How Many Calories Should My Dog Eat Calculator


How Many Calories Should My Dog Eat Calculator? Dogs depend on us for all their needs, just like humans. Eating is the basic daily need for any living creature. Your dog depends on you to feed it correctly in order to lead a good life. The way you feed your dog will have a direct impact on your dog’s health and energy level. If you have always been wondering about how many calories your dog should be eating every day, then this article is for you.

How to Calculate Dog Calorie Requirements

As a dog owner, managing your best friend’s nutrition is one of the most important things you can do to maintain their health. It’s an often overlooked part of having a pup in the house, and many of us just guess at how much to feed them.

In fact, a 2018 survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) found that a whopping 56% of dogs were overweight or obese. So, it turns out that counting calories isn’t just for people.

You’re probably here because you’re wondering how many calories should your dog eat and how much food do they need each day?

There are several formulas that allow you to estimate your dog’s calorie requirements, but it’s important to keep in mind that there is no mathematical formula that can precisely determine how many calories they need. While there are several widely adopted formulas to calculate calorie needs, the best results are simply an estimate or starting point.

Since every dog and their size, breed, activity, and medical situation is unique, it’s crucial that you and your vet monitor your dog’s nutrition closely and adjust as needed. With that disclaimer out of the way, a great way to estimate the calorie requirements for a dog is to use a formula.

Dog Calorie Formula

The amount of energy a dog needs is measured in calories. The number of calories they need each day is referred to as the maintenance energy requirement.

The maintenance energy requirement, or MER for short, is the amount of energy a dog needs to account for thermoregulation, activity, and exercise, similar to a TDEE measurement for humans.

You can use the following formula to calculate the maintenance energy requirement.

MER = RER × multiplier

The maintenance energy requirement (MER) is equal to the resting energy requirement (RER) times the appropriate multiplier for the type of dog and their activity level. We’ll cover how to find both of these next.

How to Find the Resting Energy Requirement

The resting energy requirement (RER) is the energy required for basic body functions at rest, not including activity and exercise, similar to the BMR measurement for humans. You can find the resting energy requirement using the following widely adopted formula:

RER = 70 × weightkg0.75

The resting energy requirement (RER) is equal to 70 times the dog’s ideal weight in kilograms to the 0.75 power. Hint: use our exponent calculator to find the 3/4 power for this equation if needed. This formula is commonly used to find RER and is also referred to as Kleiber’s Law.

How Much Food Does Your Dog Need

Now that you have a basic understanding of how to find the energy needs of your dog, you can more easily figure out how much food they need. You can calculate how much to feed your dog by dividing the total amount of calories they need each day by the number of calories in each serving of their food.

cups of dog food = total daily calories/calories per cup

The number of cups of dog food is equal to their total daily calorie requirement divided by the calories per cup of food. It’s crucial to note that each dog food product is different and has different nutritional value and energy per cup. The standardized nutrition label on pet food must include the calorie statement, which is what you should refer to when performing this calculation.

Most dogs eat two meals per day, so you’ll need to divide the number of cups by the number of feedings to determine how much to give them for each meal. Note that you should always consult your veterinarian when planning your dog’s diet plan and feeding schedule.

How Much Food Does a Puppy Need

The nutritional needs for a puppy are a little different than those for an adult since they are growing significantly in their first year of life. Consult your vet and use the multipliers for puppies in the table above to get a better estimate of how much food they’ll need.

Puppies might also need to eat much more frequently than adults; some eat three or more meals per day. It’s important to divide the total calories needed per day by the number of meals to make sure you’re giving your puppy the correct amount of food. And, as mentioned above, it’s important to monitor your puppy’s growth with your vet and adjust their diet and calorie consumption accordingly.

In addition to the proper nutrition, it’s also important that your dog or puppy gets enough water to stay healthy and hydrated.

How many calories in dog food?

Just when everyone sits down for dinner, you hear the pounding of four furry paws as your Chocolate Lab dashes towards the dining room. She skids to a stop next to your chair, and drool begins to pool on the floor under her open mouth as she stares longingly at the delicious meal atop the table. While she patiently waits for a morsel of food to drop you think to yourself: is she still hungry? Am I not feeding her enough? How much food should I be feeding her?

Although dogs communicate in other ways, they cannot tell us what they’re thinking. It can be difficult to understand what kind of food they need or how much they really should be eating.

In order to better understand dogs’ daily food requirements, the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine created the MER, or the “maintenance energy requirement.” Your pup’s MER represents the amount of calories she needs to consume in order to do her everyday activities. Weight and exercise habits are contributing factors in your dog’s MER.

We created a handy calculator to eliminate all the guesswork in determining your dog’s MER. Just plug in your pup’s information and voila! It will tell you how many calories your dog should consume every day. We want all pet parents to #GoTogether confidently with their pups, and this calorie counter is one way for dog owners to educate themselves on their dog’s proper nutrition.

How to Find the Maintenance Energy Requirement

In addition to the RER, you’ll also need an adequate multiplier to account for some of the animal’s characteristics such as activity or age which influence their energy needs. The table below includes some commonly used estimates for energy requirement multipliers for use with the calorie formula above.

