Dog Food Calculator


The Dog Food Calculator below can help you estimate the proper serving size for your pet. It’s based upon a study published by a respected veterinary institute.1

To use the calculator, you’ll need to know your dog’s ideal weight. This is what you believe your pet should weigh.

You’ll also need to know the number of calories in the specific dog food you’re feeding him.

Dog Food Calculator
Step 1
Your dog’s ideal weight


Step 2
Your dog’s activity level

Step 3
Your dog food’s calories per serving

kcal / cup  
kcal / kg

The calculator’s formula2 uses a dog’s metabolic weight to suggest an approximate serving size.

Dog Food Calculator

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

Small breeds may be considered adults at about 9 to 12 months of age. And medium breeds at about 12 to 14 months.3

However, large and giant breeds shouldn’t be fed as adults until they reach around 1 to 2 years — depending upon the breed.4

Senior Dogs

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.5

Converting From 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 every dog is unique, it’s impossible to predict the serving size that’s perfect for each 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.

Final Word

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


  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. Iams, “How to Transition Your Puppy to Adult Food
  4. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 4
  5. Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition (1999), Canine Life Stages and Lifestyles, The Waltham Course on Dog and Cat Nutrition, p. 16
  • Raul Barrios, Ing.

    A Kg has 9.6 cups, and a Pound has 4.3. cups (standar measuring cup), according to Kirkland pet food.

  • Mike

    To drop to the weight you think your dog should be

  • Susan Schonfeld Stagliano

    I always figured an ounce per pound

  • Terry

    Doesn’t work. When I hit “calculate” nothing happens.

  • Phoebe Unleashed

    On the food calculator, does the number it comes up with, the amount to maintain the weight you entered for your dog or is this the number of calories to lose weight?

  • samlucy

    You need to change the water several times a day …Water gets slimy

  • sandy

    I adjust my seniors’ foods so that they maintain a good Body Condition Score. I guess you could say it’s trial and error. If they started loosing their “tuck” and “taper”, I would feed them less. If I see to many ribs, I would fed them more and keep some kind of food diary with calories noted. The link below is also in the article above.

  • Micah Mae Mullins

    How would you adjust for a senior dog? Would you just play it by ear or trial error?

  • aimee

    Hi Evelyn,
    Make a list of everything he eats in a day and add up all the calories. Anything that crosses his lips need to be accounted for. Use 80 % of that total as your starting place for calorie count. After 2 weeks if hasn’t dropped any weight decrease again.

    Use a diet formulated for weight loss ask your vet for recommendations.


    I have a 9 yr. old yellow English Labrador.
    Weight: 109 Lbs.
    His snack are: 1/2 carrot in the morning; 1/4 of an apple @7:30pm
    Need help finding a diet food or how to calculate the calories. HELP!!

  • Kim

    I give my dog fresh water several times a day and wash it out every other day. Never heard of giving dogs fresh water after 4 days?

  • Pitlove

    Hi Rose-

    I have never had an issue with my dogs gaining weight by using the Dog Food Calculator tool. In fact I’ve had the exact opposite effect. It is important to know what your dogs ideal weight and acitivity level is (and be honest). You also must factor in treats and table scraps and decrease their food accordingly.

  • Rose Batula

    Unfortunately you can’t go by the calculator because then your dog will be a roly poly. I started feeding my dog what the calculator recommended and his weight blew up to almost 16 lbs in a month’s time. I decreased it to 4oz then 3oz. Also account for the snacks in-between and adjust his food. He was on track, losing weight, then I started feeding him apples & carrots and I wasn’t figuring it in. Well, he started putting on weight again. Oh, I’m feeding my dog the Nature’s Domain turkey & pea stew and he loves it.

  • ADD Mom

    You are to enter their IDEAL weight, not their actual weight. So if he should be 8 lbs, you enter 8 lbs. Then it will tell you how much he should be getting. However, if it is significantly less than what he is used to getting, you should cut back on the amount gradually so he he doesn’t feel so hungry at first.

  • Thanks for the tip. The link has now been fixed. 🙂

  • Shaye Nelson

    Hi, just an FYI that the link for “your dog’s ideal weight” now links to spammy pop up windows. Thought you’d want to know. 🙂

  • Jeri Payton Thiede

    Add veggies to her dry kibble and maybe just a spoon of canned. Ours don’t get treats very often and they love apple pieces for dessert. We feed mainly green beans, a little broccoli and carrot slices. We buy frozen packages when on sale.

  • Jeri Payton Thiede

    Our schnauzers LOVE their veggies and they get pieces of apple for dessert!

