Getting your dog the proper nutrition is imperative for them to live a long, healthy, happy life, and to ensure that you can do that, you’re going to need to know what makes for a great canine diet. Whether they’re a pit bull terrier, a chihuahua, or a St. Bernard, there are basic nutritional requirements that all dogs must meet, but there are some adjustments you should make based on the breed, the age of the dog, their level of activity, and more.
American Staffordshire terrier puppies, also known as Amstaffs or Staffies, have similar diet requirements to all puppies. Still, there are a few things to know about this type of dog regarding proper nutrition. If you’re looking to bring this beautiful cross between the bulldog and terrier breeds home to your family, be sure to read this guide to proper Amstaff nutrition first.
What Is an American Staffordshire Terrier?
The American Staffordshire terrier is a medium-sized but muscular dog breed that descends from the bull and terrier, a type of dog bred in 19th century England for dogfighting, baiting, and hunting. Their genetic history may have earned them a reputation as violent and dangerous, but a well-trained Amstaff is a good-natured, loyal, affectionate family companion.
According to the AKC, Staffies are “highly trainable, as their many forays into showbiz suggest,” which is a good thing because they require training. These dogs have above-average activity levels, which means they can become destructive if you don’t teach them how to use their energy constructively. Like most dog breeds, they can become aggressive if they’re not socialized from an early age.
With an average lifespan of 12-16 years, the Amstaff is fortunately not known to experience many severe health problems at an elevated rate compared to other breeds. However, skin allergies are not uncommon for these dogs, and issues like cerebellar ataxia and heart disease can occur in them. Regular checkups with the vet can help catch these issues early on.
Ideal Size and Weight for an American Staffordshire Terrier
Part of providing proper nutrition for your Staffy is knowing what the breed’s ideal size and weight is. You can expect your male pup to grow up to 18-19 inches tall, with a healthy weight of around 55-70 pounds. The ideal size is 17-18 inches for females, and a healthy weight is anywhere between 40 and 55 pounds.
Much like their bulldog and pit bull terrier cousins, Staffies are not very big dogs, but they are muscular and therefore a bit denser and heavier than other dogs their size. This fact, coupled with their above-average energy levels, significantly impacts what makes an excellent diet for this short hair terrier breed.
Best Food Brands for Your Amstaff
When you’re looking for the best dog food for your Amstaff, you’re going to want to look for foods full of protein (preferably from meat) as well as fruits and veggies. That is the standard healthy dog diet, but Staffy owners should emphasize protein because of their breed’s significant muscle mass.
Fortunately, there are plenty of protein-rich dog foods on the market. Aim for a minimum of 22% protein and 8% for your puppy food, and 18% protein and 5% fat in your adult food. That will help your Amstaff develop that beautiful lean muscle mass without the risk of obesity and all of its related health problems. Remember, these are minimums, so don’t be alarmed by-products on this list that well exceed those numbers.
When it comes to the debate between dry dog food and wet food, the most important thing is that it is high quality. Kibble can be higher in carbs, and wet food can be more nutritious, but if you choose a great brand that offers a quality blend of vitamins, minerals, fat, proteins, and other nutrients, your pup should be a good place as far as their diet goes. That is, of course, if you don’t over or underfeed them.
Instinct Raw Boost Grain-Free Recipe with Real Chicken & Freeze-Dried Raw Pieces Dry Dog Food
A high-quality kibble with a high quantity of protein and ingredients should be largely familiar to you. That is one of the top-rated adult dog foods (not puppy foods!) on the market, and your Staffy should love what it has to offer. This food is excellent for pretty much all dog breeds. Just be careful about the amount of food you serve your Staffy when using Instinct, as it is relatively high in calories.
CANIDAE Grain-Free PURE Real Salmon & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
As we mentioned earlier, the American Staffordshire terrier is one of the dog breeds prone to skin allergies, which may not necessarily be deadly. Still, they can cause your pup quite a bit of discomfort. Fortunately, this grain-free kibble was made with these sensitive-skinned breeds in mind. Its main ingredient is salmon, which is full of protein and loaded with omega 3s and omega 6s, which promote skin health. Keep in mind that it is adult food, not puppy food, and you shouldn’t feed it to any dog under 12 months old, even if you lessen the amount of food you’re serving them.
Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food
This grain-free kibble is intended for high-energy breeds and is rich in omega 3s and 6s, which support skin health. It’s among the most affordable high-quality dry dog foods, as well. The low cost for the amount of food you get combined with its outstanding quality and nutritional value makes Blue Buffalo an excellent choice for conscientious dog owners on a budget. They also offer puppy food that’s great for Staffies, so be sure to check that out, too.
Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Grain-Free Adult Large Breed Lamb & Sweet Potato Recipe Dry Dog Food
Sweet potato is considered a superfood, so why not include it in your pup’s diet? Nutro’s limited ingredient dry dog food lists them as one of their top ingredients, so you know this grain-free kibble is packed with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. It’s also an excellent choice for dog breeds that are predisposed to skin allergies like the Amstaff. That is adult dog food, but Nutro does have excellent puppy food, as well. If your dog is under 12 months of age, be sure to look for those products rather than lowering the amount of food you give them.
Taste of the Wild Sierra Mountain Grain-Free Dry Food
Taste of the Wild is one of the most popular dry dog foods around. This grain-free kibble is known for its high-quality ingredients, including protein-rich salmon that make it so your pup can get their fill, and their nutrients, on only a tiny amount of food. The omega 3s and 6s from the salmon also make this food great for Staffies with skin conditions. That is adult dog food, but the Taste of the Wild puppy recipe is excellent, too.
Health Issues Related to Poor Nutrition
It’s incredibly important to make sure your Staffy maintains a regular diet of high-quality dog food, or they may wind up suffering from several nutrition-related health problems. Two of the more obvious issues related to poor nutrition are heart disease and obesity, but there are some others that you may not suspect. A poor diet can lead to a weakened immune system which can exacerbate symptoms of hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and other joint issues. Ultimately, a lack of good nutrition in dogs can shorten their lifespans.
Staffies are known to occasionally experience food sensitivities to things such as wheat, soy, and chicken, as well as fillers and additives. If that’s the case for your pup, there are a few different dog foods on this list that would be perfect for them. Just be sure you always read the ingredients before feeding your food-sensitive dog anything.
A perhaps overlooked side of dog nutrition is portioning. The amount of food you give your dog is tremendously important, as your dog is most likely to continue eating endlessly, provided there is food in front of them. The proper amount will be based on the dog’s age, size, weight, and activity level. As a general rule of thumb, 20-30 calories per pound per day should be enough food for your Staffy.
Healthy Eating Tips
You know now what to do when mealtime comes, but kibble is not the only aspect of Amstaff nutrition you need to pay attention to. Adult dog food aside, you’re going to want to make sure your pup stays plenty hydrated, and you’re going to want to be conscientious about the dog treats you give them as well. Your pup will love chewy snacks of all kinds, but it’s essential to keep the high-fat ones to a minimum and instead opt for holistic treats that contain vitamins, minerals, and fish oil for their skin and coat.
A healthy diet, along with the proper amount of socialization and exercise, is the key to raising your American Staffordshire terrier into an incredible family companion. It’s also the key to having that family companion with you for as long as possible.
Food for Thought
Well, there you have it. All you need to know about your American Staffordshire terrier’s dietary needs. Remember that providing your dog with the perfect diet requires special attention to their specific needs. It’s up to you, and perhaps your vet, to determine which dog food is best for your particular pup. Good luck!