport performance, Focus, and other vet-approved diets. These foods, like the high-protein Pro Plan, are developed and produced in US-based, Purina-owned facilities, so you can trust the food you’re providing your growing pup.
Elite K9 Nutrition Max Bully Dog Food – Premium Choice
If you are looking for a premium dog food that absolutely delivers when it comes to building healthy weight and muscle, check out the Elite K9’s Maximum Bully food. It has multiple animal protein and fat sources, as well as plant-based proteins specially paired for muscle growth.
We especially love the careful attention Elite K9 pays to balancing vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids. Elite K9 has properly portioned these already super healthy nutrients so they work together to boost your pup’s energy, muscle growth, and whole-body development. Smart and effective!
However, for the high price, we wish that there were more whole foods in this kibble. Nearly all the nutrient-dense fruits and veggies come from dried sources — still good for your dog, but the drying process loses a ton of those good nutrients. And, once again, this food is an adult dog food formula.
Given the lack of whole foods, the adult dog formulation, and the high price tag it is inadvisable to start your Pit Bull puppy on this food before you talk to your veterinarian.
- For adult dogs
- Most expensive on our list
- Contains probiotics to aid digestion
- Specially formulated to build healthy muscle
- First two ingredients are animal protein
- High-quality grains only – no wheat, soy, or corn
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy
|Main ingredients||Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, whole grain brown rice|
Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy includes a blend of chicken, lamb, and salmon, but real chicken is the first ingredient. Some dog foods that can help your Pitbull puppy add healthy weight and build lean muscle are formulated for overall wellness throughout their many stages of life. Nutro Ultra Puppy focuses only on the first year of growth.
Nutro has created a blend of 14 superfoods, added to high-quality animal proteins to form a dry kibble that provides balanced nutrition with a protein content of 26%. That protein will help your large-breed pup grow strong and healthy, while omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and other nutrients support strong bones and teeth, brain development, and overall health and wellness.
This formula has recently been updated with a higher protein and fat content and includes more calcium, vitamin E, glucosamine, and both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is also a non-GMO puppy food with ingredients sourced from trusted farmers.
Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Dog Food
Earthborn’s bison-based dog food has many good things going for it: it is full of nutrient-dense whole food veggies and fruits, it has no grains to bother your puppy’s belly, and the formula is specifically designed to build lean muscle and help energetic dogs like the Pit Bull stay active.
While the quality of most ingredients in Earthborn’s food is quite high, unfortunately, their animal proteins may be suspect. The meat ingredients are all “meals” which are most often made from the leftovers of an animal and can contain some gnarly stuff like hair and hooves.
That’s not what you want to see for such an important source of nutrients in your dog’s food! For the price, we really hoped to see better quality ingredients.
Questionable quality of meats mixed with the fact that this is an adult dog formula means that this is a decent choice, but perhaps better as a backup or a supplement for variety.
- For adult dogs
- Expensive for the quality
- All the animal proteins are “meal” or dried
- Formulated to burn fat and build lean muscle for active dogs
- Many whole food ingredients, like fruits and vegetables
- No by-product ingredients, or filler grains
Dr. Tim’s Athletic Blend Glacier Formula
|Main ingredients||Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, dried plain beet pulp|
Our third choice dog food for Pitbull puppies to gain weight is Dr. Tim’s Athletic Blend Glacier Formula. Dr. Tim Hunt is an experienced musher who understands the physical demands of active, large breed dogs. He set out to create a food that replicated the natural diet of his Alaskan Huskies, that required a higher calorie and higher protein diet due to their strenuous jobs. The result is the Glacier Formula.
This formula helps to support muscle growth for highly active dogs, like working dogs and your Pitbull puppy. Approximately 89% of the high-quality protein in this protein-packed dog food is derived from animal sources. It contains no wheat, corn, or soy, but it does have fish oil for omega-3 fatty acids to support brain development, heart health, and even reduce shedding. The high fiber content helps to slow down how fast your pup burns through the protein and calories, giving them more energy for extended periods.
Dr. Tim’s supports very active dogs and will help build muscle weight with the proper exercise regimen.
