Dog Food Calculator

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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 you believe he should weigh)
  • Your dog’s approximate activity level
  • The calorie content of your dog’s food

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.3

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.  However, larger breeds reach senior status much sooner — some as early as five.4

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.

However, to convert calories into something you can 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 needs, it’s impossible to accurately predict the exact serving size that’s right for your pet.

So, start with the package’s feeding instructions — or the amount suggested by our calculator.

And be sure to weigh your dog every few weeks.

Then, simply adjust that suggested serving size up or down to reach and maintain your pet’s ideal weight.

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. 14
  2. ME (kcal/day) = 110 (body weight in kilograms)0.75 to maintain a typical adult dog
  3. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 4
  4. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 16
  • Britt

    Thank you, Jean. The vet recommended one human Centrum multi-vitamin per day. I have been giving her that dose in the morning each day. Do you have any thoughts on this vitamin or suggest others? Thanks so much, Jean. I appreciate your comment.

  • Jean

    I wouold note to be sure that the multi vitamin she is receiving is appropriate, as human vitamins contain what would be a serious overdose of a few minerals.

  • Jean

    That is pretty darn huge! My Pit adult is 50 lbs, and her lab/pit sister is about 40. You can look at his shape to see if he is overweight. his tummy should curve up at his rips so that he has a slim waist~! Id google a picture to see that shape. Also, just take him to the vet and im sure theyll have recommendations for you. If he is a picky eater (and really all dogs) once you find a healthy food choice for him that’s all he should be eating, no human snacks.

  • theBCnut

    I agree with Betsy. At her age, you have to think about what would cause a loss in appetite, and unfortunately, kidney disease is the first thing that comes to mind and cancer and tooth issues are not far behind. Blood work is in order, for sure. If it is just an appetite problem, mixing in some canned food should help.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Penny,

    I would be concerned about unexplained weight loss. Has your pup visited the vet for a check-up recently?

  • Penny Sale

    I have a 14 year old jack russell terrior that is losing alot of weight. I’m concerned for her and am not sure if there is anything I can do to improve her appetite.

  • Britt

    Thanks, Akari. This scares me, as she’s just not how she’s been for so long. It seems like over the last year we’ve had to transition to a new normal. She’s my world. Thank you for the tips. I will continue to use them. I’m also going to get a couple different types of dog food today, too. I need to keep trying.
    Haha! Your green bean story made me laugh! Thanks for sharing.

  • Akari_32

    I don’t have any recommendations for you, sorry. For now, I would just keep mixing it up. Different low sodium broths, different canned foods, different kibbles. Buy smaller bags of dry, and get different brands and flavors of canned and broths, and keep her on her toes. Some one will come along that can give you some.

    I can’t believe she doesn’t like green beans! All my dogs have been suckers for them. Had green bean plants in the garden one year and had to watch the dogs really close when they started to put out beans because the dogs would take mouth fulls of the plants and walk off! Tore the plants right off the fence, those brats….

  • Britt

    Hello Akari,

    Thanks so much for the reply. Yes, I have tried all those things. They work for about a week, then she no longer wants the kibble or wet food. I have tried the freeze dried food and the same thing happened. The chicken and rice with a multi-vitamin is still acceptable to her. I agree with you; it is awfully unbalanced. I want to do my very best for her. Do you have any references/suggestions for homemade food? She is not a fan of carrots and green beans so far. I will try sweet potatoes and broccoli tomorrow. Thank you again for your time. I appreciate the support.

  • Britt

    Hi Antonio,

    Thank you for the reply. I understand and am trying to go with her new flow. Any suggestions as to ensuring she is getting the correct nutrition for a senior pup? I’m having a hard time finding consistent information regarding homemade food. Thanks again. I appreciate your time.

  • Antonio Fisher

    Remember just like human foods some dog foods are more appealing to the dog than others. The dog might be burn out on the current diet.

