Best Dog Food for Pitbulls to Gain Muscle: 7 Buff and Burly Choices 

By Coty Perry

The best dog food for Pitbulls to gain muscle will contain ample protein, carbs, fat, and fiber. You’ll only find this in the highest quality foods so it’s important that you don’t simply pick up whatever you find on the shelf. 

We’re so lucky as dog owners today to have so much information at our fingertips. Our parents and grandparents didn’t understand that dogs needed proper nutrition to grow and live healthy lives. 

As a result, they fed them whatever was on the grocery store shelves and a lot of the time, it was subpar food loaded with fillers, dyes, and artificial flavoring. 

Today, we can study, learn, and read about the best dog food for Pitbulls to gain muscle and make our own informed choices. 

The goal of this guide is to help you do exactly that! 

How Pitbulls Gain Muscle 

It’s important to understand how Pitbulls gain muscle and why it’s so important. This is a highly active and energetic breed. Because of that, their diet needs to consist of the right components to help them live up to their full potential. 


Many dogs require a high protein diet but it’s recommended that Bullies have around 30% crude protein on a regular basis. 

Even more importantly, you want that protein to come from the right places. You want to look past food that contains by-products as they’re generally lower quality protein sources like the scraps that are left over when all the good cuts of meat are gone. 

Lean animal protein sources like lamb and poultry are also good for preventing your Pitbull from gaining too much weight. It gives them the energy they need to keep moving while ensuring they’re getting an ample amount of vitamins and nutrients to gain lean muscle. 


If you look at some of the lowest quality food on the shelf, you’ll be shocked by just how much of it is carbohydrates. For example: 

Kibbles n’ Bits, a notoriously known “low-quality food” contains corn, soybean meal, and whole wheat in the top five ingredients. 

This results in a food containing only 19% crude protein. This simply wouldn’t cut it for a Pitbull and shouldn’t be acceptable for any dog. Real animal protein should always be the first ingredient with healthy carbohydrates as secondary sources. 

Staches and vegetables should be your sources of carbs. Ingredients like corn and whole wheat are nothing more than fillers to make the food fill your dog while keeping the cost low. 

If we compare this to Wellness Core, which is a recommended recipe in this review, Wellness has 34% crude protein and contains deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas, and ground potatoes as the first five ingredients. 

There’s a pretty big difference right? It’s all the ingredients and you can tell right away if a food is healthy or not by looking at nutritional information. 


The assumption is if you want your Pitbull to build muscle, you need to cut back on fat. That’s not entirely true. You don’t want the fat content in your Bullies food to be high but they still need a healthy amount of fat from good sources. 

Ingredients like chicken fat and oils sourced from meat are always good for your dog. Avoiding fillers like corn, soy, and wheat are the ultimate way to ensure that your dog doesn’t gain unnecessary weight.  

Understanding the Importance of Quality Food Choice 

It’s almost painful to see low-quality foods still on store shelves with all the information out there about how bad they are. 

Let’s take Pedigree High Protein as an example. They make it really obvious that it’s a high protein dog food so it should be ideal for Pitbulls, right? Completely wrong. 

It contains whole grain corn as the first ingredient. How could it be good for any dog when it doesn’t even contain meat as the primary ingredient? 

Feeding this to your dog means you’re feeding them a diet of mostly corn. 

The next ingredient is meat and bone meal which is another red flag because the “meat” is unknown. It doesn’t say chicken meal or beef meal because the source is unknown which means it’s meat scraps that are synonymous for causing food allergies in dogs. 

Some of the following ingredients are corn gluten meal, soybean meal, ground whole grain wheat, and beet pulp. 

All fillers. 

Plus, the food contains four different coloring dyes. They advertise right on the site that it’s “made with real beef.” 

Beef is the 9th ingredient. 

Do yourself a favor and avoid any foods that do not contain real protein as the first ingredient because that’s an immediate telltale sign of a low quality product. All the best brands and anything you see us recommend on this site will always contain real meat. 

Best Dog Foods for Pitbulls to Gain Muscle 

You’ve seen the worst, now let’s look at the best. Here are the best dog foods to help your Pit Bull build muscle. 

