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The Bull Terrier is a medium-sized dog that was originally bred for fighting but eventually came to be kept as a companion pet. These dogs have thick, dense fur pointed ears but their most easily identifiable characteristic is their egg-shaped heads. Bull Terriers may be somewhat intimidating in terms of their appearance, but they are actually a very friendly and people-loving breed that does well as a family pet. Just keep in mind that these dogs need a good deal of daily exercise in addition to mental stimulation to prevent the development of problem behaviors.
Bull Terriers make great pets but, unfortunately, they have a bad rap for being aggressive – this is likely due to their history as a fighting breed. When properly trained and socialized, however, the Bull Terrier is actually very friendly, though they may be too rambunctious to be kept in homes with small children. In order to keep your Bull Terrier healthy you need to be intentional about what you feed him to make sure his nutritional needs are being met. Below you will find valuable information about meeting your Bull Terrier’s nutritional needs as well as some special considerations to make. You will also find recommendations for commercial dog foods for this breed.
Nutritional Needs for Bull Terriers
The Bull Terrier was developed during the 19th century by crossing various breeds to create the ultimate fighting dog. Bull Terriers have strong jaws and a tenacious temperament – they also have a tendency to be a little aggressive toward other dogs if they aren’t properly trained and socialized. Bull Terriers vary in size with males typically weighing between 55 and 65 pounds and females weighing between 45 and 55 pounds. The Bull Terrier is definitely not an easy to dog to own because it can be stubborn and difficult to train – this breed also doesn’t tend to get along well with strange dogs or people. Though these dogs may be difficult to train, they are generally a healthy breed and they can live up to 15 years with proper care and a healthy diet.
A healthy diet for dogs like the Bull Terrier will provide a balance of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Protein is the most important consideration for a dog’s diet and it should come from high-quality animal-based sources like fresh meat and fish. Do not automatically write of products that list some kind of meat meal (like chicken meal or turkey meal) because meat meals are actually a highly concentrated source of protein and a valuable addition to your dog’s diet. Plant-based proteins like alfalfa meal and pea protein are not necessarily bad for your dog, but they are much less biologically valuable than animal-based proteins so they should only be used as supplemental protein sources. When choosing a commercial diet for your dog, look for a high-quality animal protein at the top of the list.
After protein, fats are the next most important nutritional consideration for dogs. Fats are the most concentrated source of energy you can give your dog but, especially with a heavyset breed like the Bull Terrier, you need to be careful about how much fat you are feeding your dog. Healthy fats should come from animal-based sources like chicken fat and salmon oil – plant-based fats like canola oil and ground flaxseed are generally not bad for your dog but they are less biologically valuable than fats that come from animal sources. Finally, you need to make sure your dog gets some carbohydrates in order to provide dietary fiber as well as vitamins and minerals. Carbs should come from digestible sources like whole grains or starchy vegetables like sweet potato.
Special Considerations for Bull Terriers
In addition to making sure your Bull Terrier’s general nutritional needs are being met, you also have to make a few special considerations. For one thing, Bull Terriers are prone to developing food allergies so you need to be careful about what kind of diet you choose for your dog. If you Bull Terrier has already displayed signs of food allergies you should switch him to a Limited Ingredient Diet for 12 weeks until all symptoms disappear. Then you can choose to remain on that diet or introduce potential allergens one at a time until you identify the culprit. Then, you simply choose a diet that is free from that allergen. Feeding your Bull Terrier a diet made with a novel source of protein like rabbit or duck as well as gluten- and grain-free carbohydrates like tapioca or sweet potato will help to prevent the development of food allergies.
The Bull Terrier may not be the largest of dogs, but it does have a deep chest which puts it at risk for a condition called gastric dilation volvulus, or bloat. This condition occurs when the dog’s stomach fills with air and it could lead to decreased blood flow to vital organs as well as breathing problems. If the condition is allowed to progress the stomach could actually twist, cutting off blood supply to the stomach and increasing your dog’s risk for death. The best way to protect your Bull Terrier from this condition is to avoid feeding him too much at once. You should also keep him from drinking too much water or exercising vigorously within an hour of a meal. Some dog owners say that feeding your dog from a raised bowl will also help to prevent bloat.
Top Recommended Dog Foods for Bull Terriers
If you need some help in finding the right food for your Bull Terrier, consider one of the commercial dog food brands discussed below. Be careful when considering a breed-specific formula for your dog – do not just assume that the formula will meet your dog’s needs without evaluating the product for yourself. Consider the ingredients list to make sure that the product is of high-quality before offering it to your dog.
1. Premium Edge Large Breed Lamb, Rice & Vegetable Formula
The Premium Edge pet food company offers a wide variety of different pet food products for both dogs and cats. This company is dedicated to ensuring whole health and nutrition for puppies and dogs of all sizes and they offers several size-specific formulas. The Bull Terrier walks the line between medium- and large-breed, so the Premium Edge Large Breed Lamb, Rice & Vegetable formula would be a good choice for dogs on the larger end of the spectrum. This formula is made with lamb and lamb meal as the top two ingredients followed by white rice, cracked pearl barley and peas. Other notable ingredients include chicken fat, oatmeal, flaxseed, and ocean fish meal. This formula is loaded with animal proteins and healthy fats as well as fresh fruits and vegetables for added antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Overall, this formula is a great choice for medium- and large-breed dogs like the Bull Terrier.
2. Simply Nourish Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Sweet Potato & Salmon Formula
The Simply Nourish brand of pet foods is owned and produced by PetSmart. While many pet store brands use low-quality ingredients, Simply Nourish makes all of their products with high-quality animal proteins at the top of the ingredients list. This brand also uses whole-grain carbohydrates and fresh fruits and vegetables in their formulas. The Simply Nourish Limited Ingredient Diet Adult Sweet Potato & Salmon formula would be an excellent choice for the Bull Terrier for a number of reasons. This formula is made with a limited number of ingredients including a novel source of protein and carbohydrate so it won’t aggravate your dog’s food allergies. Second, it is loaded with high-quality animal proteins and digestible carbohydrates. Simply Nourish also offers several large- and medium-breed specific formulas in both their Grain-Free line and SOURCE line of high-protein formulas.
3. Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult Healthy Weight Chicken & Brown Rice Formula
Because they use only the highest quality ingredients in their formulas, Blue Buffalo has gained a reputation as being a top-rated, natural pet food brand. Blue Buffalo offers four different product lines of dry foods for dogs – the Life Protection line of natural foods, the Freedom line of grain-free foods, the Basics line of Limited Ingredient Diets, and the Wilderness line of high-protein foods. If you are looking for a formula to feed your Bull Terrier, the Blue Buffalo Large Breed Adult Healthy Weight Chicken & Brown Rice Formula would be a great option. Not only is this formula made with fresh chicken, chicken meal and brown rice as the top three ingredients but it has lower levels of fat to help prevent your Bull Terrier from gaining too much weight. This formula is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals plus a blend of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
The Bull Terrier is a stubborn and tenacious breed which means that it is not the right choice for everyone. If you choose to keep one of these dogs you need to be intentional about socializing and training him – you also need to provide him with a high-quality diet like one of those reviewed above.