  • karen

    hi, I have a lab, boxer, pit mix and he is a very picky eater , he is 10 months old and weighs 66 pounds are we doing right

  • Britt

    Hi there. I have a 14-year-old Black Lab./Australian Cattle Dog/Shepherd mix. She struggles with Vestibular Syndrome and simply getting older. Her activity has slowed down, but she still enjoys 30 minute walks a few times a day. She is no longer interested in kibble, and that is okay. I am now feeding her chicken and brown rice. The vet recommends 3/4 rice to 1/4 chicken twice daily, but now that her appetitie has come back a bit, she still seems hungry. Any ideas on how much I can safely feed her given her disinterest in kibble? She has always been on the slender side; about 40 lbs. her entire life (I’ve had her since she was 1 1/2). Any suggestions/recommendations are appreciated. Thank you!

  • Annette JoAnn

    Hi what you need to be looking at is the cal. Per cup.. You may need to switch foods. Fromm has many choices so I recommend going to your local natural food store and asking which is best.

  • theBCnut

    You think you’re worn out. I just did battle with a HUGE spider, legs about 6 inches across! We have these giant spiders that are attracted to our bathroom. That IS NOT the time to have to deal with these things!!!!!

  • Crazy4cats

    Oh, you just wore me out reading that. I’m going to go have a snack. LOL!

  • theBCnut

    No, the difference is in what you are trying to accomplish and how. Humans are less likely to overeat if they eat small meals often and it keeps your metabolism reved up so you burn calories better. That will help you to not add even more weight, but it won’t help you to burn fat. To start your body burning fat for energy, you have to deplete the glycogen stored in your liver, which takes about 20 minutes of heavy exercise. Any exercise after that, and before eating again, should be burning fat, especially if you are keeping you heartrate up, but not exhausting yourself. But if you don’t exercise long enough and you replenish your glycogen stores by eating, you don’t burn the fat that is already deposited. Same thing with a dog that is not getting enough exercise. Dogs do move to burning fat easier and more naturally than people, but they still use glycogen before burning fat, so you want to take longer before replacing the glycogen..
    When humans diet, they often lose muscle mass instead of losing fat, so while they did lose weight, it didn’t really do them any good.

  • Crazy4cats

    So, when humans are trying to lose weight, it is commonly suggested to eat more smaller meals through out the day. Is it different with dogs and cats?

  • dchassett

    Hi LuannD. I’m not familiar with Fromm’s different formulas so my question is are you feeding your dog a grain free food. If not, you can try the Fromm’s grain free food. That should definitely help some. You don’t say how old your dog is but I have a 14 1/2 year old Maltese on a high protein, moderate fat, low carb diet. She’s not the most active of dogs but even with arthritis and degenerated discs mid spine she’s still having the time of her life, running, playing, etc. She also has tons more energy now than when she was on a grain inclusive food. When she was eating grain inclusive foods all she did was sleep most of the time and I just figured she was old. Not so, it was her diet. Seniors and puppies do not need special diets, that’s an old myth and a very current marketing ploy.

  • theBCnut

    Since she is 4 lbs overweight, it is definitely too much for her. Feeding guidelines are only a guideline, not a law.
    Is there a reason that you feed 3 times a day? This makes it difficult for a dog to burn fat, so if there isn’t a reason for it, I would cut back to feeding twice a day.
    One way to increase activity when the weather is too nasty to spend time outside is to make her go after each piece of kibble. Call her to you and give her one, then throw or roll one across the floor. then start over.

  • LuannD

    Thank you Cat Crazy, this gives me something to go by. No, she is getting no extras, even though it breaks my heart. The weather here is still a little too rough to get her out for a walk for too long a time, but once it breaks we will be getting good walkies. I will look into how many calories/cup, as I have to make a food run this week. :-)

  • Crazy4cats

    Well, when I put 11 lbs for an inactive dog in the calculator, it comes up with 300 calories per day. So, if you feed 3 times a day that would be 100 calories per feeding. How may calories are in a cup of food? Are you feeding any extras in addition to the food? Also, have you had her thyroid checked? Typically, if they are not losing weight, you need to either feed less, or exercise more. Or… there might be a thyroid issue. Good luck!

