How Many Calories Should My Dog Eat? – Calculating the Ideal Calorie Count

By amelia 13 Min Read

If you’re a pet parent, you want nothing but to keep your fur babies healthy and live long. And so, determining the calories your dog should eat is a crucial aspect of maintaining your puppy’s overall health. Just like humans, dogs require a balanced intake of calories according to their specific needs.

So, how many calories should my dog eat? Unfortunately, there’s no universal answer to this question as each dog is unique. However, a general rule of thumb is that an average dog requires about 25-30 calories per pound of body weight per day to maintain its weight. The overall calorie intake varies depending on factors like age, size, breed, activity level, and body type.

In this guide, we will cover all the factors that affect how much food your puppy needs, and we’ll share a simple formula that’s widely used to figure out the ideal calories your dog should eat. Understanding these factors and the formula will make it easier for you to determine just how much your furry friend should be eating.

Let’s dive in:

How Many Calories Should My Dog Eat | The 5 Major Factors to Consider


How Many Calories Should My Dog Eat? The 5 Major Factors to Consider

So exactly how many calories should my dog eat? There’s no universal answer to this question indeed! As every puppy is different, you need to consider some factors to determine the required amount of calories for your pet. These include-

Size and breed

One of the main factors in determining what calories my dog should eat is considering its size. Larger dogs generally need more food because they have larger bodies that require more energy. However, you should also consider your dog’s breed. Dogs with thick fur may need less food to stay warm in cold weather than dogs with thin fur, even if they’re the same size.


The second most important factor for measuring the calories my dog should eat is the puppy’s age.

Think of your young puppy as you would your little kid. Just like growing children, young puppies need lots of energy and good food because they’re still developing. Their hunger peaks before they’re 4 months old and then gradually slow down as they become adults.

Adult dogs generally require less energy than younger ones because senior dogs tend to have less physical activity. Besides, their bodies aren’t as muscular, and muscles need more energy to keep up than fat does.

Body type

When determining the calories my dog should eat, you can’t skip the crucial factor- the body type of your dog. Different dogs have different body types. If you have a super strong muscular puppy, you should provide it with more calories as muscle takes up more energy compared to fat.

Level of activity

To measure the calories my dog should eat, the activity level of the dog comes into the mind first. If your pet remains busy with running and playing all the time, it requires two times more calories than those who are less active.

Individual variation

Each dog has its unique traits and characteristics. So, you should think of individual variations of your pooch when understanding the calories your dog should eat.

Some dogs naturally burn more calories due to their body functions. However, some health problems like hypothyroidism can slow the metabolism of your dog and thus can cause weight gain. Therefore, you should be careful when providing calories to your pet.

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How can I calculate the calories that should my dog eat? The general guideline

There are so many formulas to calculate the calories my dog should eat. However, the widely accepted and more precise formula for calculating your dog’s calorie needs is recommended by the “Association of Pet and Obesity Prevention”. The formula is:

The daily calorie requirements of dog = (Weight of dog in kilograms x 30) + 70

Use this recommended formula to measure the calories your dog should eat per day. Remember, you need to know the pet’s weight in kilograms. Follow two simple steps to know the calories should my dog eat:

Step 1: Convert your dog’s weight to kilograms:

Divide the weight in pounds by 2.2 to get kilograms. For instance, if your dog weighs 60 pounds, that’s about 27.2 kilograms (60 ÷ 2.2 = 27.2 kg).

Step 2: Use the above formula: (Dog’s weight in kilograms x 30) + 70

Apply the weight in kilograms to the formula. For example, if your dog is 27.2 kilograms: (27.2 x 30) + 70 = 886 calories needed per day.

How can I calculate the calories that should my dog eat? The general guideline

7 Pro Tips for Ensuring The Ideal Amount of Calories Your Dog Should Eat

How many calories should my dog eat could be one of your main concerns if you’ve a fur friend. Follow the recommended tips below to determine the calories my dog should eat.

Consult a veterinarian doctor

To measure the recommended calories your dog should eat, first, you need to know the ideal and recommended body condition of your puppy. Consult a reliable veterinarian doctor to assess the healthy weight range of your pet.

You can discuss how your favorite dog should ideally look and feel. The vet can guide you with the ideal weight range for your pet according to its breed, size, age, and overall body condition. When you’re well aware of the targeted weight for your puppy, you can easily monitor its progress accurately.

Keep an eye on your dog’s health and nutrition

When measuring the calories your dog should eat, you must keep a close eye on your pet’s health condition.

To ensure sound health for your pet, you should regularly monitor its activity and food habits. By regular monitoring, you can easily understand whether there is any need for change in the feeding practices.

If you find your pooch isn’t showing as much activity as it used to show, you should immediately consult a vet and make adjustments to its nutritional requirements.

Look for any changes in your dog’s body condition

It’s crucial to look for any observable changes in your pet’s body condition as it is the major indicator of your pet’s well-being. If you find any strange changes like weight loss, gain, or anything odd, it means there may be any concerning changes happening. In that case, you should consult a vet without any delay.

By paying attention to these things, you can catch any problems early and your vet can help you make sure your dog stays healthy.

Use an ideal feeding chart as a food guide

To provide a healthy and balanced diet, you can use the available dog feeding chart as an ideal guide. You can make the feeding chart yourself or get help from a reliable vet. Make sure to make any changes in the feeding chart based on your pet’s food and nutritional requirements.

Provide energy-dense and nutritious foods to your dog

It is recommended to provide energy-dense and nutritious meals to your puppy to maintain its sound health. And it is equally important that the calories your dog should eat come from protein, fats, and carbs. Make sure to avoid high-fat, oily, and fast foods. Calories from such treats can make your puppy too heavy and obese.

Provide less starchy carbs to your dog

In addition to figuring out calories my dog should eat, it’s crucial to offer nutritious food choices.

Dogs mostly need lean protein and healthy fats for their muscle strength. Therefore, pick a diet chart containing more lean protein, healthy fats, and less than 20% starchy carbs.

Dogs get more energy from protein and fats, especially because fats provide twice the energy compared to protein and carbs. So, focus on meals that have more protein and good fats to keep your pup full of energy!

Feed your puppy based on its individual needs

Determining the ideal calories my dog should eat can vary based on the dog’s individual calorie needs. Remember, every dog is different and so their nutritional needs also vary. Young pups need more food than older dogs, and smaller dogs need less than big ones.

If your pooch isn’t physically active too much, don’t give them too much food, or they might get too heavy. However, if your puppy is more active in running and playing, make sure they get enough to keep up with all that activity!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many calories does dog food contain?

The calorie content in dog food can range from 325 to 600 calories per cup, while a basic dog bone treat contains around 35-40 calories.

What quantity does 1 cup of dog food represent?

One cup of dry dog food amounts to 8 ounces or approximately 226.8 grams.

For most dogs, feeding them between 2% to 3% of their body weight daily is a good guideline. For example, a 5kg dog should eat about 100g of food each day.

How can I tell if my dog is getting sufficient food?

Inspect your dog’s body: if their waistline is stark rather than gently curving, they might be underfed. Visible or easily felt ribs without fat could indicate they’re underfed. Hair loss in patches might indicate nutrition problems.


Now that you know how many calories your dog should eat. In the end, determining the precious amount of calories your dog should eat isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. It carries according to your dog’s size, age, breed, activity level, body type, etc.

We have already discussed each topic related to your puppy’s energy requirements. We would recommend consulting with a veterinarian to determine the calorie intake specifically for your dog’s needs. Follow this guide and ensure your favorite pooch is leading a healthy lifestyle!

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