BullyMax 30/20 High Performance Dog Food 

Best Overall

4.8 out of 5 

  • Contains 535 calories per cup
  • Minimum of 30% crude protein per serving
  • Uses a wide variety of premium ingredients, vitamins, and active cultures

First 5 Ingredients:

Chicken meal, brown rice, chicken fat, dried plain beet pulp, ground grain sorghum 

Bully Max dog food uses a recipe designed specifically for Pitbulls and it’s one of the most popular foods for the breed. Overall, the ingredients list is solid and while it’s not the best ingredients we’ve ever seen in a dog food, the combination works for the breed. 

Chicken meal is often misunderstood and interpreted as a lower-quality option compared to regular chicken, but that’s not necessarily true. Meal often contains more protein because all the water is removed from the chicken during production which means your dog gets a higher concentration of the actual protein source. 

This is a grain-inclusive recipe with brown rice being the second ingredient. The carbohydrates are important and this is a quality source. Overall, with 30% crude protein, it’s not the highest on the list but this recipe is highly recommended by Pitbull owners. 

Front of the Pack Chicken Air-Dried Dog Food

Editor’s Choice

4.8 out of 5

  • All organic ingredients from the highest-quality sources
  • Real chicken and sweet potato as the first two ingredients
  • Recipe designed by veterinarians, backed by science 

First 5 Ingredients:

Organic cage-free chicken, organic sweet potato, antarctic krill, organic whole eggs, organic oats.

Front of the Pack is one of the most highly recommended foods for a number of reasons. Air-dried food is a great way of packing all the nutrients and vitamins of fresh food into kibble that is sustainable and shelf-stable. 

One of the reasons why we recommend Front of the Pack is because of the production process using air-dried methods instead of high heat. When you essentially roast food at extreme temperatures, a lot of the nutrients are removed from the food. Air-drying helps lock in the health benefits without removing things like flavor. 

Of course, food like this does come at a cost but it’s one of the only options you can be sure about. You know when you feed this to your Pit Bull that you’re giving them the best dog food money can buy. 

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Grain-Free

Best Grain-Free

4.8 out of 5 

  • Grain-free for Pitbulls with food sensitivities
  • Real meat as the first ingredients
  • Contains 32% crude protein

First 5 Ingredients:

Water buffalo, lamb meal, chicken meal, sweet potatoes, peas 

If you take a look at this Taste of the Wild dry dog food, you’ll have a hard time finding a bad ingredient, because there are none. This is one of the cleanest dog food recipes we’ve ever seen, and one of the best dry dog foods for pitbulls overall.  

Buffalo, lamb, bison, and venison are extremely high concentrated protein sources resulting in a 32% crude protein content. This recipe is designed for dogs that need a lot of protein but might have concerns about their weight. It’s also grain-free which is a great choice for dogs that need less carbohydrates or have gluten sensitivities. 

The Wild Prairie formula has over 80,000,000 microorganisms and it’s loaded with fatty acids and other active cultures to aid in digestion. 

Purina Pro Plan Sport All Life Stages 

Most Affordable 

4.2 out of 5 

  • Contains chicken as the first ingredient
  • Affordable recipe option for those on a tight budget
  • 26% crude protein with 439 calories per cup 

First 5 Ingredients:

Chicken, brewer’s rice, whole grain wheat, poultry by-product meal, corn gluten meal

Purina is certainly not a favorite brand that you want to find on a list of best food for any breed but this one checks enough boxes to make it as the best budget choice. It contains chicken, rice, by-products, and gluten meals as some of the first ingredients. 

The company will defend these products at every turn but we’re going to give you the honest take. When you see rice, wheat, corn, and gluten as the first ingredients, these are fillers designed to make the food more filling while keeping it cheap. 

On the positive side, chicken is the first ingredient and it contains 26% crude protein which isn’t bad but certainly doesn’t meet the standard of helping your Pit Bull with muscle gain. 

We understand that a lot of the food that’s “recommended” for dogs is extremely pricey. If you’re unable to afford some of the other options on this list, we would recommend feeding this Purina recipe to your Pitbull. 

Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast 

Best for Picky Eaters 

4.5 out of 5 

  • Contains L-carnitine which is a great ingredient for building muscle mass
  • Uses bison as the primary animal protein source
  • Rich in complementary ingredients like fruits and vegetables 

First 5 Ingredients:

Bison meal, peas, pea protein, tapioca, dried egg

This unique formula contains 32% crude protein so it’s right near the top of the list. It uses some of the best sources of lean protein like bison to help your Pit bull trim fat and build stronger muscles. 

We love when we see complementary ingredients like blueberries, cranberries, apples, and carrots in dog foods. These are great sources of vitamins and are premium ingredients that are perfectly healthy for dogs. They’re difficult to include in foods and generally raise the price of the recipe but they’re so great to see. 

Beyond that, L-carnitine is another ingredient that has a positive impact on your dog’s health. It helps burn fat while turning the vitamins and minerals your dog eats into lean muscle mass. 

The rest of the ingredients in this recipe are supportive of your pit bull’s coat, skin, and bones. Overall, this is a top-rated formula and highly recommended for Pitbulls that are picky about the foods they eat. 

Wellness Core Grain-Free 

Best for Sensitive Stomachs 

4.5 out of 5 

  • Excludes by-products, fillers, corn, soy, gluten, and artificial anything
  • Real poultry as the first ingredients 
  • 34% crude protein 

First 5 Ingredients:

Deboned turkey, turkey meal, chicken meal, peas, dried ground potatoes 

Certain ingredients like soy, gluten, colorings, and flavors have a way of irritating a dog. This is true for Pitbulls but it’s true for any breed. These ingredients irritate the skin, stomach linings, and intestines. They cause issues like upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, hot spots, and excessive chewing. 

Wellness Core has one of the best recipes for sensitive stomachs with poultry and high-quality carbohydrates as the primary ingredients.  

For all the “grain-free folks” out there, this is living proof that grain-free food doesn’t always mean more protein. This is the highest protein concentrated food on the market at 34% and it contains peas, potatoes, and lentils in the top 10 ingredients. 

Another part of what makes it great for building muscle is the use of lean protein sources in chicken and turkey mixed with fiber and active cultures to help with digestion. 

Diamond Naturals Chicken and Rice 

Best for Weight Loss 

4.6 out of 5

  • Real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Great complementary ingredients in fruits and vegetables 
  • Loaded with active cultures to aid digestion

First 5 Ingredients: 

Chicken, chicken meal, whole grain brown rice, cracked pearled barley, white rice 

Remember that the problem isn’t always your dog not getting enough calories, sometimes the issue is that your dog isn’t getting the right kind of calories. Some foods just don’t sit well with sensitive Pitbull stomachs so we need to tone down the protein and be more choosy about the ingredients we use. 

In some cases, limiting the recipe to one primary protein source is a great way to help your Pit Bull build lean muscle while ensuring they don’t gain too much weight. This recipe uses chicken as the main protein source with complementary ingredients like berries, oranges, and pumpkin. 

It also contains an assortment of live and active cultures to help with digestion which can also be good for a Pit bull that has a hard time keeping weight off. 

How to Pick the Best Dog Food for Your Pit bull to Gain Muscle 

Now that you’ve seen examples of the best dog food for muscle growth in Pit bulls, let’s talk about some of the information used to make these decisions. 

Talk With Your Vet 

The first thing you want to do before making any drastic changes in your Pit bull’s diet is to consult your veterinarian. They can provide recommendations on foods to switch to and provide reasoning as to why they’re the best choice. 

Even more importantly, they can help you understand some of the genetic traits of your dog. It’s important to realize that no two dogs are the same even if they’re the same breed. Your Pit Bull may have inherited some things from their parents that are out of your control. As a result, your dog may require a different food than the other Pitbull down the block. 

Know Your Pitbull’s Nutritional Needs 

The needs of a Pit bull vary from other breeds. They’re known to have sensitive stomachs but also require a lot of protein which creates a dilemma. Foods with high protein are known to have multiple meat sources which can promote allergies in dogs. 

nutritional needs also varying depending on your bully’s age. The nutritional needs of pit bull puppies vary from full grown adults.