  • LuannD

    I need a simple answer to a very simple question, but cannot find it anywhere, and now I am practically giving up. I have a senior, inactive female mini dachshund, who weighs 15 lbs. Her vet wants her down to 11 lbs. My doxie eats a food for senior/low activity (Fromm’s). She eats 3 x day and only dry food. I am feeing her according to the bag, but it seems like an awful lot of food. Right now, I am feeding her 1/8 cup or approx. 2 ounces per meal/6 ounces or 3/8 cup per day. Does this sound correct for a small dog to lose weight on? Someone out there knows the answer … please help!

  • Lori Mironov Hauck

    My vet told me yesterday not to listen to the bag recommendations. Due to it my 13 yr old German shepherd has to lose weight. I am literally disgusted over it because I blame myself for over feeding because I was following the “guidelines” so do what you’re doing as it sound like it is working. My boxer is fit and eats the same amount because he is hyper and very active compared to the gs. So don’t let the bags fool you! P.S. I use a great Food Blue Buffalo Freedom., because it is grain free and the boxer breaks out in dog acne and it worked. I also put 1/4 jar of stage two chicken purée baby food mixed with water on their foods as gravy to boost the protein level to what it should be for weight loss. But for the boxer it is fine as his caloric level is high and he works it off. Best of luck to you! Lori Hauck

  • Wagner

    the calorie calculator is basing its assumptions on prior studies, and this may need some tweaking. the best way to determine if your dog is over/underweight is to look at their body shape, and from your definition it appears your dog is perfectly normal. don’t take anything too literally.

  • Gene Pierson

    Yes, good point she is spayed. My wife keeps telling me we need to feed her more but I keep saying we need to go by her look more than the guide and calculators online. Her ribs aren’t visible. (Now, when we got her from the shelter 1.5 yrs ago her ribs were visible. So I just keep referring to her condition when we first got her). And she has gained weight. My theory is if we have been under feeding her, then why would she have gained weight? (I think she has maxed out at 37 lbs.). Thanks for your response!

  • Pattyvaughn

    Is she spayed? That slows a dogs metabolism. It’s pretty accurate for my dogs and I believe Hound Dog Mom says it is low for hers. This calculator is really only a starting place. There is no way to accurately guess how much any particular dog needs to eat other than by their own body condition. There are too many variables to consider.

  • Gene Pierson

    Hi I’m a dog owner. My family and I own a healthy 37 lb wire haired terrier. The calculator says she need around 1,000 calories per day. But we have been feeding her 1.5 to 1.75 cups of Taste of the wild at 360 calories per cup. So that’s on sverage 600 calories per day! 400 less than what the calculator recommends. And this 2 yr old dog is ACTIVE. She gets 2 walks per day. Plays rough with me and the kids at least once per day. AND in warm weather she runs with me about 3 miles 2ce per week. She looks great by the way. Often people tell us how great her “figure” is – she really looks like a dog should look. I should post a pic. I guess my point is this calculator and many guides on the food bags (even Taste of the Wilds guide) are just wrong. They are way higher than what they need to be.

  • James Herron

    This is a great calculator and I think it is pretty accurate. The problem is that people are lazy and don’t feed their dogs the right foods. They also don’t get outside enough to play with their pets. If your dog needs a diet you may want to check out: http://canigivemydog.com/dog-diet

    I’ve found that people who aren’t the best pet owners still really love their dogs but just need a push in the right direction!

  • Wagner

    overfeeding significantly reduces expected life span, just like in humans, i’m very careful with our pooches intake. love this site and am always returning. btw just to share, Dr Sophie HE @ http://petcalculator.com has a calorie calculator that takes into account the dog’s breed and age.

  • Crazy4cats

    I’m sorry, I should have asked you what you are feeding and if you know how many calories are in a cup also. But when I plug in 18 lbs., for a senior dog it comes up with 435 calories, for an overweight dog it calculates 339 calories. So, most likely right around 400 calories per day. So, if you feed twice a day, 200 calories per meal. But, remember every dog is different and this is just a starting point. You may have to adjust depending on how your dog does. If you are feeding kibble or canned, the calories are often listed on the bag or can. Or can be found on the company website. Good luck!

  • tracey

    17-18lb

  • Crazy4cats

    How much should do you think he should weigh?