  • Jeri Payton Thiede

    We have two schnauzers, spade female and unneutered male (with no bad male dog habits). She is a little overweight, so have cut back on the kibble. You might trying cutting the kibble and filling in with acceptable vegetables, like green beans. Our vets (and others) often suggest filling in with green beans while cutting the dry. Carrots are higher in calories, so should be limited. Careful with rice since they have found arsenic in some of it. Potatoes may not be best, either, except maybe smaller quantities. Ours love their veggies – green beans, broccoli, cauliflower and minimal carrots. We buy the cheapest frozen bags as canned can be higher and you have to watch for salt. We just put their portion of veggies in the fridge overnight so they get mostly thawed. Zap in the microwave until they are no longer cold. They also love pieces of apple for dessert. Hope that might help you! Also, they rarely get treats. Try to make them healthy if they do.

  • Casizzle

    Rice, potatoes and carrots don’t have enough nutrition to sustain a dog. If you cook food for them at home be sure to do more research on how much protein and vitamins and minerals you need for them to be healthy.

  • InkedMarie

    Put in your dogs weight, activity level and the calories per cup in the food you are feeding then click “calculate”

  • Patricia Andresen

    I figured it was a good source of plant protein. Since I’m feeding her grain free kibble I wanted to stick with that, not because she has allergies, but she doesn’t always eat all her food so I want every meal to be nutrition packed.

  • Lynn Childers

    I tried that and it didn’t work for mine either. Just yesterday my vet told me to try ‘Purina’ (yes, its one of the few dog foods never made in china…so it’s called Purina Smartblend Healthy Weight. I am currently using blue buffalo (which costs a lot) and he told me don’t waste $ on the fancy names. Said this is as good or better and if it has 8 or less gms of Crude Fat, it’s good for overweight. (blue buffalo is 8.5 gms of crude fat, but it’s $23 a bag and the company has NO coupons. So next bag will be this. I’ll try anything. He’s only 6 (in July coming up) and he is already too fat. He’s very lazy too. Maybe a little weightloss will light a fire under his furry white butt!

  • Lynn Childers

    I did that for so long with my last two dogs. Didn’t try it with lentils. Sounds like something mine might like. I have to find something I can feed him that will help him lose weight. He’s just over 13lbs and he’s a maltipoo…and that is TOO fat. Lately he’s really struggling to jump on the couch 🙁

  • Lynn Childers

    I cant figure out how to use that ‘dog food calculator’ I entered in my dog’s weight, 13.3 lbs (he is overweight, he is a maltese/poodle mix) and I was told to get a dog food that has less than 8gms of crude fat. I mix about 1/4 kibble with about a tablespoon of lean chicken breast and one large floret of broccoli. I don’t know if that’s enough, but I DO know that the calculator told me to feed my dog 2.5 CUPS OF IT A DAY! my dog would be HUGE in no time. He is very lazy and has low activity. His blood work is all good. Anyone out there know a trick to get him to lose weight by changing food?

  • Pitlove

    Thank you! He came out looking nothing like his mom or dad lol. Was kinda weird.

  • Patricia Andresen

    Adding homemade food to my dog’s diet.

    I like to add wet food to my dogs Victor dry kibble. She really likes the homemade mix ins that I make. According to the food packing she requires 3 cups of food a day. She’s about 50 pounds. I’ve been feeding her twice a day, so 1½ cups per meal. I’ve been adding​ 1 cup of dry kibble to ½ cup of my soft food plus a couple spoonfuls of coconut oil. Meaning she gets 2 cups dry kibble and 1 cup cooked wet food per day.

    My mix-in recipe is
    1 cup cooked lentils
    2 eggs scrambled in hot lentils
    2 cans of salmon
    1 10oz bag frozen peas & carrots

    This lasts about a week.
    It’s so much less expensive than store bought wet food (Fresh Pet Select) and she likes it.

    Even though my mix in recipe is full of healthy food, I’m just wondering if she’s missing out on any nutrients by getting less dry kibble each day.
    Any thoughts? Thanks

  • Patricia Andresen

    Your pittie is beautiful! Looks like my pup’s mommy.

  • Anita

    Hello, I have transitioned my three dogs to a cooked homemade diet. I have a senior malte-poo (15), a yorkie (3) and a Papillion (2). I am feeding supplements, Dogzymes Organic Ultimate, photoflex and probiotic. They are drinking half the water they used to, I usually filled their two water bowls every other days now they are not empty after 4 days. I am reluctant to change their food again because they love their new diet, they are way more active (especially the senior) and seem more content and happy.

  • Anita

    home cooked diets for

  • Pitlove

    What you can also do is offer something like green beans as a treat. It’s no calories and acts as a filler. Makes them feel full longer. Can add to her food to and decrease the food slightly.

    Yes increasing excersize always is beneficial. She needs to be burning off more calories than she is taking in.

  • Natalie

    Ohhhh. She’s been going through some training and they reward her with treats. I didn’t think they added up so quickly. I think it’ll cut out the treats completely for now and then when she goes back to training make sure they keep it to a minimum. Also, you think increasing walk times and taking her out to play more often would help? Thank you.

