How Many Calories Does Your Dog Breed Need?
Updated: Jun 16
Special Blog Post to Feeders Supply by Kristin Woodbury
If you have recently become obsessed with the quality and the quantity of food your pet dog is eating, you are not alone. The pet wellness trend is stronger than ever, with pet food development reflecting the growing desire to improve the health and wellbeing of our four-legged friends.
In 2019, US pet parents spent $95.7 billion on their pets, and a staggering $36.9 billion on pet food and treats alone. It’s a similar story in the UK, with over £2.4 billion spent each month on pets in the UK. Pet parents across the globe are embracing raw food dog diets, others are going organic, and some are even putting their pups on a strictly vegan regimen.
But trends aside for a minute, what does your dog actually need to eat to be as healthy and happy as possible? Here we’ll discuss how many calories specific dog breeds need.
Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash
What calories really are
When it comes to the amount of food you feed your dog, you must first know what a calorie is - which is essentially the science of the human diet. Put simply, a calorie (kcal) is a unit of energy found in a serving of food. A more thorough definition is that a calorie constitutes the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.
Calories and the canine diet
You are probably wondering how the science behind calories mixes with your dog’s diet. Well, if we know that most dogs have to eat between 25 and 30 calories per pound of body weight each day, we are therefore able to regulate our dog’s diet based on their total weight.
In other words, calculating how much your dog weighs and then doing the math in terms of calories helps prevent your pup from gaining or losing weight. In addition to body weight, you need to take into account your dog’s age, their activity level, and whether your dog is spayed or neutered
Fact: When a dog is spayed/neutered their body goes through a hormonal change and often they become more sedentary. This means that they are more prone to weight gain, and as a pet owner, you should decrease the amount of food they consume by 30%.
Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash
Doing the math
Now, dog owners might have a lot of loving to give but may not be Gausses. Luckily, we’ve got a handy guide to how many calories your dog needs, based on the assumption that they are active and exercise on a daily basis. Typically, pooches who are couch potatoes or older and therefore don’t get out a lot need 30% fewer calories than their active counterparts. In fact, as your dog grows older you may need to transition him or her to senior dog food that is designed with their particular nutritional needs in mind.
Daily Calorie Requirements Of Active Dogs
Small Breed 10lb = 404 calories per day
Medium Sized Breed 30lb = 922 calories per day
Medium Sized Breed 50lb = 1,353 calories per day
Large Breed 70lb = 1,740 calories per day
Giant Breed 90lb = 2,100 calories per day
Daily Calorie Requirements Of Inactive Dogs
Small Breed 10lb = 296
Medium Sized Breed 30lb = 674
Medium Sized Breed 50 lb = 989
Large Breed 70 lb = 1,272
Giant Breed 90 lb = 1,540
Breed-specific dog food and calories
If you’d like to go a step further and calculate how much a particular dog breed requires daily, there are lots of handy calorie-counting calculators or blog resources that can be found online.
For example, online dog sites go into detail on how many calories different dog breeds need. Most dogs need about 25 to 30 calories per pound per day to maintain their weight. So it is interesting to see the huge disparity between breeds: an active German Shepherd requires between 1,740 and 2,100 calories per day, while an active Chihuahuas need just 325 calories a day to be at their optimal weight. It is important to consider how much you can afford to spend on dog food before you rescue a furry friend.
Always check the food label
Now you know how many calories your dog needs to stay healthy, make sure to take a close look at the labeling on the food packaging you normally feed your dog. Dog food manufacturers are required by law in most countries to offer feeding guidelines that clearly state how many calories the product contains. The packaging also offers advice on the recommended amount of food to give to the animals but don’t take this data literally since it’s more of a general recommendation.
Keeping tabs on your dog’s health
We have saved a couple of practical tips for the end. Keeping track of what you have fed your dog is no easy task, so here are a couple of tips:
Using a digital scale to weigh food can help you determine how much food goes into each bowl which is useful if you own more than one dog. In fact, you can resort to portion control and forget counting calories at all. This radical method involves visiting a veterinarian or wellness clinic who can calculate the optimal caloric intake of your dog, and based on that info they can recommend the appropriate portion size in grams for your pet.
Look at the fat content in the dog food you purchase. Namely, it is difficult to adhere to stick to the feeding amounts on bags of food, as we have pointed out earlier. For this reason, you ought to divert your attention to the fat content, which should not exceed 10%.