Dog TypeMER Multiplier
< 4 months old3.0
> 4 months old1.8-2.5
typical intact1.8
typical neutered/spayed1.6
lightly active (light work)1.6-2.0
moderately active (moderate work)2.0-5.0
very active (heavy work)5.0-11.0
overweight or obese-prone1.2-1.4
pregnant first/second trimester1.8
pregnant third trimester3.0
lactating4.0-8.0 *depends on the number of nursing puppies

You can combine the RER, MER, and multipliers for a more complete formula to calculate a dog’s calorie requirements.

calories required = 70 × ideal weightkg0.75 × multiplier

This is the formula that the calculator above uses.

Ideal Body WeightIntactNeutered/Spayed
5 lbs233 kcal207 kcal
10 lbs392 kcal348 kcal
15 lbs531 kcal472 kcal
20 lbs659 kcal585 kcal
25 lbs779 kcal692 kcal
30 lbs893 kcal794 kcal
35 lbs1002 kcal891 kcal
40 lbs1108 kcal985 kcal
45 lbs1210 kcal1076 kcal
50 lbs1309 kcal1164 kcal
60 lbs1501 kcal1335 kcal
70 lbs1685 kcal1498 kcal
80 lbs1863 kcal1656 kcal
90 lbs2035 kcal1809 kcal

How to use the dog calorie calculator?

The way the dog calorie calculator works is really simple. To use it, just follow these instructions:


  • start by choosing how much physical activity your dog typically gets. To determine that, take a look at the table below. Please note that this field also covers the age, as an old dog’s activity is generally low.
Activity typeCharacteristics
Low activity (including elderly dogs)Less than 1 hour of exercise a day, for example walking on a leash. Also applies to elderly dogs*.
Low intensity moderate activity1 – 3 hours of low intensity exercise per day, for example walking on a leash.
High intensity moderate activity3 – 6 hours of high intensity per day, for example unleashed walks with considerate amounts of running, games, playing with other dogs, etc.
High activity3 – 6 hours of work per day, for example sheep dogs.
  • Input the weight of your dog. The activity and weight of your dog are what determine their daily caloric need.
  • With those values, the calculator will figure out what the daily calorie intake of your dog should be.

*How to determine whether your dog is a senior? Your dog’s breed determines its lifespan, so it may get a little confusing. A number of things such as fur discoloration and general condition may indicate that your friend is entering the golden years of his or her life, but, in general, it’s reasonable to use the following rule of thumb based on your dog’s weight:

  1. Small dog (below 20lbs/9kg) – age 11+
  2. Medium dog (21-50lbs/9-20kg) – age 10+
  3. Large dog (51-100lbs/21-45kg) – age 9+
  4. Giant dog (above 100lbs/45kg) – age 8+

Now that you know how many calories your dog needs, you have the option to calculate two additional things:

  • the amount of food your dog should eat to meet their caloric needs, based on a food’s energetic content,
  • if you’re not sure about a food’s energetic content, you can calculate it based on the information of its ingredients, provided on the packaging.

Please pick “yes” or “no” in the second part of the calculator to indicate if you want to calculate these things, or if you’re satisfied with your calculations for far. For each “yes”, an appropriate part of the calculator will appear.


Calculating the the size of your dog’s daily meals based on its caloric content is easy. All you have to do is input how many calories there are in 100 grams of the food. The calculator will compare this information with what it already knows about your dog’s needs, and return how much to feed him or her daily. If you want to know how many bags that is or how long a bag would last, you just need to declare the volume of a package you usually buy.

Benefits of Having Dogs

1. Dogs make us feel less alone.

Dogs can be there for you even when people can’t. They offer unconditional love, emotional support, and constant cuddles that help stave off social isolation. A small Australian study discovered that dog ownership reduces loneliness.

A national survey of pet owners and non-pet owners by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that 85 percent of respondents believe that interaction with pets reduces loneliness. Most agree that human-pet interactions can help address social isolation.

2. Dogs are good for your heart.

Owning a dog can help you live longer. A comprehensive review of studies published between 1950 and 2019 found that dog owners had a lower risk of death. Studies suggest that dog owners have lower blood pressure levels and improved responses to stress.

Even just living with a dog makes a difference—people who had experienced previous coronary events had an even higher level of risk reduction for death. Research has concluded that the bond between humans and dogs reduces stress, which is a major cause of cardiovascular problems.

3. Dogs help you stop stressing out.

Your canine companion can offer comfort and ease your worries. Multiple studies show that dogs and therapy dogs help alleviate stress and anxiety.

Even just petting a familiar dog lowers blood pressure, heart rate, slows breathing, and relaxes muscle tension. Scientists at Washington State University discovered that just 10 minutes petting a dog can have a significant impact. Study participants had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone.

4. Dogs help us cope with crisis

Dogs help us recover psychologically from a crisis. Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine discovered that military veterans with PTSD do better both physiologically and psychologically when they have a service dog. Veterans with a service dog had significantly fewer symptoms of PTSD and showed improved coping skills.

5. Dogs encourage you to move.

Those long treks along sidewalks, trails, and paths add up. A 2019 British study discovered that dog owners are nearly four times more likely than non-dog owners to meet daily physical activity guidelines. Dog owners spend nearly 300 minutes every week walking with their dogs. That’s 200 more minutes walking than people without a pup of their own.

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