If you have a pitbull puppy, you probably can’t wait for him to “beef up” so that you can enjoy that typical muscular and stocky dog you have been dreaming of. Over feeding your pitbull puppy to get him to grow fast and build muscle is a big no-no though, considering that doing so may potentially cause damaging effects that may even last a lifetime and will cost a lot in vet bills. The secret to feeding large breed puppies like pitbulls is to go slow and steady and feed the right diet. It’s important to look for a puppy food that is purposely crafted for large breed puppies so to prevent developmental problems associated with rapid growth.
The Importance of Protein
If you asked what nutrient your dog needs the most in order to survive, that nutrient would be protein. Dogs need protein for building and repairing muscle. Protein is also important to keep the immune system strong and provide structure for the dog’s bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and skin.
More than protein though, to be exact what dogs really need are aminoacids. Protein is composed by chains of smaller units and these units are called aminoacids. In particular, dogs need 10 types of aminoacids which are known as “essential aminoacids.”
During puppyhood, pitbull puppies require a certain amount of protein during their growth stages. Protein is therefore essential during the puppy’s period of rapid growth and development which happens the most during the first year of life.
Protein Rich Dog Foods
If you own a pitbull puppy it is therefore important to look for a good food that contains protein in ideal amounts. In the past, there was belief that excess protein was to blame for the development of orthopedic problems in growing large breed puppies. Nowadays, it has been discovered that the actual culprits are excess calories and calcium imbalances.
Actually, protein is important for puppies, and puppies fed diets with insufficient amounts of proteins are prone to suffer from decreased growth and lowered immunity. Protein is what ultimately leads to good muscle mass, explains veterinarian Dr. Scott.
So for your pitbull puppy, look for a dog food that is purposely designed for large-breed puppies. These foods are likely to contain the ideal caloric density so to prevent rapid growth, and have the proper ratios of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D, explains veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Dana Hutchinson Consider that dog foods that are higher in protein tend to be the most expensive ones.
“In contrast to protein, excessive calories and inappropriate amounts of calcium have both been shown to negatively influence optimal skeletal development in puppies.”~Jennifer Larsen DVM, MS Resident, Small Animal Clinical Nutrition
And What About Supplements?
You may have heard about supplements that build muscles in pitbull dogs, but do they really work? Veterinarian Dr. Scott is suspicious about them. He believes that no supplement has the power to make a pitbull puppy bigger, despite several additives on the market making all kinds of ridiculous claims.
After taking a look at several being sold though, it seems like several have rave reviews. Many buyers claim to see actual growth and increase in muscles mass in their pitbull puppies. When it comes to reviews though nowadays, it is hard to tell if products being sold are truly effective as sometimes reviews may be biased.
On top of that, one must consider that if people start giving these supplements to their pitbull puppies when they are young, it is obvious that they will eventually get bigger and grow muscle at some point. This may give buyers the illusion that these supplements really work when their pitbulls are just growing and developing normally as they should. Last time we looked, pitbull puppies always increased in growth rather than shrinking!
Exercise Can Help
While you can’t change your pitbull puppy’s bone growth as this is determined by genes, you can to some extent increase muscle mass, and one of the best ways to do this is through exercise. You can think of it as body building for canines!
However, consider waiting a bit as you can damage your pitbull puppy’s delicate growth plates. Consider that if you are conditioning too early, this can result in trauma to growth plates, warns veterinary surgeon Dr. Wendy Baltzer.
If you want to start a low exercise regimen, you can exercise your puppy daily without overdoing it, but make sure that you exercise on a forgiving surface such as turf. Avoid cement or asphalt. You can then increase the exercise regimen once your pitbull’s growth plates have closed, which can happen anywhere between 10 to 18 months of age.
So make sure that the exercise regimen you choose is suitable for your pup’s age. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.
“Most sports medicine veterinarians recommend to not begin training until growth plate closure which depends on the size of the breed and can be anywhere from 10 months to 18 months of age.” ~Dr. Wendy Baltzer
A Matter of Time
It’s normal for pitbull puppies to go through an “all legs,” lanky stage of growth. In general, pitbull puppies will have reached their full height by the time they are one year of age. Pitbull puppies then start filling in and becoming more and more muscular around 18 months, and possibly, up to two years of age. By the age of three, most pitbulls should be fully developed.
So when it comes to a developing a pitbull’s muscles, patience is a virtue that is required considering that rapid growth in large breed puppies like pitbulls can lead to joint problems.
By feeding a top quality diet and implementing a good exercise regimen, you can help build strong bones and nice muscles. but as the saying goes “slow and steady wins the race,” and this goes a long way when it comes to a pitbull puppy’s growth rate.