  • Julia

    Hi I have a 7 year old Dalmatian and a 7 year old mini schnauzer both medium activity levels and both good weights 22kg and 9kg respectively. I am just changing their diets from a good quality, dry food (served with water) as I feel they need something more gentle, to a cooked rice, potatoes, carrots, etc. and want to know how many cups of this cooked rice would be suitable for each of them each day (they get fed twice a day). Many thanks

  • Pitlove

    Hi Natalie-

    In order to help my Lab lose weight I had to completely cut out treats along with increasing excersize and putting him on a weight control diet.

    Is your dog getting a lot of treats everyday? Calories in treats add up quickly for small dogs.

  • Natalie

    I have a Chiweenie (mix) who is 24.5 pounds. The vet said that her ideal weight should be around 18 pounds so she’s overweight. I have her on Beneful healthy weight but so far her weight has stayed about the same. She goes on walks at least twice a day (10-15 minutes each). She used to spend a lot of time outside running around but has recently gotten lazy, is there any other way to get her back to her healthy weight?

  • InkedMarie

    Are you saying she weighs 30 pounds and is overweight or she is 30 pounds overweight?

    That is not a very good food. I recommend either Annamaet Lean or Wellness Core reduced fat. If you tell us how much she weighs, we can give you an approximate amount of food to feed.

    Whatever food you choose, practice “Tough Love”: put the food down for 15 min. Whatever she doesnt eat is picked up & she gets nothing else until the next meal.

    What veggies do you give her? Some are high carbs and wont help with losing weight.

  • Pitlove

    Yes, I can understand your hesitation not to do another surgery so close to the knee. It is kind of a catch 22 at this point, because in order for her to lose the weight she needs to be able to exercize, but if she exercizes too much the CCL will continue to tear.

    So you have had a surgical consult already then?

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7
  • Notfromthisplanet

    Hello Pitlove, that is what I was thinking as well. According to a surgeon, 80% of the pitbulls will end up with this condition. I have seen it in so many other breeds as well. I am just so hesitating since she went through another surgery before (patela) and she suffered so much, as she needed to be confined and she was in a cast and in pain.

  • Pitlove

    Hi Notfromthisplant-

    Once there is damage done to the CCL (ACL is the human term) it does not reverse itself. It only continues to tear. It would be wise to consult a surgical specialist as she may need to have a TTA or similar procedure done to correct the damage.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Good luck, I hope she improves, If not, I would consider the surgery.

  • Notfromthisplanet

    Thank you so much for all your advice and help. I really appreciate it. My sister is not a dog person, so she is very fanatic about dogs around, but I will see what I can do.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Get the steps, the heavy duty ones, for climbing on furniture.
    Take advantage of that pool, it doesn’t have to be heated, put a harness and one of those flex extension leashes on him.
    I am telling you 5-10 minutes 3 times a week will help her burn calories and the exercise will release endorphins, decrease pain and aid in weight loss.
    Check with your vet if you don’t believe me, give him a call and ask him to call you back when he has a minute.
    You are lucky. I have to sneak my dog over to the lake during good weather only. I throw a waterproof kong toy ( and he dives in to get it! His limp disappeared after a week or two.

  • Notfromthisplanet

    My sister has a pool, but not sure if its heated. I don’t know how to swim. The vet recommended surgery, but is trying out two meds which are for pain and inflammation. She was doing better earlier this week, but once she jumped down from my bed, it went really down hill. She now can’t put weight on that leg at all.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Do you know anyone that has a heated pool? One minute of swimming is equivalent to 4 minutes of running. Aqua therapy, if you have pet health insurance and your vet prescribes it for weight loss or other medical conditions, it may be covered.
    If you did this 3 times a week for 10 minutes at a time, you would see improvement in her mood, plus gradual weight loss.
    In the meantime work with your vet regarding the acl rupture. Is he recommending surgery? Or, wait and see?

  • Notfromthisplanet

    My dog is 30lbs overweight and now has developed acl rupture. She is a picky eater and doesn’t eat much. She is not active at all and sleeps all day. Since the leg problem, she is even less active. I don’t know how to help her lose weight. She is eating about 2 cups of food a day, on weight management formula by nutri source and mixed with vegetables that I cook for her. I am so desperate. If anyone has solutions, please email me at [email protected]. She is an adopted pitbull mix.

  • RueJoeKing

    English Mastiff, close to 7 years old, acting as active as young puppy! According to my math she is being fed about 1,000 kcal/cup, 1 cup of dry Solid Gold WolfKing with hot water, 2 glucosamin and 2 fishoil in the morning and ½ cup of Solid Gold WolfKing with 1 can GreenCow Beef Tripe in the evening. She barely maintains her weight of 160pounds. The moment winter hits and activity levels drop ever so slightly, she will put on weight. The calculator suggests to feed her almost 3x as much as she is. Do I starve my dog?