Bully Max High Performance Super Dog Food
Bully Max is a high-calorie dog food that will help most dogs add weight and muscle to their frame. The blend is high in protein and has both plant and animal sources of protein and fat.
There are, however, several downsides that we noticed. There are no whole vegetables or fruit, and the majority of the vitamins and minerals seem to come from additives. Additives are much less nutritionally dense than the whole foods themselves, and we frankly expected better ingredients for the price.
Most frustrating though, is the fact that they use cheap meat meals as the main protein sources. Protein is one of the most important nutrients for building healthy muscle, and you do not want to have to wonder if the protein in your dog’s food is full of unsavory “leftover” parts. High-protein meals are important.
This food may be appropriate for helping an underweight pup bulk up, but we do not recommend it as a regular meal base if you want to make sure your dog has a well-balanced diet. Bully Max overcharges for a relatively low-quality, but high calorie, dog food.
- Most vitamins and minerals are additives, not as effective
- Overpriced with low-quality ingredients
- All animal proteins are “meal”
- No whole vegetables or fruits
- More calories per serving than any food in its class
- For puppies 4 weeks or older and adult dogs
Purina ONE +Plus Natural High Protein Large Breed Formula
|Main ingredients||Chicken, rice flour, soybean meal|
For high-quality puppy food that is light on the budget, turn to Purina. Purina is well known in the pet food industry, and Purina ONE +Plus Natural High Protein Large Breed Formula for puppies is the best dog food for Pitbull puppies to gain weight for the money. It contains a minimum of 28% protein with high levels of DHA, a nutrient found in their mother’s milk, to help pups grow healthy and strong.
Purina has fortified this high-protein puppy food with omega-6 fatty acids plus additional vitamins and minerals to support eye health, aid brain development, build strong teeth, and produce a shiny coat. While Purina ONE +Plus may be one of the more affordable options available, it provides all the nutrition your growing pooch needs without artificial flavors or preservatives.
If it bothers your pup’s tummy, you may need to transition to this kibble a little more slowly than you would other dry kibbles.
Buyer’s Guide – Picking the Best Dog Food for Pitbull Puppies to Gain Muscle
- Many dogs love fruit, and they can be a healthy part of a Pit Bull puppy’s diet. Remember to feed them sparingly due to sugar content, remove larger pits and some seeds, and avoid a few toxic ones.
- A few safe fruits include bananas, apples (not the seeds), watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple, and strawberries.
- Toxic fruit to never give a dog include grapes, cherries, plums, lemons, and limes.
Am I allowed to give my Pit Bull puppy peanut butter?
As long as it is in moderation and the natural kind with no sugar or oil added, then yes! Peanut butter is full of healthy fats and protein, and most dogs love the taste. Try putting some inside a favorite toy and sit back for some hilarious tongue antics!
Can my Pit Bull puppy eat raw meat?
- Yes! Always check with your vet first, but most dogs do remarkably well with some raw meat in their diet. High-quality animal protein is also one of the best foods for helping your Pit Bull build healthy muscle.
- Turkey, chicken, duck, quail, pheasant, rabbit, venison, beef, pork, salmon, tuna, shrimp, and a variety of seafood are all excellent sources of complete, healthy protein for your Pit Bull.
What about veggies?
- Of course! Once again, there are some you should avoid (all alliums, for example), but many that dogs go bonkers for. Serve all unseasoned and cooked to make sure you don’t upset their tummy.
- Some safe vegetables for your Pit Bull puppy to try include carrots, broccoli, cucumber, green beans, sweet potato, and pumpkin.
- Vegetables to avoid (some of which are highly toxic) include asparagus, mushrooms, and all alliums like onions and garlic.
Nutrition for a Pit Bull Puppy
Like us, dogs are omnivores and need a diverse array of nutrients that can be found in animal meats, vegetables, and fruits. In this section we will go over all the different essential nutrients for canines, and which are best for helping your Pit Bull puppy grow up strong and healthy.
- Fats are one of your dog’s main sources of fuel, and they also deliver essential nutrients quickly and efficiently to their system. A proper balance of fats will keep your dog’s skin hydrated, coat shiny, and help their paws and noses stay pliable and resilient.
