American Pit Bull Terrier Care

Before you adopt an APBT, you will want to learn all the tips, facts, and care possible about how to raise a Pitbull. Raising a Pitbull puppy is difficult, but once these dogs are adults, they still need care, supervision, and attention. It doesn't matter if you have to get a "Pitbulls for dummies" guide book, or if you have a lot of experience with dogs. Especially if you plan on raising a Pitbull puppy with another dog, you should be properly prepared. This section has information that will help you learn about American Pit Bull Terrier care.

American Pit Bull Terrier Exercise Needs

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a dog that needs at least a moderate amount of significant exercise. Long daily walks are good, but they are just one part of the essential daily activity required to keep these dogs from becoming bored and obese. Also, if you want a visibly muscled Pitbull, you will need to invest in a fair amount of equipment and time as well as a proper diet devoid of recreational steroids. These dogs need a base routine of two daily walks of at least an hour. During these walks, it is very important to walk them properly, i.e., with you in complete control. Letting these dogs lead you, mark their territory as they please or try to chase after other animals will result in them thinking they are the pack leader. Obedience training and walking should be taught soon thereafter.

There are some things to avoid regarding Pitbull exercise, as these can either allow for injury later in life or cause problems due to dominance issues. Light exercise such as play should start around four months of age. For people who want muscular Pitbulls, heavy exercise should not start until the APBT is about a year old. As puppies, too much tug-of-war with ropes and similar activities can make for difficulties in training and control. Also, recreational steroids should absolutely be avoided. There may be the temptation to do this to bulk up your Pit Bully, but it is dangerous. Of course, Pit Bulls must be restrained at all times, whether inside a fence or home, or on a strong leash.

Pitbull exercise needs are not numerous, but boredom from inadequate exercise can happen. Walking is not enough Pitbull dog exercise, and play and mental stimulation is required. If your APBT starts chewing on shoes, furniture, and other things, this is a sign of inadequate exercise. If they are anxious, unusually aggressive or behaving unnaturally, these are also possible signs of too little exercise and too much pent-up energy.
Here are some recommended exercises for the breed:

  • Walking: At least 30 minutes twice daily, briskly, and with you in complete control
  • Conditioning: This is good for a fit APBT, and it is essential to keep them happy as well as under control
  • Bonding activity: Playing together and mutual exercise such as running, hiking and biking will do this
  • Toys: Agiility puzzles are very good, and they should be rotated to prevent boredom
  • Weights: If you want a Pitbull with muscle, you should start with a harness. Sleds, cinder blocks or improvised weights can be used, or you can invest in a full regime of Pitbull exercise equipment

Making sure your Pit Bull gets some exercise when you aren't home is not too difficult. Leave out a couple of his agility toys is an easy one. If you have two or more APBTs, this will do wonders for their health and happiness. If it's to be a long time, you might want to either have an experienced house-sitter or lodge him with an experienced Pitbull trainer or place.

You'll want to make sure your Pitbull looks forward to exercise, but you'l also want to be the alpha. Set the tone before exiting the house by controlling the door. Have treats on hand, and make sure the dog knows that they are given only when an activity is properly completed. Set a time and perform activities that exclusively signal that day's exercise time. Meal time for muscle-building after the activity will help control your Pitbull until the entire exercise engagement is over.

American Pit Bull Terrier Maintenance

American Pit Bull Terriers (APBT) shed a little to moderately, but they can drool a fair amount to a lot. APBT maintenance is a constant task that involves far more than brushing and bathing. If you are grossed out by dog flatulence or slobber or a Pitbull shedding hairs everywhere, you may want to reconsider if you want a one of these type of dogs.You can tell if your APBT is a heavy drooler simply by looking at one of two things: the type of head and, of course, the amount of drool that may already be hanging from that head. If your Pit Bully has a head more like a Bulldog, you can rest assured that he'll slobber a lot. Those with heads that are more like a Boxer or Terrier (two of the other more common breeds that produce this type of dog) are less likely to drool as much. As it will be especially bad when they eat or drink, it's recommended to put a mat under the food and water bowls. This mat should be cleaned frequently. Dog slobber carries allergens. When the drool dries, the allergens will fly just as if they were dander from the dog's hair. Keep a number of towels handy and mop often.

