How to use this tool?

FYI: This tool is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice.

Using the tool below to calculate the approximate amount of kilocalories your adult dog needs on a daily basis is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Dog Food Calculator

Step 1

Your dog's ideal weight


Step 2

Your dog's activity level



Recommended Calorie Results

Daily Energy Requirements (DER): 0 kcal

Create homemade recipes for your pup.

Please consult with your veterinarian on the best diet and exercise plan for your dog.

Making Homemade Dog Food

Are you an owner who has the time and resources available for making homemade dog food?

We’ve got just the tool for you!

Using the meal calculator below is an incredible time saver and a cooking partner of sorts. Start by selecting the food source, entering the amount of ounces, and leave the rest to our app! To add more, simply hit the Add Another button, and add to the creation of your meal.

Also: We carry your dogs Daily Energy Requirement (DER) from the first calculator above, so you can always easily reference it as you are creating your pets meal.

Your dog's meal calculator

Daily Energy Requirements (DER): 0 kcal




Calories Proteins Carbs Fats
0 Kcal 0 g 0 g 0 g


Things you have added:

Food Source

Totals

Calories 0 Kcal
Proteins 0 g
Carbs 0 g
Fats 0 g

Daily Energy Requirements (DER): 0 kcal

Food Source Quantity of Ounces Calories Proteins Carbs Fats Action
Totals 0 Kcal 0 g 0 g 0 g

Check out these dog food diet types for inspiration: Ancestral, Hypoallergenic, Natural Holistic & Organic, Weight Control, Vegetarian Diet for Dogs.

Formulas Used

Resting Energy Requirements (RER) = ( 70 x Bodyweight in kg ^ .75 ) = # of resting calories per day.

Daily Energy Requirements (DER) = RER x Multiplier = # of calories per day adjusted for activity level.

What is a resting energy requirement?

This is the energy your dog needs to perform essential biological functions. Think digestion, heart functions, respiration, brain functions, etc.

What is a multiplier factor?

To estimate your dogs total daily energy needs[1] and maintain a healthy body condition score, the resting energy requirement is modified; to adjust for your dogs activity level, life stage, and other corresponding factors. As you can imagine, a dog who does not move around a lot will have a smaller multiplier than say a K-9 police dog who works.

The modification is done by applying known multipliers[2], i.e.:

  • neutered adult = 1.6 x RER
  • intact adult = 1.8 x RER
  • inactive/obese prone = 1.2-1.4 x RER
  • weight loss = 1.0 x RER for ideal weight
  • weight gain = 1.2-1.8 x RER for ideal weight
  • active, working dogs = 2.0-5.0 x RER

Note: It’s worth noting that we use standard factors, typically used by veterinarians. However, there are other option that some vets and owners prefers, such as the Maintenance Energy Requirement (MER).

What do the results mean?

The results are a rough estimate (since no one knows your dog better than you and your vet), of the amount of energy (expressed in kilocalories) your dog needs on a daily basis; to maintain their lifestyle.

Important: The results are intended for adult dogs only. Please refrain from using them for growing puppies, pregnant or lactating dogs, and other unique scenarios.

What’s a kilocalorie (kcal)? A unit of food energy, equal to 1,000 calories. Also known as 1 big Calorie. Confused yet? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one! Most people use the word calorie, but when it comes to nutrition the correct scientific term is kilocalorie, which is why you’ll see it as kcal or Calories (capital C to denote 1,000 calories) on nutritional food labels.[3]

How to convert the resulting calories to a serving size?

After you have entered your dogs ideal weight, their activity level, and hit Calculate above, you are presented with the daily energy requirement in the form of total kilocalories your dog needs per day.

But you don’t just feed your dog all that at once, right? You need to break/divide the total down into the amount of feeding sessions in a day. What to do?

The amount of calories in a particular amount of dog food is called it’s metabolizable energy or ME[4]. To spot it, look for one of the following on your dogs food label:

  • Calories per cup (kcal/cup)
  • Calories per kilogram (kcal/kilogram)

It should look something like this:

Calorie Content Metabolizable Energy ME

From there, you simply take the total DER kcal from the calculated results above and decide how many cups to give your dog per serving.

Here’s a very basic made up example: Using the image above (1 cup, or 100 grams, provides 348 kcal). If your dog required 696 kcal per day, you’d simply feed them 2 cups of food a day.

Parting Words

It’s a pretty amazing tool, we know, but it’s not perfect. Because each dog is unique, not just in personality, but also in their nutritional needs and thus their serving size.

A good rule of thumb is to start off by following the numbers on the nutritional dog food label.

Then compare it to our calculator, and adjust accordingly if need be. Now: It’s important to weigh your dog regularly (every few weeks or so) to ensure you’re not over or under feeding. With that data, you can easily adjust your dogs serving size in either direction, and you’ll be providing our calculator with more accurate data and thus more accurate results.

Finally: Yes, it requires a little effort on your part, but ultimately this is the best scientifically approved method to ensure your dog is getting their daily nutrition requirements.

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Resources:

Here are some PDF charts you can reference at a quick glance for varying dog life stages and factors. If you decide to reference the puppy ones, please be aware that not all dogs mature and grow at the same pace.

Please review small breeds, medium breeds, large breeds, and giant breeds to learn about their life stages before proceeding.

Resting and daily energy requirement PDF charts[5] for: 

References:

 [1] https://vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/our-services/nutrition-support-service/basic-calorie-calculator 

 [2] https://www.isvma.org/ 

 [3] https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2005/healthieryou/html/chapter5.html  

 [4] http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/Y5022E/y5022e04.htm 

 [5] https://thebark.com/ 

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