One glance at an American Bully, and one is left with the impression that it is a robust and athletic breed. However, the high-quality genetics of the American Bully doesn’t guarantee good health. A healthy American Bully puppy needs a diet that meets its daily nutritional requirement and helps it achieve weight goals for its developmental stage.
A Bully pup’s nutritional requirements are met by its mother’s breast milk until its second week. Pups are then introduced to solid foods with adjustments to the serving sizes until the 12th week. From the 4th to the 12th month, the Bully should have five cups per day divided over three meals.
The rest of this article will discuss the developmental stages of an American Bully pup and the respective nutritional requirements for each stage until adulthood. If you have a Bully and aren’t sure about the correct feeding practices, keep reading along to learn more.
How Should an American Bully Pup Be Fed?
An American Bully should be fed based on its growth stage. Its feedings will need constant adjusting as it gets older until they reach the 12-month milestone. When the puppy reaches adulthood, the standard feeding is 3-4 cups a day given in two meals.
Here is a table summarizing the serving sizes and frequency of your Bully’s feedings as it matures into adulthood.
|Birth – 2 Weeks||Mother’s Milk or Puppy Formula||Per Demand|
|4 Weeks||Puppy Food With Water||Three- quarters of each meal should be water with the remainder being small portions soaked in water||Once per day, with breast milk as a supplement.||May have small amounts of adult dog food soaked in water|
|6 Weeks||Puppy Food With Decreased Ratio of Water||Adjusted adult dog food with decreasing amounts of water until the puppy is able to eat the dog food by itself||Twice a day if breastfeeding starts to become less frequent||The pups meal gradually becomes a regular canine diet.|
|8 Weeks||Dog Food||As tolerated; if the pup is unable to finish food served, take the plate away and feed only after 4 hours||Four times a day||Completely weaned from mother’s milk; a feeding frame is implemented|
|10 Weeks||Dog Food||1 cup per meal||Four times a day|
|12 Weeks||Dog Food||1 cup per meal||Three times a day||Increased activeness will be noted; serving sizes may need to be adjusted|
|4 – 12 Months||Dog Food||5 cups divided into 3 meals||Three times a day|
|12 Months||Dog Food||3-4 cups divided into 2 meals||Twice a day||Considered adult at 12 months|
People often ask if serving your dog one big meal for the whole day will suffice. However, this practice is not recommended.
Prolonged time intervals between feedings can lead to hypoglycemia–a state of low blood sugar. Prolonged states of low blood sugar will lead to other health complications.
Long intervals between meals can also cause bloat, leading to stomach torsion, a fatal condition usually seen in large dogs. The feeding frequencies in the American Bully feeding chart are recommended for your pup’s optimum growth and development.
These have been proven to provide for the pup’s nutritional needs while avoiding crashes in blood sugar levels.
The Body Condition Score
An American Bully should never be too fat or too thin. The Body Condition Score (BCS) measures a dog’s ideal weight. The score covers degrees 1 through 9 with each, describing a different grade of the dog’s physical condition.
Each grade covers a two-digit range.(1-2, 3-4 etc.) with the exception of 5 which is the optimal body condition. The Body Condition Score is an ascending scale beginning at the lowest 1-2 grade which describes an underfed, emaciated dog.
The scale advances until the highest grade (8-9) which describes a dog on the other end of the scale— overweight.
In some ways, it is similar to the Body Mass Index(BMI) that human body weight is graded on, albeit a more simplified version. Regardless, it’s best to keep your dog as close to ideal weight as possible.
This is the characterization of ideal dog weight according to the BCS:
- No excess fat. The ribs can be felt by a soft touch without too much pressure but cannot be seen.
- Decent muscle mass.
- It should not have a bulging belly or pooled fat on the body.
- A defined waist.
To achieve a BCS of 5, you will need to know how much to feed your Bully and strike a balance between diet and exercise. You can provide the right amount if you know your pup’s daily caloric requirement.
How To Compute Total Caloric Requirement of Your Pup
It’s important to know just how much food your dog needs. This daily total is its total caloric intake and is an important figure as it will dictate portion sizes, growth, and keep your dog within healthy BCS ranges.
The most important figure to calculate here is the Resting Energy Requirement (RER). This is a figure that dictates the bare minimum amount of energy that your dog needs for compulsory activities like metabolism.
As daily needs can vary depending on your dog’s activity level, it does not give the actual caloric requirements for your dog. Rather, it gives you a baseline you can build a viable diet from.
To calculate your puppy’s RER all you need is basic math knowledge and your puppy’s weight in kilograms.