  • tracey

    How much and whats a good food for my 15 yr old inactive peek-a-poo??

  • tracey

    How much should i feed my 15 yr old peek-a-poo, hes not active anymore and is getting fat

  • Crazy4cats

    I second Labs post. I just bought a 50 lb bag of the Victor joint health grain free for $74. Not bad for a 5 star food. I had to special order the 50 lb bag as the store doesn’t stock it. With large dogs, it’s nice to have a bag last more than a few weeks. I also top with Kirkland Cuts in Gravy or some raw nuggets. Good luck!

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi

    Anatolian life, I have been having great results with Victor. If you can get it locally, it’s pretty cheap. I pay $38.99 for 30lbs of the Grain Free Ultra Professional. If you don’t mind a little grain, the Active Dog & Puppy ALS is $34.99 for 40lbs. They receive 4 & 5 star ratings on DFA.Here’s Victor’s site, I like their Protein Source Card. victordogfood.com

  • Anatolian life

    What is the least expensive of the best foods does anyone know? 3 big dogs currently on Purina One Beyond which got 3 1/2 *. Would like to feed them better without killing my budget. 2 large dogs.

  • Gytreger

    The 5ghigh prot8eindiet5 is wrong I could sing5a7 s6ong

  • Gytre

    Xsjhana is a liarliar5pantsi on firea

  • Gytre

    Xpaty is a shark and a narkn

  • Gytre

    Inkemary451 is no fun with her gun

  • Gytre

    4inkmary is a zbitch and a ewitch

  • Gytre

    2inkmaey is mean not ken

  • Gytre

    Zpatti is a bulij not a houli

  • Pattyvaughn

    LOL, again!! We’ve all been there!!

  • Pattyvaughn

    LOL!! I know. This was 30 years ago, so I can’t do anything for this guy now.

  • danyelle

    lol

  • danyelle

    We have two beagles, 9 & 10. One has been “diagnosed” as garbage gut! Yes, it does exist, he will eat himself literally to death. Also, get rid of that crap food, no grain, no corn will help with the scratching also. We can attest to that. Giving them fishoil pills (non mercury, burpless) will help as will a raw egg on their food.

  • danyelle

    sorry that was meant for Jennifer above ;)

  • Danyelle

    We have two beagles, 9 & 10. One has been “diagnosed” as garbage gut! Yes, it does exist, he will eat himself literally to death. Also, get rid of that crap food, no grain, no corn will help with the scratching also. We can attest to that. Giving them fishoil pills (non mercury, burpless) will help as will a raw egg on their food.

  • Lillian Mcleod

    does anybody know the fat contents in ceasers chicken/rice dog food ?

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi Jennifer,

    Tell me what your dog weighs and I’ll see what I come up with.

  • Jennifer

    My dog needs three cups of food a day and is on a high protein diet because he is so active. No matter what I entered it told me I needed only 1 cup a day… he lost weight on just 2 cups let alone 1 cup would be starving him, haha

  • Pattyvaughn

    It’s high for some dogs and low for others. It really can’t take into account every dog’s metabolism.

  • destiny

    this is definitely off.. it claims I need to feed 5 1/2 cups (tried and my dog got FAT) she really only needs 3 cups

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    Sorry, Sweetpea318, your information is incorrect. Please be sure to check the Wiki reference for Waltham to confirm your claims.

    #1: The Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition still exists and is located in Leicestershire, England. It is not owned by Royal Canin but by Mars, Inc.

    #2. You said, “Pet food is actually calculated in kcal, not calories”. Unfortunately, your information is incorrect. In pet and human nutrition science, kcal is the same as calories,

    #3. You said, “My source is a veterinarian” To that I remind you the formula used to compute these figures and operate this calculator is based on research results published by a team of veterinarians in a peer-reviewed journal and is still current.

    #4. You said, “This website is based on someone’s opinion.” To that, please remember that whether we’re discussing movies, books, restaurants, art, or pet food, every review on every website is based upon someone’s opinion. For that is the nature of reviews.

    By the way, it’s obvious in your closing remarks that you have not read the many articles posted throughout this website that explain the AAFCO nutritional profiles. So, you may wish to visit my FAQ entitled “AAFCO Nutrient Profiles“.