  • sharron

    i feed my 8 yr old yorkie/chihuahua, 11 lbs, 1/4 cup of dry 2 x/day with a 1/2 tbsp of wet in each meal – sometimes in the mornings she eats less

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    My 9 pound dog eats 1/4 cup kibble with a tablespoon of topper, and a splash of plain homemade chicken broth or water added twice a day. Maybe a 1/4 carrot once or twice a day for a snack.
    She has maintained this weight for .8 years.
    She recently had a senior workup, all labs within normal limits. Teeth look good (brushed daily)
    Sure she acts like she is hungry, but they learn to wait for meal time. If they can work you, they will.
    See if she likes carrots? Don’t be alarmed if you see carrot chunks in their feces, it’s undigested fiber. It doesn’t hurt them. However, too much may cause loose stools.

  • Doris Zebrowski Grau

    I have a rescued chihuahua. She is 13 lbs. was 11 when I got her 2 years ago. She’s 8 years old maybe older. She’s a couch potatoe but I walk her every day weather permitting. She loves the walks. Doesn’t play with dog toys, not interested. The Vet said she should be 8 lbs. if I cut back to a 1/4 cup of food twice a day she cries for more food. I feed her Pro Plan Purina dry food and canned also. How much should I feed her any suggestions appreciated.

  • Camilo Gamero Patarroyo

    Can you help me to find the Formular and the explanation of the relation between Fats and Protein, I forgot it, and i dont remember how to read or understand de result, wich is the best, the normal and the worst ratio.


  • InkedMarie

    I cannot find the food via google search; please post the info

  • Amber L Lambert

    Hi my husband and I have 3 pitbull mixes one adult female and two 7 month old pups and 1 full pitbull male. We feed them 2 to 3 cups of sport trail brand at night. They are all active dogs. Are they getting what they need?

  • Se Rom

    Your dog must be starving.
    Your dog is high energy.
    What your feeding her is neglectful.

  • aimee

    There is a lot of variability in total GI transit times. Things like meal size and composition, age and regarding dogs, breed all play a role. Gastric retention time is slower in dogs vs people and small intestine time is faster. There is a lot of variation in large intestinal track retention times.

    When healthy dogs were fed a meal containing Salmonella some shed it in the stool for many days afterward indicating colonization of the tract.

    Gi transit time didn’t prevent them from “getting” Salmonella they just didn’t become clinically ill.

  • Cathy Cee

    Food products move through dogs much faster than humans. Think about it this way, a human, who eats much more than dogs, has a bowel movement about once a day. A dog who eats much less, may have 3-4 bowel movements a day.

  • Mauspad

    Not the person you’re replying to but I’m guessing that he or she ended up at 1 1/2 cups/day through trial and error over time. I would trust their personal experience with their own dog more than an online calculator based on population averages. When I first got my dog I fed her based on the package recommendations and simply weighed her weekly to see if she was gaining, losing or maintaining.

  • Adagon23

    Thank you!

  • theBCnut

    Kcals and calories are the same thing. Kcal is more technically correct, but we are used to calories, so we end up using both.

  • Ada Gonzalez

    What is the difference between calories for humans and kcal for dog food? I need to count calories to keep my shepherd/Carolina dog mix weight down. I sometimes feed her chicken with her dry food and need to make sure she’s sticking to her suggested calories of 1100 a day.

  • aimee

    The relative tract length is a bit shorter in dogs than humans but I see digestion between the two species as similar. Dogs are susceptible to food borne illness just as people are and so if the chicken is carrying pathogens they may get ill.

  • Diane Buffington Fyke

    Dogs digestive tracts are shorter than humans and also have different ways of digesting. They will not get sick with raw chicken =)

  • Pitlove

    Hi Guest-

    How did you conclude she should only eat 1 1/2 cups/day? Even when I select “senior, neutered, or inactive” for a 70lb dog on a food with 350 kcals/cup, the calculator tells me she should be eating a little under 4 cups/day.

    Don’t forget, with lower calorie foods you will have to feed more to achieve the amount of calories needed per day by your dog.

  • Guest

    I feed my 10 y.o., 70-lb, spayed female, Border Collie/Cattle Dog cross dog a total of 1 1/2 c. of food a day. The food is Natural Balance Duck and Potato at 350 kcal/cup. According to your calculator, she should be getting over 4 c. per day. If I did that, she’d be very, very obese. There’s something wrong here.

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, it is a constant “experiment”, just like with humans! Right now it’s tough to exercise our dogs (and ourselves) due to darkness and nasty weather so I try to feed them a little less and buy foods that are lower in calories. Good luck with your experiment!

  • Julie

    Yeah OK, maybe I’ll start at around 800 + her teeth brushing reward biscuit etc then and see how she goes. This is going to be a long long long experiment!! Thanks 🙂

  • Crazy4cats

    That is a good question. If you put in overweight activity level, you get 651 calories. Typical gets her 1,023 calories. I guess you should just keep an eye on her weight and adjust accordingly somewhere between the two amounts until she stabilizes at the weight she should be at. Sounds simple, right? LOL! Remember to compensate for any treats or snacks as well. Everything counts, darn it. Best wishes to you!

