Dogs love food—and most pet owners are happy to spoil their pet’s eating habits. Unfortunately, your dog’s caloric needs may not match the daily calorie intake you’re actually giving him. Like humans, cats and dogs have ideal weight charts that tell you how much they should weigh for optimum health. That’s the simple part however because pinning down how much kibble or fresh food for dogs they should actually consume to get to their ideal weight involves some calculations and considering several factors.
How Much Food Should You Feed Your Dog?
Ideally, dogs should eat two meals a day with each meal around 12 hours apart. If you prefer that your dog eat 3 meals a day, you can do that too, provided the meals are evenly distributed to maintain a standard calorie intake.
A rule of thumb is that for each pound of body weight, your dog should have around 25 to 30 calories per day. However, this amount can go up and down depending on your pet’s life stage, energy requirements, current mass in pounds, and whether your goal is weight loss or gain. Brands like Nom Nom products manage to create prepackaged, customized, fresh meals that can be delivered directly to your home. These meals contain the exact protein, calories, and nutrient requirements of the dog based on their metabolic rates.
If you want to learn more, we’re going to talk about the daily calorie requirements of each dog type depending on the stated factors.
Active dogs are those who have an activity level beyond the recommended amount. How much exercise does a dog need? Generally, dogs should have 30 minutes to 2 hours of activity per day. This is usually achieved through daily walks or active playtime indoors. If you have working dogs or just enjoy a very active lifestyle with your pet, here’s what you should know:
- small dogs weighing 10 pounds or less need around 400 calories per day
- medium breeds or those weighing around 30 to 60 pounds will need 920 to 1350 calories per day
- large breeds with a mass of around 70 pounds will need 1740 calories daily to maintain their mass
- giant breeds with a mass of around 90 pounds will have more calories of around 2100 each day
Inactive dogs with low exercise habits have lower calorie needs compared to dogs that get lots of exercises. As a rule, inactive dogs should consume 30% of their ideal calorie needs since they have lower energy requirements. Following that formula, a small breed dog weighing less than 10 pounds should consume only 280 calories every day.
This doesn’t mean that if you fail to take your dog for a walk, then you could feed him less. All dog breeds need exercise but some breeds have lower energy levels. For example, a pug couldn’t sustain walking for long distances. Senior dogs also have a harder time walking and will therefore prefer to sleep most of the day.
What Your Dog Eats To Lose or Gain Mass
Coaxing a dog to lose weight can be difficult—especially if they’re used to large and frequent meals. As with humans, shedding pounds requires fewer calories and more daily activities for the dog. Most owners fail to factor in the treats which can quickly add to the dog’s daily calorie consumption. Ask yourself: how many treats per day should I give my dog? A quick answer would be that dog treats should be at most 10% of your dog’s calorie intake.
If you’re trying to build up your dog’s body weight, the opposite holds true. You need to increase their caloric intake of course—but adding on calorie requirements is just the tip of the iceberg. If you only add calories by giving your dog more treats—then he will gain weight, but not necessarily become healthy. There are also healthier treats for dogs on a diet. This is where food composition comes into play. An underweight dog should have 30% or 7% protein in their diet, depending on whether they’re eating fresh dog food vs dry kibble.
Choosing the Right Dog Food for Healthy Weight
With all these factors to consider when calculating the perfect calorie content of your dog’s food, you have to determine the best possible way to deliver the number of calories while still offering the nutrients they need. There are two ways this is done: you can opt for kibble foods or you can serve fresh foods for the dog.
Kibble foods are convenient and come with their own set of nutritional information and suggested serving size. If you have a relatively healthy dog and simply want to sustain their healthy mass, kibble is an ideal feeding platform.
However, some breeds require a special diet due to pre-existing conditions. Or maybe you just want to make sure your dog enjoys a nutrient-dense meal each time. If this is you, fresh meals are the best answer. Fresh meals can be customized to meet your health goals such as weight loss, weight gain, or to alleviate certain health problems associated with a breed. A common drawback of fresh meals is that they can be tough to prepare—but most pet parents find that online subscriptions are the answer. For convenience and health reasons, learn how to order home delivery dog food for Fido’s next mealtime. for Fido’s next mealtime.
Keep in mind that weight is just one of the factors to determine health. A veterinarian will be able to give a more exhaustive profile that considered composition, coat, energy, eyes, teeth, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I calculate how many calories my dog needs?
Calculation mainly depends on your dog’s mass and resting energy requirements. You can also look through dog charts or research the ideal mass of your dog’s breed. The best source of information would be a veterinarian for their body condition.
How many calories should a 50-pound dog eat per day?
Following the above example, your canine pets should eat 1000 to 1500 calories per day offering a combination of protein, fat, and other minerals and vitamins.
How many calories should my dog eat (chart)?
You can find a handy chart online to help you determine the nutritional needs of your dog in calories. Keep in mind though that these charts are made with a healthy pooch in mind. Puppies, old age dogs, or dogs with pre-existing health problems may need a specific nutrition profile.