Once you have our dog’s weight you can calculate RER by raising it to three-quarters of a power then multiplying by 70.
Say your puppy weighs about 10 kilograms. It’s RER would be:
This gives an RER requirement of about 400 calories. Remember that this figure is not the total calories your dog needs. It only gives the minimum requirement. Many people recommend doubling this figure to get the actual total daily calorie intake but as everyone raises their dogs differently, this might not be the best option for you.
I recommend starting with a good recommendation from a reputable source. The OSU Vet Center has a good starting point for different ages and types of dogs.
You can use this as your baseline and build on it, adding or subtracting as you get more comfortable with deciding how much your dog needs.
Nutritional Needs of An American Bully Pup
Like humans, American Bullies need a balance of the different nutrients to achieve optimum health. Their uniquely muscular and athletic build means their nutritional requirements may look different than that of other breeds. Let’s look at what constitutes your Bully’s dietary needs:
Proteins Help Strengthen Your American Bully’s Muscles
American Bullies are highly muscular. Consequently, protein is key to their growth as they need to maintain this muscle mass. You will need to ensure that you incorporate healthy proteins like meat and fish into their diet.
Carbohydrates Provide Your American Bully’s Energy
The American Bully is an exuberant breed. You will notice they are highly energetic and confident. They are the epitome of what it means to be full of life. To keep up their energy levels, they will need dietary energy sources in the form of carbohydrates.
Vitamins Boost Your American Bully’s Immunity
Just as humans need vitamins for strong immunity, our pets also need vitamins to stay healthy. You can feed them vegetables and fruits to give them their vitamin requirements but there are also veterinary vitamin supplements on the market that provide this.
Minerals Support Some Body Functions of Your American Bully
Minerals are important for dogs, perhaps even more so than humans. Dogs need strong bones and teeth and both of these features are primarily a result of adequate mineral consumption. Among the many minerals available, the most important for dogs are calcium and phosphorus so it’s important to incorporate it into their diet.
Fats Are a Primary Source of Energy in Dogs
While carbohydrates provide energy, fats are the primary source of energy in dogs during rest and most types of exercise. Consequently adding a decent amount of fat to your dog’s diet is important.
However, while it’s important, it’s essential to keep the fat level in your puppy’s diet at a manageable level. Too much of it can cause obesity and lethargy.
Bear in mind that your Bully needs to have a balance of these nutrients. So there is a discussion to be had about whether dog food is a better alternative to home-prepped meals. High-quality dog food is formulated to meet your dog’s nutritional requirements, whereas it takes a certain degree of skill and experience to provide meals that meet your dog’s needs.
Kibble vs. Wet Foods: The Pros & Cons
There is often debate surrounding the use of kibble versus wet food. While some would argue that kibble is the best for growing pups, there is also a solid case to be made for why wet food is the favored option for many.
However, some, including myself, are of the opinion that the two do not have to be mutually exclusive. Both have pros and cons and can be used alternately at different stages of the pup’s development.
Why Kibble Is a Good Option
Kibble is a blanket term for mostly processed or “dry” food formed into pellets and other shapes for dogs. While humans generally look down on processed food, the case is entirely different for dogs.
Dry food is extremely vital for dogs. It is specifically manufactured for them and consequently has a variety of nutrients packaged into its small form. This makes it a great way to feed your dog most of the nutrients it needs .
The most overlooked benefit in the dry food vs wet food argument is that dry food leapfrogs a lot of the guesswork involved in feeding your dog. Rather than having to eyeball food portions to determine how much of each essential nutrient it contains, you can simply lean on packaging instructions.
This benefit reduces your prep work significantly as all you have to worry about is feeding frequency and portion size.
Why Wet Food is a Good Option
The major benefit of wet food is moisture content. Wet food naturally contains fluids as they are not processed the way kibble is. This makes it a good option to feed dogs their nutrient and fluid requirements simultaneously.
There are certain conditions in which wet food is recommended over dry food. For example, a pup suffering from gum infections or inflammation should be put on a wet diet as this eases the work of chewing, which will inflict less irritation on the gums.
American Bullies with poor appetites may also benefit from wet foods since they are more palatable and whip up more of an appetite than dry kibble. Pups with digestive problems also benefit from wet foods as they are easier to digest.
When Mixing Dry & Wet Food Is Recommended
Some pups with digestive problems fare better on a diet of mixed dry and wet foods. For example, pups with food allergies or chronic diarrhea need dry foods to help firm stools. Mixing the kibble with wet food reduces the effort of digestion.
If you need a step-by-step guide on how to feed your Bully, follow this link for more information on the topic.