  • Julie

    Yeah that’s what I thought too. Just wanted to check I wasn’t putting her on a crash diet! Thanks

  • Pitlove

    You would input 43 lbs and choose overweight I believe.

  • Julie

    I’m a bit confused by the dog food calculator and I need help please someone!!! I’ve adopted a dog that is 50 lbs, and the vet says she should weigh about 43 lbs. So if I put 43 lbs in the ideal weight, then do I still select her as being overweight? Or am I supposed to put 50 lbs in and select she’s overweight….? The first option seems like it’s saying she’s overweight at 43 lbs, but the second option is not her ideal weight 😐

  • Lukas Thompson

    I don’t do canned food except on occasions as something special. I’ve heard that it often doesn’t have the same vitamins as the bagged food. My male husky eats whatever he wants, I leave his food on the ground and keep it filled. He eats when he’s hungry and then occasionally gets snacks, etc. He maintains his own weight pretty well. If you were doing dry food, depending on the brand and calories etc, I would say at least 3 cups of food a day for a husky.

  • Michelle Rae Miller

    It’s called natural selection.

  • Michelle Rae Miller

    Thanks for that!

  • Michelle Rae Miller

    Ahh, that’s the problem right there, you’re getting your chicken from a package. Raise a few in your yard and feed them to your dogs. They LOVE IT!!

  • Eddie Dj-Polar Rose

    Yeah it’s pretty incredible how different the baseline recommendation and how much your specific pup will need! My Collie/Husky on Orijen is recommended on the bag to eat a little over 2 cups; on this site it recommends 2 2/3 cups, which I’ve tried only to have a super thin dog and had to slowly bring him up to comfortable level. Now my guy eats a whopping 3 1/3 a cups which for his Collie size is intense but his metabolism burns it off fast!

  • Sonya

    I recently found Castor & Pollux Natural Ultramix Grain free Red Meat recipe w/raw bites. My beyond picky Schnoodle (Dani) absolutely Loves this dog food. I’ve tried so many different kinds of wet and dry foods trying to get her to eat her food everyday you have no idea. This is the only grain free recipe she has ever actually took a bite of much less ate. She has been eating it for a week or so and she still goes at it like she loves it. She does however eat the raw bites first every time. She does clean her plate eventually. it’s amazing. It has 38.00% crude protein. I’m impressed.

  • Duane Reilly

    very interesting read that was, thanks.

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Also: “Raw diets are another popular option on the market today. Studies have shown that 20-35% of raw poultry and 80% of raw food dog diets tested contained Salmonella. This poses a health risk for your pet, but also for humans. This is especially true for children or immunocompromised adults, whether exposed to the raw food directly, or the feces of the pet eating the raw food. Additionally, there is increased risk of other bacterial infections and parasitic diseases when feeding raw diets. And the bottom line is there is no reason to believe raw food is healthier than cooked food”.
    Excerpt from:

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    “On one level, this argument is an example of the Appeal to Nature Fallacy, which says that anything arbitrarily defined as “natural” must be benign or beneficial. In the case of diets for carnivores, this ignores the obvious facts that: carnivores in the wild don’t eat an optimal diet, they eat whatever they can catch or scavenge; malnutrition, parasites, broken teeth, and other harmful consequences of a “natural” diet are ubiquitous in wild carnivores; captive carnivores, protected from these and other hazards often live longer, healthier lives than their wild counterparts”.
    Excerpt from:

    I choose to believe science based veterinary medicine.

  • Duane Reilly

    where is your source on this?

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Dogs in the wild don’t live very long and often suffer from illness and disease.

  • Duane Reilly

    what about salmonela? do you think dogs in the wild start a fire and cook their food?

  • Sam

    Great stuff about dog food for sure!

  • Rosalie Jalbert

    I have a 5 year old Husky/Australian Shepherd mix who weighs 51 lbs. I feed her a can of Merrick Grain Free at 6 a.m. and another can at 6 p.m. plus 1/2 cup of Fromm’s grainfree after her dinner in her kibble ball. That is her treat for the day. I think I am not feeding her enough and don’t know what to do. She gets a few Merrick grainfree treats during the day which I cut in half because her vet says her weight is perfect. I think I am starving her as she comes looking for food about 1 p.m. She is not very active until evening as I work and she is in the house. Occasionally she spends the day at my mom’s who has a big yard and she runs around. Help?

