Are you thinking about adding a Pit Bull to your family? Maybe you already have a houseful. Either way, now you’re wondering: How long do Pit Bulls live?
The quick answer is that Pit Bulls live an average of 12 to 14 years. However, there are some things you can do to help your Pit Bull live a long life, so keep reading to find out how to help your dog have plenty of quality years with you.
- What’s a Pit Bull?
- Typical Pit Bull Lifespan
- Things that Might Affect How Long a Pit Bull Lives
- Ways to Help Your Pit Bull Live Longer
- Feed Your Pit Bull a High-Quality Diet
- Final Thoughts on How Long Pit Bulls Live
What’s a Pit Bull?
There is a dog breed named the American Pit Bull Terrier. However, many people use the term Pit Bull to refer to a type of dog rather than a specific breed. Dogs often referred to as Pit Bulls include the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, and the American Bulldog. The information in this article applies to any Pit Bull-type dog.
Typical Pit Bull Lifespan
The typical Pit Bull lifespan is about 12 to 14 years. Your dog might die tragically young or live several years past 14, but it’s safe to count on around a dozen years with your Pit Bull.
Things that Might Affect How Long a Pit Bull Lives
There are a whole lot of things that may affect how long a Pit Bull lives. A few factors that could shorten your dog’s life expectancy include:
- Poor diet can contribute to a variety of health issues
- Heart disease is a problem that can reduce your Pit Bull’s life
- Obesity causes many of the same life-threatening conditions in dogs as it does in people
- Hip dysplasia, a genetic condition, can cause crippling pain that impacts your Pit Bull’s quality of life
- Lack of exercise can cause a Pit Bull to become destructive from boredom and pent-up energy; destructive Pit Bulls tend to end up in shelters, where they have a high likelihood of being euthanized.
- Lack of training is one factor that could cause a Pit Bull to attack a person or another dog; aggressive Pit Bulls are at higher risk of being euthanized.
Ways to Help Your Pit Bull Live Longer
There are no guarantees in life, and there’s no accounting for bad luck. However, there are many things you can do to help increase the likelihood that your Pit Bull will live a long and healthy life.
Choose the Right Pit Bull Breeder
Like all purebred dogs, Pit Bulls are prone to certain genetic conditions. Responsible breeders work hard to reduce the likelihood of those genetic conditions being passed down to the puppies in their litters. They do a lot of testing to ensure they’re breeding only the healthiest animals.
On the other hand, there are a lot of people just pumping out Pit Bull puppies for quick money who don’t care about perpetuating genetic problems. These types of breeding facilities may also be prone to sending puppies home with contagious diseases like parvo.
How can you tell if your Pit Bull puppy is coming from a good breeder? Never buy a puppy from a pet store (unless it’s in an area that requires pet stores to adopt out dogs from shelters) and be careful about buying puppies from people online. Here are some tips to help find a reputable breeder amongst all the bad ones:
- You should be able to visit the puppies on site
- They should offer (or even require) to take the puppy back if health problems turn up or you can’t keep the puppy for some reason
- You should be allowed to meet the puppy’s mother (bonus points if you can meet the father, too)
- The breeder should perform health tests on dogs they intend to breed
- They should ask you questions so they can be sure their puppy is going to a good home
- The breeder might offer health guarantees
Make Sure they Are a Healthy Weight
Obesity could shorten your dog’s life by as much as 2 years. That’s because obesity causes or contributes to a variety of health problems, including:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Arthritis and quicker deterioration of joints
- Kidney problems
- Reduced quality of life
Just like with people, managing your Pit Bull’s weight is about making sure they’re eating an appropriate amount of healthy food and getting plenty of exercise. If you love to give your Pit Bull treats, try switching to vegetables like carrots or sugar snap peas instead of biscuits.
You may not even realize that your Pit Bull is overweight. How can you tell? Your Pit Bull should have a tucked-in waist when viewed from the side and from above while they’re standing. Also, you should be able to feel (but not see) your dog’s ribs.
