Pit bulls are a highly intelligent dog with huge energy levels and raw athletic ability. The breed has earned a somewhat undeserved reputation for bad behavior that usually owes more to the poor ownership skills of people than the personality traits of the dog. Diet is an important factor in the life of a pit bull. Their lean and muscular athleticism should be complemented by an hourglass figure with a tucked-in stomach without any fat over the withers or the rump.
Avoid free feeding your pit bull. Never leave bowls on the floor all day as the dog will fall into the habit of picking at food throughout the day and this can make it more difficult to establish scheduled eating times when free feeding stops. Keep food bowls away from the pit bull for at least 30 minutes after exercising to maintain health, prevent hunger and aid digestion.2
Choose a diet that consists of good quality food. Read the sides of food packaging carefully so that the correct portions are fed based on the size and weight of the pit bull. Use healthier dry foods that are fortified with essential nutrients, but avoid using semi-moist alternatives because of their high sugar content. Consider a combination of canned meat and dry food if your dog finds dry food unappetizing on its own.3
Create a scheduled diet plan with regular feeding intervals and stick to it. Break meals into smaller portions and feed more often so that the pit bull never feels hungry. Consider feeding your dog three small portions each day instead of a single, larger meal. Use regular meal times as a training tool so that the dog understands that feeding is imminent and that there is no need to beg for human food.4
Adjust diets for pit bulls if their age or physical condition demands it. Give puppies and pregnant dogs food that contains high levels of protein and additional fats. Use similar puppy foods for pit bulls that are highly active, underweight or stressed but reduce fat content for dogs that have weight or heart problems. Increase protein content in the diet of an older pit bull but make sure the rest of their diet is balanced.5
Reduce snacks and treats to just one serving a day, ideally after a scheduled feeding time. Avoid rewarding good behavior with food and simply offer praise or fuss instead. Monitor the weight of your pit bull and make regular vet appointments so the health and condition of the dog can be monitored to ensure all dietary needs are being met.