American Bully Weekly Growth
It is a good idea to weigh your Bully every week to stay on top of excessive weight gain. While this can be minimized by following the recommended feeding sizes and frequency according to the feeding chart, excess weight gain is still possible when your Bully’s activity level is less than expected.
The table below summarizes the projected weight of your American Bully pup at different milestones in its development.
|4 Weeks||4-9 lbs (1.81-4.08 kg)|
|8 Weeks||23 lbs (10.43 kg)|
|12 Weeks||15-45 lbs (6.8-20.41 kg)|
|4 Months||20-65 lbs (9.07-29.48 kg)|
An American Bully puppy is considered an adult at 12 months. However, it may reach its predicted adult weight of 65 lbs (29.48 kg) at the 4-month milestone. The average American Bully weighs 66 lbs (29.94 kg). This average applies across all breed types, which consist of:
- Standard American Bully
- Classic American Bully
- Pocket American Bully
- XL American Bully
- Extreme (or Exotic) American Bully
While the average weight applies across all breed types, distinguishing physical criteria sets breed types apart and are considered normal for each breed type. It is essential for American Bully owners to know these distinguishing characteristics because it provides a baseline of what is expected in their specific Bully type.
Here is a table highlighting the physical differences considered normal in the different breed types. The table also includes their average measurements:
|Breed||Male Size||Female Size||Average Lifespan||Distinguishing Physical Feature|
|Standard Bully||17-20 inches(43.18-50.8 cm)||16-19 inches(40.64-48.26 cm)||10-12 Years||First created type|
|Classic Bully||17-20 inches43.18-50.8 cm)||16-19 inches(40.64-48.26 cm)||Less overall mass and lighter body frame|
|Pocket Bully||14-17 inches(35.56-50.8 cm)||13-16 inches(33.02-40.64 cm)||Shortest height at adult age|
|XL Bully||20-23 inches(50.8-58.42 cm)||19-22 inches(48.26-55.88 cm)||Largest American Bully type|
These physical standards, as well as the BCS, should be taken into account when following a feeding chart. While the feeding chart is pretty standardized, there may be some differences in results regarding different Bullies.
Factors Affecting Your American Bully Pup’s Growth
Growth and weight gain may be affected by singular or multiple factors. Having standards to measure our Bully’s growth by, as shown in the previous sections, lets you know if your pup is growing well for its developmental stage.
Most people think unhealthy pups are always underweight. But this is not always the case. An overweight pup is also considered unhealthy. Whether it is underweight or overweight for its age, the following factors may be the cause:
- Activity level
- Quality of dog food
- Certain health conditions
Activity Levels Affect Your Bully’s Weight
A decreased activity level may lead to unchecked weight gain. While American Bullies are naturally considered energetic and exuberant, there are always exceptions to the rule. You may feed your pup with religious attention to the feeding chart and still miss your target weight for your puppy. This may be because your pup may not be as active as is considered normal in the breed.
This will lead to your pup having untapped energy reserves that, if left unchecked, can lead to weight gain and even obesity. In these situations, you may need to adjust your Bully’s feedings by reducing its volume. Another measure you can take is to increase your pup’s activity level. American Bullies need a 40-60 minute walk daily. Neglecting this could lead to weight gain.
Quality of Dog Food
The quality of your dog food could lead to your dog falling short of its projected weight. High-quality dog food is formulated to meet the nutritional requirements of your pup. However, not all brands are as dutiful in ensuring that their product is up to the standard. To avoid this problem, ask your pup’s vet or breeder what dog foods they recommend.
A slow metabolism could also lead to excess weight gain, whereas an overactive metabolism could lead to your pup being underweight. Irregularities in the metabolism can be caused by malnutrition.
For example, the metabolism is enhanced by adequate fat intake. Lacking fat in the diet could lead to your pup’s slow metabolism and poor appetite. Some metabolic disorders are inborn and must be diagnosed and medically managed.
Certain Health Conditions
Certain health conditions can lead to poor growth. Food allergies can lead to chronic diarrhea. This causes wasting of nutrients, leading to your pup being severely underweight. These underlying health conditions will require the expertise of your vet.
Your vet can help you develop a tailored dietary plan for your puppy. Your pup might need other medications to correct other health issues caused by the allergies.
The American Bully feeding chart for puppies is a standardized guide to help breed-owners meet their pup’s nutritional requirements at their different developmental milestones all the way into adulthood. However, there are always exceptions to the rule, and sometimes adjustments are needed in the volume and frequency of feeding to meet a pup’s individual nutritional needs.
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