Daily brushing will greatly reduce the frustration of these dogs hairs getting everywhere. Still, you will need to sweep fairly regularly. If you have furniture or clothes that are in contrast to the dog's coat colors, you can bet those hairs will be visible on them. Keep a lint roller near the front closet and living room for a quick clean-up. There is no way to stop the shedding, and it shouldn't be looked at as a problem so much as just the way things are.

American Pit Bull Terrier Diet

American Pit Bull Terrier types are, in a physical sense, fast-growing dogs. When it comes to Pitbull food, these dogs are best served a high-protein diet. It's recommended that puppies be fed about 22% protein. Adults still need a lot but less so at around 18%. Fat should also be included. Puppies should have around 8% fat but adults are fine with approximately 5% fat. Also, puppies are best fed 3-5 times a day whereas adults should be fed twice a day. No dog should be allowed to eat for 30 minutes after exercise or strenuous activity. They tend to choke down their food, and this can hurt their dental, digestive, and overall health.

Whether you choose a high-quality commercial dog food, such as Royal Canin Pitbull dog food, or a raw food diet, you should know about the ingredients. The same goes for whether that raw food (often called a BARF: Bones And Raw Food) is store-bought or home-made. Just as you research what you eat, you should also research your dog's nutrition. Cheap food is simply not good as it contains grains, corn filler, and lots of bad things for your dog. There are plenty of APBT horror stories about allergies that are caused by cheap foods and corn, soy, grain, and other awful fillers.

American Pit Bull Terrier Feeding Chart
Dog AgeDog WeightFood TypeAmountFrequency6 Weeks6-8 lbsMoistened dry1/2 cup4-5 times/day12 weeks8-12 lbsMoistened dry1/2 cup3-4 times/day3 months12-20 lbsdry/wet1 cup3 times/day6 months20-50 lbsdry/wet1/2 cup2-3 times/day1 year50-70 lbsdry/wet1/2 cup2 times/day

Obesity is more a problem with these types of dogs than with others. Free feeding when they are puppies might be OK, but is definitely not good when they are adults. It's fine if you want a big APBT or for her to gain weight, but you want to avoid having an obese or even chubby dog. When they are puppies, you will want to monitor their diets, even if they are free-feeding, so they don't grow too fast. This will put too much strain on their joints and could result in hip dysplasia. If you are free-feeding your puppies, you can easily end up with fat Pitbulls. Avoid table scraps, and snacks are OK so long as they are proper and healthful dog snacks.

Living Environment

American Pit Bull Terriers have many issues regarding living environments. One concerns weather. Cold weather, even as seemingly mild as the mid 60s degrees Fahrenheit, can be uncomfortable. If it continues to go down into the 40s and is night, however, they must have a properly built dog house or insulated, wind-free shelter. Inside, where they may be much less prone to running around, less than warm temps may have them heading for the blankets. Likewise, very warm weather can make Pitbulls anxious as well as prompt heat stroke. When cold, these short-haired dogs that tend to have little fat under the muscular skin surface need sweaters or some clothing. If extremely hot, water, shade, and rest is essential, as is keeping them out of direct sunlight as much as possible.

The other issue, legality and apartments that allow such dogs, is discussed elsewhere on the American Pit Bull Terrier page.

Temperature Range

American Pit Bull Terriers can get along fine in hotter climates but are not well suited for the cold. In any case, they should not be left outside for too long because of their strong attachment to people.

Pit Bull Grooming

Read the grooming requirements for American Pit Bull Terriers including coat care and other maintenance.

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:December 15, 2017