If your dog needs to lose a significant amount of weight, be sure to talk to their vet about how to get the weight off safely. Your dog might not get enough nutrients by simply feeding less of their regular food – you may need to switch to a lower-fat food.
Give Your Pit Bull Lots of Training and Exercise
Sadly, Pit Bulls are more likely to end up in shelters than any other dog breed. The unfortunate reality is that more than half a million dogs are euthanized each year in American animal shelters, and Pit Bulls top the list of who gets euthanized the most frequently.
Pit Bulls can become extremely destructive if they get bored, which can lead them to being dumped at shelters. Make sure your Pit Bull gets plenty of exercise and is well-trained to help prevent destructive (or even dangerous) behaviors that could land your dog in a shelter or at animal control.
Take Your Pit Bull to the Vet Regularly
Dogs tend to hide their symptoms when they aren’t feeling well. The best way to spot a health problem before it becomes life-threatening is to take your Pit Bull to the vet for a physical exam at least once a year.
Many health problems are easier to treat if they’re caught early, so never believe that it’s a waste of time and money to take your dog to the vet when they seem healthy. It could add years to their life if a health problem is caught before your dog is showing obvious symptoms.
Brush Your Pit Bull’s Teeth
Did you know that 80% of dogs show signs of gum disease by the time they’re 3 years old? This is a bigger problem than you might expect. Bacteria from under your Pit Bull’s gumline can travel through their bloodstream to their heart or other organs and kill them in cases of severe gum disease.
Feeding your Pit Bull kibble and the occasional bone just isn’t enough to prevent gum disease. Ideally, you should brush your Pit Bull’s teeth every day with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs.
Dog toothpaste is enzymatic, so the toothpaste itself helps break down plaque and tartar. That means you don’t need to sit and scrub your Pit Bull’s teeth for two minutes – you just need to get the toothpaste spread over the teeth as evenly as possible.
Never use human toothpaste on dogs. It’s toxic for them.
Feed Your Pit Bull a High-Quality Diet
You probably know that junk food is bad for people. If you have any doubts, watch the documentary “Super Size Me,” which follows Morgan Spurlock as he eats nothing but McDonald’s for a month.
Junk food is bad for dogs, too. You may not even realize that you’re feeding your Pit Bull junk food. After all, dog food is supposed to be good for your dog, right? Not necessarily. While dog food is required to provide certain nutrients, dog food companies can basically spray synthetic vitamins onto cooked garbage and call it good enough.
Let’s look at the ingredients of a couple of different dog foods so you can see the difference in quality.
Here are the top 10 ingredients for Pedigree Adult Dry Dog Food – Roasted Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Flavor, a popular cheap dog food:
- Ground whole grain corn
- Meat and bone meal
- Corn gluten meal
- Animal fat
- Soybean meal
- Natural flavor
- Chicken by-product meal
- Dried plain beet pulp
- Potassium Chloride
Aside from the fact that we have no idea what animals the meat and animal fat are coming from (Horses? Roadkill? Euthanized pets? Dead zoo animals?), there’s hardly any nutritional value to any of those ingredients. There’s no real meat or vegetables – almost every ingredient is made from human food waste.
How, let’s look at the ingredients for a premium dog food brand, ORIJEN High-Protein, Grain-Free, Premium Quality Meat, Dry Dog Food:
- Deboned chicken
- Deboned turkey
- Whole Atlantic mackerel
- Chicken liver
- Turkey liver
- Chicken heart
- Turkey heart
- Whole Atlantic herring
Those ingredients look good enough for people to eat, so you can be sure they’re much healthier for your Pit Bull to eat than ground whole grain corn and corn gluten meal.
You are what you eat, and the same goes for your beloved Pit Bull. Investing a little more money in their food is an investment in their long-term health.
Final Thoughts on How Long Pit Bulls Live
There are no guarantees in life. Hopefully, though, if you follow all of our suggestions, you’ll enjoy plenty of great years with your Pit Bull.