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3/1/13

Dog Food Calculator


This Dog Food Calculator can help you estimate the proper serving size for your pet. It’s based upon a scientific study1 published by a respected veterinary research institute.

The dog food calculator’s formula2 uses a dog’s metabolic weight and suggests an appropriate serving size.
To use the calculator you’ll need to know…

  • Your dog’s Ideal weight (what he should weigh)
  • Your dog’s activity level
  • Your dog food’s calorie content

A Dog Food Calculator for Adults Only

The Dog Food Calculator was designed to be used for adult dogs only… not for puppies. And it should never be used for pregnant or lactating females.



Small to medium breeds may be considered adults after about six months of age.
But large and giant breeds shouldn’t be fed as adults until they reach somewhere around one to two years (depending upon the breed).



When Is a Dog a Senior?

Older dogs have significantly lower energy needs than younger ones. So, it’s easy for them to put on extra weight.

In general, small to medium dogs are considered seniors at about seven years of age.  But larger breeds reach senior status much sooner… some as early as five.

Converting Calories to Serving Size

Once you’ve entered your dog’s ideal weight and activity level, you’ll know the number of calories per day.
But to convert calories into something you can actually use, you’ll need to enter the number of calories in your dog’s food.

The number of calories in a given amount of dog food is known as its metabolizable energy (ME, for short). It’s usually reported somewhere on a dog food package like this…

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

By the way, the calculator assumes you’re feeding your dog just once a day.
If you prefer to feed your dog twice a day, be sure to divide your result in half so that both meals add up to the full daily calories suggested.

The Bottom Line

Since each dog has its own unique energy requirements (just like people), it’s impossible to accurately predict the exact serving size that’s right for your pet.

So, I’d suggest starting with the package’s feeding instructions. Or the amount suggested by our calculator.
Weigh your dog every few weeks.

Then, adjust (or titrate) that suggested serving size up or down to reach and maintain your pet’s ideal weight.
Of course, determining the ideal weight for a growing puppy can be a challenge. So, check with your vet, an experienced breeder or another canine professional.

Always measure the food with a real measuring cup. Not a scoop. Never guess. Keep a record of how much you’re feeding. And be sure to weigh your dog periodically (every few weeks or so). Then, adjust the serving size as needed to stay on track.

Sure, it’s a little work. But in the end, it’s the only real life method you can scientifically rely on.

Footnotes


  1. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 
  1. ME (kcal/day) = 110 (body weight in kilograms)0.75 to maintain a typical adult dog 
  1. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 
  1. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 

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