Every pup deserves a long, healthy life. Pet owners that make the effort to keep their dogs at their optimum level of health will receive the rewards of a best friend that is strong, fit and happy. The most important factor that affects health is nutrition. The right diet is essential for pit bulls and the American Bully because they are high-energy creatures with the potential to suffer from certain skin and health conditions.
Meet Protein Needs
Protein repairs and builds muscle and keeps body tissue healthy. A diet with adequate protein ensures the dog has the amino acids it needs to avoid a variety of health problems. Protein is necessary for hair growth, healthy skin and a powerful immune system. Energy is also reliant on protein, and with the amount of energy a pit bull or bully expends each day, it is vital their diet helps to replenish the loss.
Highly-digestible, a good quality protein is a necessity for puppies because their growing bodies do not digest or use protein as easily or effectively as adult dogs. Choose food that includes products like eggs rather than those that rely on grain or meat by-products. Do not worry about only serving a food labeled for puppies. Read the ingredient label instead to ensure they get what they need.
A good choice for food for adult pits and bullies is one that is 50-70 percent protein. Muscle meat, organ or offal meat, and eggs are good options that also include micronutrients and amino acids the dog needs. Fish and poultry also provide a reasonable amount of protein. Pet owners can either select quality dry food with these ingredients or supplement their main source of food with these options.
Watch Vitamin Levels
Vitamin A helps dogs to have healthy skin, eyes, and immune systems. B vitamins control metabolism and energy, regulate hormones, and protect against disease. Vitamin C helps to improve cognition and can reduce inflammation. Other vitamins keep bones and muscles strong, protect brain function and reduce the risk of reproductive issues.
A nutritionally complete dog food will include all the vitamins the dog needs. Owners that want to prepare homemade dog food need to ensure their recipes include foods that offer these vitamins. Use real ingredients rather than just supplements to make their food nutritionally complete.
Reduce Health Risks
Pit bulls have a high risk of thyroid disease. Some studies suggest that a diet with plenty of protein and antioxidants can reduce the risk of thyroid disease and may improve the condition of those already with the condition. Organic, grain-free foods are best for these dogs.
Hip dysplasia and knee problems affect many larger dogs, but even smaller pit bulls face a high risk. Dogs that develop these conditions need special diets to help reduce their discomfort and to improve mobility. Avoid processed foods and foods with artificial flavors and colors. Choose whole, natural ingredients when possible. Dog food options that include fish and flaxseed oil help to reduce inflammation. Calcium can reduce the risk of arthritis, as well as keep bones strong and prevent further joint damage in dogs with arthritis. Do not give the dog any treats or food that includes sugar, corn oil or salt.
Control Skin Conditions
Unfortunately, pit bulls and bullies have a high risk of skin problems. Some of the problems are genetic, but others are due to allergies. Chemical sensitivity is a common concern that triggers an allergic response. Natural, preservative free food and treats can reduce reactions. Also avoid common allergy triggers like soy, wheat, and corn. Fish oil can help to keep the skin healthier. If allergies become a problem, consider a short-term switch to raw beef or poultry to simplify the diet. An allergy immune supplement can also provide relief for allergy-prone pets.
Monitor Food Amounts
Free-eating, the method where the owner keeps dry food always available, is a great way to make a dog obese. Pitbulls and bullies can have appetites as large as their hearts and this can lead to health issues. Obesity makes problems like arthritis and hip dysplasia a reality, and it raises the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Feed puppies frequently because their fast metabolism will burn the energy quickly. From 3-6 months allow the dog to have about a quarter-cup of dry food around 4-6 times a day. Increase the amount slightly as the pup grows. Continue with this until the dog reaches about 18- months. Large adult dogs should have about one cup of dry food three times per day. If feeding the dog twice a day, give half of their daily amount at each feeding.
Do not give an entire serving at once to dogs that gulp their food. Bloat is a serious concern, so consider supervising their meal time. Give the dog half their allotted amount, allow them to wait a few minutes and then offer the rest of the serving. Allow time for the pet to digest their meal before a walk or run. An hour or two of quiet time is usually adequate.
Monitor the dog to make certain the amounts given are appropriate. The activity level of the dog, the size of the pet, and their genetics and age will determine how much the pet needs. An adult pit bull or bully typically weighs between 30-60 pounds, although they can be larger. The weight is not the only guideline, as height and muscle mass can allow some dogs to carry more weight.
An easy way to know if a dog needs more or less food is to look at it and pet it. The ribcage of an underweight dog is easily visible and hard to the touch. The ribs on a healthy dog are only slightly visible during certain poses and are detectable to the touch, but should be covered with a comfortable layer of flesh. A belly that sags and a ribcage hidden under a mass of flesh are signs of extra weight.
Choose Smart Diets
Overweight adult dogs need to remove the excess poundage in a healthy way. Begin with exercise and reduce their treats. Swap out high-calorie treats with healthy snacks like carrots or watermelon. Reduce the meal servings by a ¼ -cup a day to prevent the dog from feeling too hungry all at once. Always measure their food servings because it is very easy to overfeed without realizing it. If the dog does not lose any weight after a week or two on the diet, schedule a vet appointment. Some health conditions, like Cushing’s Disease, prevent weight loss.
A great diet keeps dogs healthy and happy and it is one of the easiest ways a pet owner can show their pit bull or bully their love and respect. A nutritional meal plan does not have to be difficult to prepare or expensive to provide. Studies show that the right diet can help dogs to live up to two years longer.