- Good quality fats and fatty acids are of particular importance to a hardworking dog like the Pit Bull. Fats provide dense energy for exercise, brain functioning, growing strong muscles, and also support and lubricate joints. Many varieties of fish are rich in good fats and fatty acids like omega-3s and 6s.
- While most of us know that protein is super important for muscle growth, you may be surprised to find that it also helps your dog keep their skin, nails, and fur healthy. Additionally, high-protein food helps dogs recover from injuries and grow their frame/skeleton as well as weight.
- For the athletic Pit Bull, complete proteins are a necessity. Complete proteins have all nine amino acids, which makes the strength-building nutrients in proteins more available for the body to use. Examples of complete proteins that are good for Pit Bull puppies are lean meats (like fish and fowl) and eggs.
- Carbohydrates are another excellent source of energy for your dog. There are two types of carbs: simple carbs and complex carbs. Simple carbs such as sugars and starches provide quick bursts of energy.
- To promote endurance and strength in your Pit Bull puppy, however, complex carbs are the way to go. Most vegetables and grains fall into the category of complex carbs and will give your dog steady, prolonged energy for their active life.
- Fiber is one of the main nutrients that keep your dog’s digestive system regular and smooth. Many vegetables are rich in fiber, but often dog foods get the most fiber from grains.
- Nutrient-rich grains that most dog’s bellies have an easy time digesting with include brown rice, oats, quinoa, and barley. A grain should not be the first thing on an ingredients list for your Pit Bull puppy’s food, even if it is a healthy one.
- Some grains are cheap, low in nutritional value, and just used as filler in dog food. For those reasons you should avoid grains like wheat, corn, soy, and by-products grains. No need to gum up your energetic pup’s body with low-quality foods that won’t help them grow!
Vitamins and Minerals
Your Pit Bull puppy’s diet should also have a spread of vitamins and minerals. And don’t just settle for additives on the ingredients list – these nutrients are most bioavailable, and therefore useful to your growing pup, when eaten as the whole foods that contain those vitamins and minerals.
Check the nutritional chart of your dog food options for calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium. A proper balance of these support bone growth and health, which will serve the Pit Bull puppy well as they grow into a strapping adult dog. Vitamins that are helpful to your Pit Bull puppy include choline, biotin, folic acid, vitamin A, D, K, and many more.
A Pit Bull puppy’s diet may also benefit from:
- Antioxidants, supports healthy eyes and immune system
- Glucosamine, promotes joint health
Unhealthy Ingredients in Pit Bull Puppy Food
All dog food is not created equal. Plenty of brands try to distract consumers with factoids about wolf ancestry, or fabulous health claims. But you’ll need to stay a little skeptical if you don’t want to get suckered in.
While the information on the wrapper of a dog food cannot be false or intentionally misleading, it is an ad. Don’t let a fancy sales pitch fool you — look at the ingredient list to get a real idea of the quality.
An informative experiment you can do when looking at ingredient lists is to ask yourself, “Would I want to eat that?” Spinach? Heck yes! High fructose corn syrup? Not so sure about that. Animal by-product? Wait… what now?
Here are some low-quality ingredients that lots of companies use to keep their food as cheap as possible to produce:
- Brewers rice (leftover fragments of white rice being processed)
- Corn syrup and refined sugars
- Large amounts of grain, specifically grains such as corn, soy, and wheat
- Artificial dyes (like red 40, yellow 6, or caramel color) and preservatives (BHT and BHA are common)
- Meat meal and by-product meat
- Rendered fats, usually called something like “poultry fat” or just “animal fat”
Though the competition is fierce, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Deboned Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food stands out as our best overall choice of best dog food for Pitbull puppies to gain muscle and weight. It is a puppy food that has nutritious whole food ingredients, multiple sources of complete proteins and healthy fats, and no fillers — yes please!
And for those with a stricter budget, you’ll love Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This food doesn’t trade out quality for price, making it an obvious best value choice.
We hope that these detailed reviews and educational buyer’s guide can help you find the right dog food to help your Pit Bull puppy grow up big and strong.