  • theBCnut

    I certainly can’t argue that that is a possibility, but luck that good is bordering on miraculous, and while I do believe God loves me, I’m not sure that extends to protecting my dogs from the things I allow them to do. You see, I live on a farm. My dogs eat chicken poop daily. They eat raw chicken regularly. They eat and roll in, then groom themselves goat, sheep, cow, and horse poop. They find frogs and toads, alive or dead, and eat them. They eat raw turkey, raw quail, raw pheasant, green tripe, and a whole host of things that could be contaminated. They chew on the same raw bones that have been laying around for months. Maybe I have been lucky and by some chance my chickens are completely salmonella, and all the other bacteria that chickens are know to have, free. Maybe none of the frogs and toads around here have it either. Maybe the old bones laying around have never come in contact with any bacteria. Maybe that lamb shank I gave Micah that he hid instead of eating and decided to eat 24 hours later never got any bacteria on it. I do believe miracles happen, I just never thought God would waste them on something like that.

  • InkedMarie

    You should probably research raw feeding for dogs. Knowing your source is a key component. I’ll stick to feeding raw thanks.

  • Lizzy Brust

    That’s because you have been lucky

  • Lizzy Brust

    Raw chicken should never be fed to anyone…..note the ‘water’ that’s listed on the package. This ‘water’ is full of feces and other microbes that can make your dog sick, very sick.

  • Len C

    Wow goes to show differences of breed type. I have 2 Siberian Huskies, they’re fed 2 cups of kibble per day along with a couple dog biscuits for treats. The above calculator says they need 3 1/2 cups per day. If I did that they would weigh in at a lot more then their 51 & 54 pounds. (plus they are active dogs not couch potatoes)

  • aimee

    I agree it is only an opinion, but it is based on some interesting parallels.

    In exposed areas a significant portion of the human population is culture positive for Salmonella, yet they are not ill. Same situation as we see in dogs.

    In people it is the young, the old and the immunosuppressed that are at highest risk. Same as we see in dogs.

    When human outbreaks are identified the number of cases can be relatively small and identified over many months. The number of people exposed must be significantly higher.

    So although the infection rate appears small in both species I still have a healthy respect for Salmonella

  • InkedMarie

    Your opinion. I personally don’t worry about salmonella nor much of anything else.

  • theBCnut

    My dogs have never had a problem with salmonella, or any other food borne bacteria.

  • theBCnut

    Kcals are calories when you are talking about the energy we get from food, so still 60.

  • aimee

    After doing a lot of research I’m not so sure that dog handle Salmonella any differently than people do.

  • InkedMarie

    LOL, Joseph, perhaps you should do some research on feeding a raw diet. Healthy dog guts can handle salmonella. Also, there have been many recalls involving salmonella in dry dog food.

  • KcQ8ov

    Forget about the calories, bologna is loaded with nitrates, salt, fat, all kinds of chemical garbage.
    Not good for any living thing to ingest.

  • Joseph Bryan

    Ok so let’s say i want to feed my dog a piece of Bologna that has 60 calories in it, how many Kcal does that work out to??

  • Joseph Bryan

    RAW CHICKEN?? Seriously? What about Salmonela??

  • txn64

    Why are you boiling it? Why not feed Raw? Raw food is better for dogs with a portion of bones for their teeth. You need to feed less. Give baby carrots for treats.

  • bojangles

    Hi Drew,

    I’m so glad that you feed your dog a home made diet!

    When done properly there is no commercial food that can compare! Just make sure that it is balanced properly. A good book to read is:

    Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats: Simple Homemade Food. 3rd edition.

    And a good place to put together some recipes that are guaranteed balanced, as long as you balance it with their supplements is:

    Good luck and keep up the good work 🙂

  • Drew Eno

    Thank you so much!

  • theBCnut

    Pick a good quality canned food and give him a portion of it for 10 minutes, then put it away until next time to feed. rinse, repeat. Boiled chicken is a horrible diet for a dog. It is completely unbalanced and can cause quite a number of health problems. If you are going to make homemade food for your dog, which I would normally recommend, please do a LOT of research into what a dog needs for a balanced diet.

  • Marilyn Petrik

    My dog eats boiled chicken, what should I do, he is 3 lbs overweight, he is a chihuhua. I need help putting him on a diet, please help

  • Crazy4cats

    Sure it would work, if you know how many calories per cup is in the homemade food. This has been a good tool for me, but I feed mostly commercially prepared food. Good luck to you!

  • Drew Eno

    Does this work for homemade dog food? I need to portion it out for my dog!

  • Kogaion Kogg

    the dog food calculator is very nice !!!….

    …however…you do not specify what exactly means typical/active/working123….what exactly does it mean ???….

    active/highly active…how is a retriever for example…compared with spinone…or irish setter…or spaniel…some are medium energy…some high…a kangal is low energy…but how does it guard sheeps…how much energy does it uses for that ?

    working….it means police dogs ?….with high training every day ???…or drogs detection…it means herding too ?…or just guarding dogs to sheeps….and how exactly is that guarding or herding sheep/cattle consumes energy…..