  • Sweetpea318

    *to meet
    Want to know how your dog is for weight, look at their body condition score (there is a 5 point or a 9 point scale). And feed what the bag suggest for your dogs ideal body weight.

  • Pattyvaughn

    The Wellness that she is thinking of trying is better than TOTW and isn’t made by Diamond.

  • Chris

    May I suggest, being that you seem to desire to want to feed your a dog a more natural & holistic dog food. I’m not a sales person or rep of any kind, but I have seen what these commercial dog foods can do to even the healthiest of dogs. Dogs are meat eaters as before we domesticated them, they ate like that of the wolf for example. All these food today are highly processed & have way to much chemicals and grains in them. Please try the brand of dog food called ” Taste of The Wild” it’s an amazing dog food & if you don’t have a natural dog food store in your area it can be found at Ace hardware, & online as well.. I feed my dog a mix of that & a lil slightly cooked ground beef. Raw foods are excellent for dogs, and they are superior to optimal health. They have small large intestines & thus don’t ecoli & samonelia sorry if I spelled that wrong. I think mixing the dry food I spoke of, with a lil beef rather raw or slightly cooked is the best, but many feed their dogs 100% raw. Which can be costly, though the benefits are high. Good Luck & I hope you give this food I recommended, a try. We have warm hearts for cold noses, Chris

  • Pattyvaughn

    At her age, I would feed 3 times a day, but I would try 1/2 cup 3 times a day to start with. 40 lb dogs often eat around 2 cups a day, so 1 1/2 cups may still not be enough. Just watch her body condition.

  • Kellie

    I’m not sure how big she is going to be. We have no background history on her. The vet said she might get to be around 35 pounds. Is there a good amount to start off with? I was thinking about switching her to Wellness Complete Health. Is 1/2 a cup twice a day a good starting point? Or should I feed her 1/4 a cup three times a day to start off?

  • Pattyvaughn

    How much you feed depends on several factors, like your pups metabolism, how many calories are in the food you are feeding, and how big your pup will be when it’s grown.

  • Kellie

    I have a 13 week old puppy that I found a little over a week ago. She eats very quickly, so I bought her a slow feeder bowl. I’m not exactly how much to feed her. She is at a good weight at 16 pounds. Any suggestions on the amount?

  • Pattyvaughn

    I always fed my puppies about what I expected them to eat as an adult. My very active Border Collies eat close to 3 cups a day. I would expect your lab to have a slower metabolism and therefore not eat as much as it could. Some labs eat 6 cups a day. Just feed an amount that keeps muscle on the pup, but no fat. Growing puppies are better off on the thin side.

  • Paw Paws

    oh ok, so maybe just try a 1/2 feeding tomorrow at noon? does 1 cup 3 times a day sound like a lot for an 11 pound puppy? that’s the same as my senior 110 lb lab eats lol ( he eats 1.5 cups 2x a day)

  • Pattyvaughn

    I usually wait til a little older to cut out the mid day feeding, but that’s how I know when it’s time to cut it out. They stop wanting it. If she is part BC, it is normal for them to be quit thin while growing, and it’s just fine, healthy even to not carry any extra weight while the joints are forming.

  • Paw Paws

    my puppy is only 11 weeks old and is a mix breed, maybe spaniel if some sort and border collie shes a rescue so I have no idea how big she will be full grown, right now shes about 11 lb. atm she’s up to 1 cup of dry food 3 times a day, she was at 2/3 cup but was starting to feel boney so I upped it 4 days ago, and she filled out nicely, but today she wasn’t interested in her mid day feeding.

  • Paw Paws

    my dog is only 11 weeks old and she’s a mix breed, maybe spaniel and border collie, I’m not sure how much I should be feeding her, she started ar 1/2 cup 3 times a day then went up to 2/3 cup 3 times a day the 1 cup 3 times a day just recently because she was feeling bony , but today she wasn’t very interested in her mid day feeding.

  • Carole

    A six week old pup should still be with its mother til 8-10:weeks old. You can feed some dog food but should supplement with puppy formula.