How many calories does my dog need? (calculator)
Do you ever wonder how many calories your dog needs? It can be tough to calculate, but we have a handy calculator to help make it easy. Just enter in your pup’s weight and activity level, and we’ll do the rest. Keep reading to learn more about how many calories dogs need and what you can do to keep them healthy!
(Disclaimer: This tool is a simple estimate based on data by vet.osu.edu. Results may vary depending on the specific situation, which is why we always recommend seeking professional help. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact your local veterinarian.)
How many calories does my dog need?
It is difficult to estimate how many calories your particular dog needs every day without knowing more about his or her activity level, weight, and current health condition.
For this reason, we created a calculator that can give you a more accurate idea of how many calories your dog needs.
To use the calculator, simply enter your dog’s weight, if he/she is intact/neutered, their activity level, and their current body weight condition.
The calculator will give an estimate of how many calories your dog needs per day.
This is just an estimate and you should always speak with your veterinarian about your dog’s specific calorie needs.
How many calories should a dog eat? (Formula)
Step 1 (Calculating RER)
The first step is calculating RER (Resting Energy Requirement or Basal Metabolic Rate). This is the number of calories your dog needs without any energy expended through physical activity.
The calculation is as followed:
70(Bodyweight of your dog in kg)^0.75
For example, if your dog weighs 10 kg, the calculation would be:
70(10)^0.75 = 393.6 RER
If your are using lbs simply divide by 2.2 to convert your dog’s weight into kg:
70(Bodyweight in lbs/2.2)^0.75
Step 2 (Intact/neutered)
After calculating your dog’s RER you will need to multiply the number by one of the following:
- Intact adult= 1.8 multiplier
- Neutered adult = 1.6 multiplier
For example, if your dog is an intact male and weighs 22lbs (10kg), the calculation would be:
393.6 x 1.8 = 706.48 daily calorie intake
Step 3 (Activity level)
After multiplying your dog’s RER by either the intact or neutered multiplier, you will need to multiply that number by your dog’s activity level.
- Inactive: Resting most of the day with short walks/plays. x 1 = No additional calories required
- Somewhat active: A few short walks/plays throughout the day. x 1.2 = 20% more calories required
- Active: A good amount of exercise/playtime throughout the day. x 1.4 = 40% more calories required
- Very active: Long walks/runs, multiple playtimes per day, or a working dog. x 1.6 = 60% more calories required
For example, if your dog is an intact male, weighs 22lbs (10kg) and is somewhat active, the calculation would be:
706.48 x 1.2 = 847.77 daily calorie intake
Step 4 (Body weight/condition)
After step 1-3 we want to know the current condition of your dog’s weight so we can give an estimate of how many calories per day they will need.
- Underweight (visible ribs, no body fat, and/or noticeable waistline) x 1.2 = 20% more calories required
- Ideal weight (can feel ribs with light pressure, waistline visible when standing above dog, and/or light body fat) x 1 = No additional calories required
- Overweight (difficult to feel ribs with pressure, no waistline visible, and/or heavy body fat) x 0.8 = 20% fewer calories required
For example, if your dog is an intact male, weighs 22lbs (10kg), is somewhat active and is overweight, the calculation would be:
847.77 x 0.8 = 678.22 daily calorie intake
Step 5 (outcome)
After completing steps 1-4, you should have a number representing how many calories your dog needs per day.
It is important to remember that this is just an estimate and you should always speak with your veterinarian about your dog’s specific calorie needs.
How can I make sure my dog is getting the right amount of calories per day?
If you give your dog kibble, the best way to make sure they are getting the right amount of calories per day is to look at the guaranteed analysis on the side of the bag. This will give you an idea of how many calories are in each cup of kibble.
If you feed your dog a homemade diet or raw food diet, it is important to calculate the calories in a single portion to make sure your dog is getting the right amount of calories per day. You can do this by using a food calculator or by looking up the calorie content of each ingredient in a database.
Once you know the calorie content of a single portion, try consistently feed your dog that amount every day and monitor their weight. If your dog starts to gain or lose weight, you can adjust the amount of food you are giving them until you find the perfect balance for their needs.
According to The Ohio State University, a puppy requires about two to three times as many calories as an adult dog.
We highly recommend discussing your puppy’s calorie needs with your veterinarian as they can give you a more accurate idea based on your puppy’s breed, weight, and health condition.
As dog’s age, their energy levels tend to decrease and they may become less active. For this reason, senior dogs typically require fewer calories than adult dogs.
When using the calculator for a senior dog, we recommend that you fill in somewhat active/inactive.