It can quickly become a back and forth game of what food helps them build muscle but doesn’t also make them sick? 

The best way to support your Pitbulls nutritional needs is to gradually introduce them to new protein sources before switching their food entirely. If you find out that they’re allergic to a food that only contains chicken, then you know that chicken is the problem and you could go for something else like lamb or bison. 

Choose Quality Dog Food Brands 

Dr. Pet MD made a list of the best and worst dog food brands and while we don’t agree with all of them, they’re pretty close. 

Some of the worst dog food brands are: 

  • Beneful
  • Cesar
  • Pedigree
  • Purina
  • Kibbles n’ Bits

Some of the best dog food brands are:

  • Blue Buffalo
  • Wellness Core
  • Taste of the Wild 
  • Nutro
  • Nuro 
  • Nature’s Variety 

We’ve picked on brands like Pedigree and Purina plenty so let’s use Cesar as an example. This brand is known primarily for wet food but they have dry dog food designed specifically for small breeds. 

It has beef as the first ingredient so you might be pretty quick to write it off but as you make your way down the list you’ll see where the issues come in. 

You never want to see “meat” as an ingredient because it’s unknown. Anytime you see “natural flavor” it’s also a red flag and this is listed here twice. The recipe also contains salt, sugar, and food coloring which are all terrible ingredients. 

Long story short, avoid these brands and you shouldn’t have to worry about the ingredients as much. 

Check Ingredients 

We’re huge believers in simply looking at the ingredient list (if you can’t tell by now). We’re lucky to live in a world where ingredients are required to be displayed on dog foods. The reality is, some people will still feed their dogs low-quality foods simply because they don’t understand. 

Here are some bad ingredients to look out for:

BHA/BHT – This is a preservative that’s even banned in some countries. You won’t find it in dog foods quite as much anymore because of transparency laws.

Colors and Dyes – Anytime you see “blue 5” or “yellow 6,” you know it’s an artificial dye. It’s hard to understand why these are added to dog foods but it’s likely marketing for humans because dogs could care less what color the food is. 

Corn Syrup or Sugar – You’re more likely to find this in canned food but it is in many low-quality hard foods as well. Corn syrup and sugar are completely unnecessary in dog food and can alter your dogs taste to make them crave sweeter things more often. 

Soy – The debate is still open on the negative impact of soy in dog food but it’s seen as a filler. If you find anything containing soy in the top five ingredients in your dog’s food, you’ll want to question the overall quality of it. 

Can I Feed my Pit bull Veggies to Gain Weight?

Vegetables are a great complimentary ingredient to go along with real meat. They contain a ton of vitamins and minerals to help with muscle growth and weight gain. Look for vegetables like sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and pumpkin. 

Can I Feed my Pitbull Raw Meat? 

It’s recommended that you consult with a vet before feeding your dog raw meat. A raw diet is a great way to help your Pit bull with healthy lean muscle development. 

How Do I Get My Pitbull to Bulk Up? 

The best way to get them to bulk up is to realize that you’re not in control as much as you think. The most important thing is to feed your dog a healthy and well-rounded diet. If you think they’re too skinny or not building enough muscle, consult your vet. 

How Are Pitbulls so Muscular?

Genetics, history, and selective breeding contribute to the size and muscular nature of a Pitbull. They were originally bred for bull-baiting and dog fighting which is why they’re known for being aggressive (even though they’re not). 

Final Thoughts 

Choosing the best dog food for Pitbulls for healthy muscle growth will help your dog live their best life. Pitbulls are active, energetic, and fun-loving but they need the right nutrition to keep them going. 

The BullyMax 30/20 High Performance Dog Food recipe is highly recommended by the Pitbull community but we’re also a huge fan of Wellness Core Grain-Free and many options from Wellness Core. 

Remember to consult with your vet before making drastic changes to your Pitbull’s food and if you’re concerned about their overall health, speak with a professional. Good luck! 

Photo of author
Coty Perry
Coty is a self-proclaimed cat whisperer and animal lover. Growing up his mom ran a dog training business out of his childhood home so you can say it was complete chaos 24/7. Today, when he comes home after a long day of writing about animals, he’s greeted by his two loving cats Marley and Cozmo.