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9 Best Dog Foods for Pitbull Puppies to Gain Weight in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 15, 2024 by Dogster Team

9 Best Dog Foods for Pitbull Puppies to Gain Weight in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

pitbull eating

What we lovingly call a Pitbull is officially known as the American Staffordshire Terrier. Pitbulls are strong and athletic, with a muscular build that is easily recognizable. Contrary to their buff exterior, most Pitbulls are playful and just a little bit silly. Plus, they have their very own Club1!

Because Pitbull puppies are so energetic and powerful, they have unique needs. Below, you’ll find reviews of the best dog foods for Pitbull puppies to gain weight.

We’ve also broken down the necessary proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and nutrients they will need in our Nutrition Guide so you can make the most informed choice. Keep scrolling below the reviews to learn more about it and possibly a bit about your diet as well!

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A Glance at Our Winners in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Ollie Fresh Dog Food Ollie Fresh Dog Food
  • Minimal processing
  • No artificial flavors or added fillers
  • Human-grade standards by USDA and FDA
  • Budget Buy
    Second place
    Purina ONE +Natural High Protein Large Breed Purina ONE +Natural High Protein Large Breed
  • Packed with DHA (found in mother’s milk)
  • Formulated by nutritionists for optimum health
  • Both crunchy and chewy bites
  • Third place
    The Farmer's Dog Fresh Dog Food The Farmer's Dog Fresh Dog Food
  • Convenient shipping and delivery system
  • Low-temperature cooking method retains more nutrients
  • Made with all-natural ingredients
  • Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy Food Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy Food
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
  • Specifically formulated for large breed puppies under one year
  • A blend of three animal proteins
  • Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein Wet Dog Food Purina Pro Plan Sport High Protein Wet Dog Food
  • Large can size, available in bulK
  • Real beef is the first ingredient
  • It pairs well with Pro Plan dry food
  • The 9 Best Dog Foods for Pitbull Puppies to Gain Weight

    1. Ollie Fresh Dog Food Subscription Service – Best Overall

    Ollie Fresh Dog Food

    Main ingredients beef, peas, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, beef kidney
    Protein content 12%
    Fat content 10%
    Calories 1,540 kcal/kg

    Ollie Fresh is our best overall dog food for Pitbull puppies to gain weight because it is packed with high-quality beef and nutrient-rich superfoods like sweet potatoes, blueberries, and chia seeds. There are no fillers or artificial flavors in this human-grade puppy food, so you can feel good about feeding your pup a superior chow.

    While the beef recipe offers the highest protein content, Ollie’s chicken, turkey, and lamb recipes are not far behind and are excellent nutrient sources. All recipes are formulated to meet a dog’s nutrition requirements at every stage of their growth, including the greater demands of active, large-breed puppies like your Pitbull.

    Changing your dog’s diet may be necessary at times but can be stressful for your pooch. This is a dog food they can start as puppies and continue to enjoy as they mature, always providing optimal nutrition. Fresh food may be easier to digest for pups with sensitive stomachs.

    Pros
    • Minimal processing
    • No artificial flavors or added fillers
    • Human-grade standards by USDA and FDA
    • Made in the US
    Cons
    • Must be refrigerated or frozen
    • Portions for large dogs can get expensive

    2. Purina ONE +Plus Natural High Protein Formula – Budget Buy

    Purina ONE +Plus Natural High Protein Large Breed Formula Dry Puppy Food

    Main ingredients Chicken, rice flour, soybean meal
    Protein content 28%
    Fat content 13%
    Calories 3,759 kcal/kg

    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.

    Pros
    • Packed with DHA (found in mother’s milk)
    • Formulated by nutritionists for optimum health
    • Both crunchy and chewy bites
    Cons
    • It may cause an upset tummy
    • The amount of chewy chicken pieces seems to vary

    3. The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food Beef Recipe

    The Farmer's Dog Beef Recipe

    Main ingredients USDA Beef, Sweet Potato, Lentils, Carrot, USDA Beef Liver, Kale, Sunflower Seeds, TFD Nutrient Blend, Salmon Oil
    Protein content 41%
    Fat content 31%
    Calories 361 kcal per 1/2 lb

    Even the pickiest Pitbull puppy won’t be able to resist The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food Beef Recipe. The Farmer’s Dog conveniently ships fresh dog food straight to your door. Its recipes are all developed by veterinarians and are made fresh with human-grade ingredients. Each batch of food is made in USDA kitchens and gently cooked at low temperatures to retain the nutrients in the natural ingredients.

    The Beef Recipe lists USDA beef as its first ingredient and contains other nutritious foods, like sweet potato, lentils, carrot, and kale. Each ingredient is included in this recipe with great intention, and you won’t find any fillers or preservatives.

    The recipe omits any poultry products or wheat, making it a considerable choice for Pitbull puppies that have chicken or wheat allergies. It also has a higher calorie count than other The Farmer’s Dog recipes, so it’s a healthy option for underweight puppies.