    I see active is below w1….and highly active is between w2-w3….

    this is the issue….dunno exactly what it means…

    …one dog must be exercised…so that means all dogs are active…only low energy or not exercised dogs (or in specific day lets say) can be typical ?…and if they are high energy…that means what…like they must be highly exercised ?…like malinois…


  • Azul

    The dog food calculator was designed for adult dogs only, not puppies.
    Check the label on the food you’re using. It should give recommendations for age/breed/weight.

  • Winnie Mah

    Which options should I use for puppy? Do you have the formula?

  • 4dogsandalittlelady

    Just checked them all, they seem to be working as intended. Can you explain what you mean?

  • tinkerbell123

    If it would work, right now it is not

  • 4dogsandalittlelady

    This is the exact reason we put in the work to make the ideal weight calculator. It is a very close approximation to BF% and ideal weight at 20% BF

  • 4dogsandalittlelady

    We just broke down Hill’s BFI to give a dog’s ideal weight, feel free to use it!

  • Niccolo’ Machiavelli

    Best diet for puppies is raw lean whole chicken including bones which contain bone marrow rich in folates, Vit B12 and iron. You can get backs, necks from butcher, make sure all is well chopped and minced using a cleaver. As a filler add organic brown rice (boiled and drained that you can prepare and fridge to last 3-4 days). Cooked bones have no nutritional value and can puncture the gut resulting in death. Also plain pasta is a good filler. For a dog that size and age feed it 200-300g of raw whole chicken, 50g (an abundant hand full of brown rice/pasta), morning and night, at younger ages feed the same 3 times a day. Gradually add your kibble of choice, I use Fromm Gold. You will notice smaller stool amount and hence less urine output. Also find a good multivitamin to throw in the bowl once a day. For training treats I use dry-frozen beef liver bites, and as nightly dessert (yes they love to wind down with a long lasting chewing dessert, a small bully stick with a blob of organic unsalted peanut butter, but use it to train for some new trick). Avoiding biscuits or starchy foods is the best choice as well as fats and grease which trigger pancreatitis.

  • disqus_XBSLKiLqK1

    Really the only way to know if you are feeding the right amount is your dog’s weight. Try doing an image search for “healthy dog weight”. You’ll see images demonstrating what healthy, underweight, and overweight dogs look like. You can also ask your vet how to check if your dog’s weight is healthy. If your dog is overweight, cut back a little or try a raw, home prepared, or canned food. I work at an independent pet supply store and we see a lot of overweight dogs that slim down on a diet lower in carbohydrates than dry food. If your dog is underweight, increase her food and try adding a high calorie food like a freeze-dried meat topper. Any high-end, independent pet supply store in your area will have them. Puppies have high protein needs, and your dog can easily convert any excess protein into energy.


    My senior GSD who has arthritis and other medical issues that make walking difficult lost about 15# and I only did two things:
    1) Substitute an equal amount of his regular food (not weight control) with pumpkin puree – so instead of him getting 2c of food 2x a day, he gets 1 2/3c food and 1/3c pumpkin 2x a day. Not only did it help him get (and keep) his weight down, it also prevents bowel issues which can happen when they aren’t able to walk around as much anymore – and he loves it!
    2) Change over to “micro” or “mini” size treats (training treats work well, too) – that way, I can still give him little rewards (or, at times, little bribes), but they’re only about 10kcal each. Although it was an adjustment for us people – it seemed strange to only give him this one little treat instead of one “regular” size treat – our pup didn’t mind the change at all!
    Check with your vet to see if either/both suggestions might work for your pup, too. Hope it works out. 🙂

  • jennifer

    I have just recently adopted a 7 month old (just under 50 lbs) boxer/Great Dane puppy. She loves to eat but I don’t want to over feed or under feed her. It seems all the info online shows different amounts for her size and age. Right now I feed her about 3 times a day with an occasional treat. I give her about 1.5 cups of food at each feeding but sometimes she cries like she wants more. She has to have a special bowl that keeps her from eating too fast as her tummy gets upset when she gobbles it down! Any helpful advice is welcome 🙂

  • Babslynne
  • Babslynne

    It could be the dog chow itself that is making her fat because its full of corn and wheat and carbs. They give corn to pigs to fatten them up for slaughter. If you look at the rating for dog chow on this forum you will notice that its 52% carbs and 26% fat. Would you consider switching her to a better quality affordable dog food such as Pure Balance from Walmart, or 4Health at Tractor Supply, Nutrisource, or Victor? When you feed a better quality dog food then you don’t have to feed them as much which will also save you money. If you also add the green beans and carrots your dog will be so much healthier, full and satisfied.

  • Leda Lyons

    I have a yellow lab and she weighs 118 pounds and needs to loose weight .I was feeding her 2 cups of Dog Chow Complete for breakfast and supper. My vet said she should get a cup in the morning and a cup for supper. Along with carrots and green beans. Is this enough food for a lab?

