How Many Calories Does a Dog Need Every Day?

While it would be great to simply say that a dog needs ‘x’ amount of calories per day to be healthy, you simply can’t.  You see, your dog’s daily calorie requirement is dependent upon several different factors. You must first take into account your dog’s age, lifestyle, amount of activity, etc.  Due to this, it is literally mathematically impossible to determine an exact number of calories that should be consumed per day. This is not including your dog’s metabolic rate, which can alter their caloric needs by as much as 20 percent in either direction.  

With this being said, you should keep in mind that any number that you are able to come up with should be viewed as more of a daily caloric estimate, as opposed to an actual guideline.  The best thing that you can do is to feed your dog a certain number of calories and pay attention. Monitor whether or not your dog gains any weight, or even if they start to lose weight.  Keep an eye on the condition of their body and their overall wellbeing. After you do this, you can then adjust their daily caloric intake in the appropriate manner.

On a side note, if you do decide to feed your dog a certain amount of calories per day, be sure that you have your veterinarian’s permission first.  Talk with them about what you are going to be doing so that they are able to make sure your dog stays safe while you are experimenting with the caloric intake amounts.  This is especially important for your dog, as they can’t tell you how they feel. Since figuring out how many calories your dog should be eating on the daily is not a ‘one size fits all’ type of situation, it is best to try and keep them as safe as possible while you are figuring it out.

With that being said, there is a standard equation that some veterinarians use to help them determine how many calories a dog should consume per day.  It is however, to figure out what their daily maintenance intake should be (how many calories they use every day just being alive), as to their ideal caloric intake that factors in activity and what not.  This equation is:

  1.  Take your dog’s bodyweight and divide it by 2.2, which converts it to kilograms (kg).
  2.  Figure out the RER (Resting Energy Requirement):

RER = 70(your dog’s body weight in kilograms)^.75

  1.  Find the MER (Maintenance Energy Requirement):

MER = correct multiplier X RER

Some of the most common multipliers include:

Neutered    1.6

Not neutered    1.8

For weight loss   1

For weight gain   1.7

Low activity       2

Moderate activity   3

Heavy activity     6

Younger than 4 months old    3

Older than 4 months old     2

Here is an example of what the equation would look like if your dog were to weight 45 pounds.

45 pounds/2.2 kilograms = 20.5 kilograms

70 (20.5^.75) = 674 calories per day

1.6 x 672 calories = 1075 calories per day

Just remember that this is more of an estimate and not an exact guideline when it comes to your dog’s daily caloric intake.

How Many Calories Does a Dog Need Every Day?
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