Calorie Calculator for Pets: How many Calories does a Dog Need?

Every pet owner has one thing in common – their excessive love for the dogs. Aren’t they just wonderful? They lick you, smile with you, and even pose for a selfie with you. If your dog is in good health he will be doing so much more!  Whatever food you give to your dog matters a lot. Most dog owners have similar questions on how many calories a dog needs while secondary concern is based on the type of dog food and dog’s health.  The calorie intake has a large impact on your dog’s growth otherwise an unbalanced diet can make your dog overweight or in some horrifying cases underweight. 

Knowing what your dog loves to eat (or hate to eat) is a telltale sign of how you need to change your dog’s diet plan. The key is to keep your furry friend at a healthy weight which is why it is essential to ask yourself some important questions. 

Let’s begin with the most basic question: what are calories?

The kilocalorie or kcal is a unit of energy that measures the food serving. It is defined as the amount of heat a body, either canine or human, needs. So this brings us forth to the primary question of the day

How many Calories should my Dog Eat?

Calorie intake is quite different for each breed. In general, mostly 25 and 30 kcal per pound of body weight is required for a balanced weight. Let’s say you have a cute litter terrier (small breed) then make sure to feed around 625 to 750 kcal per day. 

Besides the type of breed, take your dog’s age into consideration as well. for instance, if your dog is 3 years old with a medium activity all day long and also keep the fact in mind if your dog is spayed or not. It has highly affected your dog’s hunger. 

So, calculating the calories is actually pretty much simple although for a new dog owner it may sound confusing at first, gradually you will get hang of it;

  • Divide the body weight of your dog in pounds by 2.2 (to convert to kg). 
  • Then calculate your dog’s resting power (energy levels) also known as RER (Resting Energy Requirements) with the help of equation (70^0.75).
  • Identify the commonly used multipliers that affiliates with the dog’s age, weight, activity level, and the spayed/neutered level. 

If you are still not up for manual mental math another shortcut to calculate the dog calories are possible. You can take the help of calorie-counting calculates available on the websites and even download trending apps on your mobile phones. 

Thankfully the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) made it compulsory for all pet food manufacturers to print the feeding guidelines

How many Calories a Senior Dog should Eat?

One of the hardest phases in a dog’s life is when they surpass their maturity age. The older years are tough for a senior dog; therefore you will notice a drastic shift in your dog’s dietary requirements. 

Every dog is different, but the size and weight are two constant factors. Large dog breeds are believed to have lower life expectancy so they can be considered “senior” at the age of 8 or 9. A senior dog diet should ideally have more than 75g of protein/1000 calories. Make sure to reduce the phosphorus intake because it can cause kidney diseases which can risk the chances of kidney failure.  

What if your dog is young, how many calories should my puppy eat?

how many calories should my puppy eat

On average, a 10-pound puppy that weighs around 33 pounds in adulthood requires about 990 kcal per day. 

The food ratio should contain 56g of protein and 21g of fat. Once your puppy starts growing, you need to adjust the calorie intake and make gradual changes to the diet. One of the best ways to do so is to do weekly body condition score evaluations to measure your puppy’s health. So when you do look from down below your puppy should have a “waist” and from the side view it must be “tuck up” in front of the hind legs.  

So once your pup growth is in action, the gradual change in diet kcal must be with the 25% new puppy food and 75% new diet. Then gradually balance it to a 50:50 ratio and descend into a 75:25 ratio from new to old dog food. 

How many calories should a large breed puppy eat?

A large or a giant breed, the major concern is the rate at which the puppy grows – which is extremely fast! All that extra weight and rapid growth in larger breeds’ can lead to orthopedic problems. So the large breed puppy thrives on three meals a day (when 6 months of age). Afterward, you can transition their meals twice a day. 

So how many calories should my dog eat to lose weight? It can come as a surprise but dog exercises are a must especially for a large breed puppy. If you factor exercise as a part of their daily activity then you do need to make any adjustment to their calorie intake. 

So let’s say, a 50-pound dog who exercises (likes to run) for at least 30 minutes a day at 5 miles/hour easily burns 70 calories.  According to vets, a 70/30 rule works best to shed the excess pound, as he will lose 70% calories by cutting back the food portion and 30% from the daily exercises. 

How many Calories should a Labrador Eat?

If by any chance you have a Labrador in your home then you are at ease. As you must know labs are easy to feed and can eat just about anything. However, it is really important to have pet parents around for maintaining a nutritional meal plan to optimize their health. 

For a Labrador dog, you need to make sure that proper nutrients are part of the daily routine.  So if we break the nutritional char then Labrador’s food must consist of 

  • Water
  • Carbs
  • Proteins and amino acids 
  • Minerals 
  • Vitamins 

According to experts, at least one-quarter of Labrador’s diet must contain proteins. They use more proteins than humans to function properly. You can include meat, dairy, or fish as a part of their eating regime.  Since Labradors are extremely energetic, you need to keep a close eye on the amounts of food. if your dog appears to be gaining weight adjust the calorie intake and vice versa. 

Originally labs were considered to be “working dogs” so to maintain a healthy weight they need about 1000-1200 calories/day. 

The Food Factor – How many Calories are in Dog Food?

How many Calories are in Dog Food

Another concern for dog owners is to be able to measure the calories in commercial food. organic foods are best for the minimum risk of extra calorie intake however it is not a similar case with the processed dog food. 

Dog foods in two major varieties: dry and wet. 

A dry food dog is a dietary staple for the majority of breeds including Labradors. It is easy to find an easily affordable but even with dry dog food, you need other food items. A single cup of dry food has a higher calorie ratio than a wet dog food for example 97 kcal in 1 ounce only gives you a clear picture. 

If you use semi-moist dog food, it has lesser calories (about 85 kcal /ounce) with a water level between 25%-35%.

Knowing the calorie count for every dog is a blessing in disguise therefore the calorie calculating is a straightforward idea for every dog owner. Make sure you know all the necessary details about the breed type and the best food!

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Summra is a dog enthusiast fully committed to helping train fellow dog owners. She enlightens them to solve their furry friend’s behavioral issues and to focus on the dog’s needs in optimistic ways.