How many calories should my dog get per dayMost of us know that the average person needs 2000 calories per day. However, this recommendation is very broad. The true recommendation depends a lot on your age, activity level, lifestyle, conditions that you might have. Dogs vary in size and form even more greatly than humans, therefore it is important to look at the individual needs of the dog and breed specifics. Puppies, for instance, require more calories than adult dogs to support their growth and development. Similarly, large breeds, such as Great Danes, have different nutritional needs than small breeds, such as Chihuahuas. It is also important to consider a dog’s activity level when calculating their calorie intake. A highly active dog, such as a working dog or a dog that participates in agility sports, will require more calories than a sedentary dog that spends most of their time indoors. Lastly, dogs with certain health conditions, such as kidney disease or obesity, may require a special diet that is tailored to their specific needs. By taking all of these factors into account, you can ensure that your dog is getting the right amount of nutrients to stay healthy and happy. In this article, we will provide you with a formula that canine nutritionists use to calculate a daily ratio for dogs.

The formula:

Here is the formula that I used to calculate daily norms for my canine clients. Don’t be put off by it, we will explain in more detail how to use it.

Daily energy requirement DER=156 x Body Mass^0.67 x k1 x k2 x k3 x k4= … kcal

Body Mass – enter in kilograms

K1 – the dog’s breed

Different dog breeds get a different coefficient as the breeds differ in character and metabolic levels.

K2 – energy level

K3 – physiology

K4 – a health condition

How to apply the formula?

Example No. 1 

I have a Cocker Spaniel. She is a 3 month-old puppy, very active, weighs 6 kilograms, and has no medical conditions.

DER=156 x (Body Mass^0.67) x k1 x k2 x k3 x k4= … kcal

Body Mass – 6 kg

K1 – she is a Spaniel, so 0.9

K2 – she is very active and we spend more than 2 hours outside every day, on the weekends more, so 1.2

K3 – when she grows up, the expected weight is 12-15 kilograms, so she has reached let’s say between 40 and 49% of her adult weight, so 1.75

K4 – she has no conditions, so 1.

DER=156 x  (6^0.67) x 0.9 x 1.2 x 1.75 x 1= 979 kcal

Example No. 2

I have a senior neutered Greyhound, who is turning 9 years old soon. He has arthrosis and is less active and mobile. He weighs 40 kg and his vet says that he should reduce the weight by 4-6 kilograms.

DER=156 x (Body Mass^0.67) x k1 x k2 x k3 x k4= … kcal

Body Mass 40

K1 – he is a sighthound, 1.1

K2 – he is very calm, so 0.8

K3 – he is an adult and neutered, 0.8

K4 – he has more than 10% more than his healthy weight, so he is obese – 0.6

DER=156 x (40^0.67) x 1.1 x 0.8 x 0.8 x 0.8= 1040kcal

Example No. 3

I have a Yorkshire Terrier, she is 12 months old and currently weighs 4.2 kilograms. She is healthy. We walk daily a few times per day but she doesn’t play with other dogs or runs much. I would describe her as ok active for a terrier.

DER=156 x (Body Mass^0.67) x k1 x k2 x k3 x k4= … kcal

Body Mass 4.4

K1 – she is a terrier, 1

K2 – her activity is average, so 1

K3 – she has reached her adult weight, so 1

K4 – she is healthy, so 1

DER=156 x (4.4^0.67) x 1 x 1 x 1 x 1= 421 kcal

Cooking at home

When cooking for your dog at home, it is important to ensure that they are getting a balanced diet that includes all the essential nutrients, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. You can find many recipes online that are specifically designed for dogs and take into account their nutritional needs. However, it is important to note that not all human food is safe for dogs to eat, and some foods can be toxic to them. For example, chocolate, grapes, and onions should never be given to dogs as they can cause serious health problems. Additionally, it is important to avoid feeding your dog table scraps or leftover food as it may not be nutritionally balanced and can cause digestive issues. If you are unsure about what to feed your dog, consult with a veterinarian or a canine nutritionist who can provide you with expert advice on how to create a healthy and balanced diet for your furry friend.

I know the calories – what now?

As you see the number of calories needed varies greatly dependng on the dog’s age, activity level, and medical conditions. If you are cooking at home, you can refer to the product calorie table, provided for humans. Keep in mind that dogs’ diet has to be mainly based on protein and fat and very little carbohydrates. If you are feeding a commercial diet, most food producers write on the package how many kcal there are in 100 gr. You can also check it here, a lot of known brands are listed on this page.

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