    Since The Farmer’s Dog is only available through online orders, it’s important to be on top of your delivery schedules. As long as you keep a backup meal pack in your freezer, you shouldn’t run into significant issues.

    The Farmer’s Dog Beef Recipe is our third pick for food for Pitbull puppies to gain weight because it’s made with high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients. Pitbull puppies can enjoy clean meals that are safe to eat and gain weight in a healthy way.

    Pros
    • Convenient shipping and delivery system
    • Low-temperature cooking method retains more nutrients
    • Made with all-natural ingredients
    • No fillers
    Cons
    • Food can only be purchased online

    4. Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy

    Nutro Ultra Large Breed Puppy Dry Dog Food, 30-lb bag

    Main ingredients Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain barley, whole grain brown rice
    Protein content 26%
    Fat content 14%
    Calories 3,636 kcal/kg

    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.

    Pros
    • No artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives
    • Specifically formulated for large breed puppies under one year
    • A blend of three animal proteins
    Cons
    • Kibble is large and may be too big for young pups
    • Not all pups like the taste

    5. Purina Pro Plan Sports High Protein
    Purina Pro Plan Sport Development Puppy High Protein Beef & Rice Wet Dog Food, 13-oz can, case of 12

    Main ingredients Beef, liver, meat by-products, chicken
    Protein content 10%
    Fat content 7.50%
    Calories 1,278 kcal/kg

    Purina Pro Plan Sports 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 can support a variety of breeds and 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.

    Pros
    • Large can size, available in bulk
    • Real beef is the first ingredient
    • It pairs well with Pro Plan dry food
    • Perfect for picky pups
    Cons
    • Wet food may contain less protein than kibble
    • It may cause loose stools

    6. Dr. Tim’s Athletic Blend Glacier Formula

    Dr. Tim's Athletic Blend Glacier Formula Dry Dog Food, 40-lb bag

    Main ingredients Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, dried plain beet pulp
    Protein content 32%
    Fat content 22%
    Calories 3,959 kcal/kg

    Another 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, which 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, and 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 supports very active dogs and will help build muscle weight with the proper exercise regimen.

    Pros
    • Enhanced protein and fat content
    • Specifically formulated for muscle growth
    • Great for sensitive stomachs
    Cons
    • It may cause bad breath
    • Requires consistent exercise/activity

    7. Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Food

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Deboned Chicken Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients Deboned chicken, chicken meal, peas, dried ground potatoes
    Protein content 35%
    Fat content 14%
    Calories 3,619 kcal/kg

    Wellness CORE Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Food contains DHA and a balanced list of nutrients due to superfood ingredients such as flaxseed, salmon oil, and spinach. Glucosamine, probiotics, and taurine support whole-body health, joint mobility, gut health, and brain development. Calcium and phosphorus give your pup strong bones as a foundation for lean muscle.

    This grain-free puppy food has the highest protein content of any foods featured on our list. This extremely high protein content may be what you are looking for to develop strong muscles and help your Pitbull puppy gain weight, but it might not be ideal for puppies that do not get regular daily exercise. If not turned into muscle, the excess protein and fat they consume can lead to health problems as they grow into adults.

    While Wellness CORE Grain-Free food does not contain grains, it is produced in a facility that processes them. This may not be the best option if your pet has a grain allergy. Also, not all dogs require a grain-free diet. It’s best to discuss your food choice with your pup’s vet before changing.

    Pros
    • The highest protein content of featured foods
    • Highly fortified with glucosamine, probiotics, and more
    • Part of a line of puppy-formulated foods, toppers, and treats
    Cons
    • Requires consistent activity or exercise
    • Dogs may not eat the total recommended feeding amounts

    8. Purina Pro Plan Puppy for Large Breeds

    Purina Pro Plan High Protein Chicken & Rice Formula Large Breed Dry Puppy Food

    Main ingredients Chicken, rice, corn gluten meal, whole grain corn
    Protein content 28%
    Fat content 13%
    Calories 3,934 kcal/kg

    Like Purina Pro Plan Sports 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 Sports 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.

    Pros
    • Popular flavor among puppies
    • Improves concentration
    • Also available in wet food
    Cons
    • May cause gas

    9. Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey

    Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey Formula Limited Ingredient Recipe Dry Dog Food

    Main ingredients Turkey, lentils, tomato pomace, sunflower oil
    Protein content 30%
    Fat content 15%
    Calories 3,670 kcal/kg

    Taste of the Wild PREY Turkey recipe is a limited-ingredient dog food with just four main ingredients. In addition to turkey, 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.

    Pros
    • Protein from both animal and plant sources
    • Limited to just four main ingredients
    • Includes canine-specific, proprietary probiotics
    • Great for sensitive stomachs
    Cons
    • Kibble has a strong smell

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Food for Your Pitbull Puppy to Gain Weight

    There are many choices available for your Pitbull puppy. How do you choose the right one? How do you know your pup will build lean muscle and not gain the wrong kind of weight? Please keep reading to learn more about the proper diet for puppies.

    Essential Nutrition for Pitbull Puppies

    Pitbulls are unique in that they are born athletes. They naturally form muscle and are highly active and playful. They love to run, and it’s no surprise given the breed’s history and characteristics. Pitbull pups need the same dog nutrition as other puppies but have additional requirements to gain healthy weight by developing solid muscles.

    Protein

    Protein is essential for a canine’s overall health and will help any pup develop by supporting skin, coat, and nails. Muscular, playful dogs like Pitbulls need more energy than most puppies, plus extra protein in their diet to create muscles as they exercise.

    Protein in dog food typically comes from animal sources, like beef, poultry, and seafood. Like Taste of the Wild, some foods include protein plant-based protein from legumes. High-quality protein will contain all ten essential amino acids necessary for optimum nutrition.

    The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) calls for a minimum of 22% protein in a dog’s diet for growth. Higher protein levels in their diet may help grow healthy muscle, much like it does in humans who exercise and supplement their diet with protein.

    Fat

    Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are mostly omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These fatty acids help promote eye and brain development, nourish the skin and coat, help absorb other nutrients in the dog’s food, and support bodily functions on a cellular level.

    They also provide most of the calories in dog food, compared to protein and carbohydrates, and are composed primarily of triglycerides. You may already know that your doctor checks your cholesterol levels and looks mainly at triglycerides. They are formed when we consume too much fat in our diet and don’t exercise enough to burn it off.

    Crude fat in dog food is essential because EFAs provide many benefits throughout the body, especially for growing puppies. However, too much of them without enough exercise can become a problem. Choosing food with the right fat content for your Pitbull’s activity level is essential.

    Complement this information by using our dog calorie calculator tool here:

    The exact amount of calories an individual animal needs to maintain a healthy weight is variable and influenced by many factors including genetics, age, breed, and activity level. This tool is meant to be used only as a guideline for healthy individuals and does not substitute veterinary advice 

    Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates supply energy, and your puppy is already full of energy. Plus, to gain the lean muscle they need to gain weight, they will need regular workouts, just like humans. A high-carb diet may be necessary to support your Pitbull as they grow into a healthy, muscular adult dog.

    Carbohydrates are a source of glucose that creates the fuel dogs need to stay active and generate heat. Suppose they don’t consume enough carbs in their diet to generate the glucose needed to support their activity level. In that case, their body will start forming it from amino acids, which are necessary proteins.

    Fiber is essential for gut health and is sourced from carbohydrates as well. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are necessary for digestive health, and both are sourced from carbohydrates in their diet. Some dog foods may have added fiber or probiotics to support gut health as well.

    Vitamins and Minerals

    There is a long list of nutrients that your growing Pitbull needs to remain healthy. It’s impossible to list all of them, but the most important ones that you should look for are:

    • Vitamin A: This nutrient is naturally found in fish oil, liver, and dairy products. The AAFCO recommends at least 5,000 IU/kg DM for puppies and dogs of all ages. It supports vision, reproduction, and skin health, as well as a strong immune system.
    • Vitamin D: This nutrient is naturally found alongside Vitamin A. Dogs can’t produce this vitamin, so fortified food is necessary, although too much can be toxic. Vitamin D supports the absorption of other nutrients like calcium and phosphorus for strong bones.
    • Vitamin E: This nutrient is only found in plants and is an antioxidant that helps support overall health by protecting against free radicals throughout the body.
    • B Vitamins: There are many B vitamins, including thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, biotin, and folic acid. Most B vitamins allow the body to get the most out of other nutrients by breaking down components and transporting them throughout the body. B vitamins can be found in various food sources and supplements.

    Additional Nutrition

    Some dog foods are fortified with additional supplements. The AAFCO does not require these extra ingredients, but you may want to consider them when choosing the best dog food for your Pitbull based on their needs.

    • Antioxidants: Antioxidants may help reduce inflammation and support a healthy immune system.  They benefit dogs of all ages.
    • Glucosamine: Glucosamine is typically used to treat arthritis and joint pain in mature dogs. However, including it in a puppy’s diet may help support joint health early on and prevent issues later in life.
    • Probiotics: Pups with sensitive stomachs or consistent gas, loose stools, or diarrhea may benefit from probiotics. Referred to as “direct-fed microbials” by the AAFCO, these microbes assist or replace the ones already living in your pup’s gut. It’s best to speak with their vet about any underlying health concerns and whether probiotics may help.

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    Final Verdict

    For the best overall dog food to help your Pitbull puppy gain weight, Ollie Fresh offers human-grade food that’s fresh from your fridge or freezer. Purina ONE +Plus High Protein Large Breed Formula is a great value for pet parents on a budget. For high-energy and exercising pups, The Farmer’s Dog Fresh Dog Food provides ideal nutrition for greater physical demands. Nutro Ultra for Large Breed Puppies includes a blend of three animal proteins for various amino acid sources. And Purina Pro Plan Sports High Protein, a delicious wet food that can help your Pitbull pup grow lean muscle and gain weight.

    See also:


    Featured Image Credit: Roberto Cabrera Castro, Shutterstock

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