  • Sandy’s Mom

    My dog is an older Shitzu, she is not over weight but to me has always been a little lazy she can go outside anytime and I take her and walk her for hours but sometime she will not go potty so we end up in the vets office because of anal gland problems. Please give me an idea of what kind of high fiber dog food to feed her so she would go regularly. I’ve done the pumpkin, oatmeal, applesauce, you name it I’ve tried it. I make her dog food because she is so picky but ready to switch to a can dog food with lots of fiber and how much do I feed her. I want her last years to be comfortable and she is playful at times and times she doesn’t want to be messed with.

  • Crazy4cats

    I second Sandy’s suggestion of having a blood panel done, specifically checking thyroid levels.
    Also, is it possible that someone else in the household is feeding some treats that you are not aware of?
    If you are just feeding one measurement type cup per day, I wouldn’t think your dog could get that overweight.
    I hope you figure it out. It sounds like he isn’t feeling very well. Good luck!

  • sandy

    Has he had thyroid labs done?

  • InkedMarie

    Hi Michelle!
    If you’d like a weight loss food, look at Wellness Core reduced fat or Annamaet Lean. You may need to feed the amount of food for what he should weigh.

    Good luck!

  • michelle

    I have a husky who is 20 # overweight and we only feed him 1 cup of Iams healthy wt twice a day. He does not seem to be losing weight at all. He is even having trouble and getting sore just going for walks now. As he is getting older, we really need to get some wt off. Any suggestions?

  • Meghan

    Thanks for your reply!

  • theBCnut

    The suggested amount is just that, a suggestion. All dogs are different with different metabolisms, so the suggested amount will be too much for some and too little for others. You have to evaluate your individual dog and decide if it is receiving too much, too little, or the right amount. For dogs that are overweight, the owner definitely needs to consider every source of calories, but for a trim healthy active dog, that might not be necessary. You are the best judge.

  • Meghan

    Thank you for this calculator! I have a 11 month lab mix. She is small for a lab, only about 37 pounds. I feed her 2.25 cups, which is exactly what’s recommended on the calculator. However, we are still working on training, so she gets training treats throughout the day. I wondering if I should be feeding her just 2 cups due to the calories she gets in her treats.

  • Samantha

    I honestly didn’t even think of it in that way. Wow. Thanks!

  • theBCnut

    If he is slowly gaining weight, I would leave it where it is. Gaining slowly gives his body time to make muscle instead of just storing the extra calories as fat.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Thanks Samantha! I’m glad the link helped. My fosters are often about a 3 when I get them. I usually take the adults since they have less chance, but I always find them a family that loves them. 😉

    Just an FYI, cut back gradually on his portion or your boy will think you’re trying to starve him! LOL!

  • Samantha

    That link was perfect, thank you so much! I’d say he was a 3 when I took him in and right now he’s about a 4. Once he gets to a 5 I think I’ll decrease his intake to 3 1/2 cups. It’s truly wonderful what you’re doing, fostering kill shelter dogs, not too many individuals are willing to take on that kind of responsibility. You’re awesome. 🙂

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi Samantha,

    I don’t know what your dogs current weight or the kcals/cup of food you’re feeding are, but if you can feel, not see his ribs, that’s generally a good guide that he is the correct weight, so you wouldn’t increase the food. I foster kill shelter dogs that usually come in way underweight and I have to feed them more than recommended for awhile until they slowly get to the correct healthy weight they should be at. When they get there, I usually decrease their portion to what they should be eating for their weight. I also take into consideration their activity level as well.

    You can plug in your dogs ideal weight along with the kcals/cup that would be listed on your food bag to get an idea of how much you should be feeding. I’m also including a link that shows the body condition score:

    I hope this helps! 🙂

  • Samantha Ruiz

    I have a one year old Pit/Labrador that I rescued a few months ago. He was extremely thin, I’m not sure how much he was fed but since I’ve had him I’ve been feeding him 6 cups/day and he’s been filling out quite well. I’m not sure if I should up his food intake, he is quite active and is constantly jumping around the house like an oversized rabbit. Should I increase the amount of food that he’s currently eating?

  • Susan

    Yes, we had read that also in the many hours we spent researching. We had been feeding Fromms GOld LBP for several months – which has a lower calcium but higher protein than Precise… He is not over-exercised – a 1 mile walk every day and occasionally an off leash romp on a nearby ranch. I was feeding 9 cups of Fromms, and he was filling out but still could see ribs, always on the thin side as advised by regular vet…. he had neck pain after playing at the ranch one day last month. Therefore all the hysteria over the food – ER vet feared Wobblers but neurologist sees no symptoms (nor do we). No recurrence of pain or other symptoms. We cannot find a vet anywhere that can advise on the proper protein, calcium and Phos. It is horribly frustrating. Now we can see ribs and spine…. feeding 6 cups Precise as recommended, scared to feed more!

  • Pitlove

    Hi Susan-

    Precise is a great food however, your vet is wrong about the protein. Its been known for some time now in the field of canine nutrition that protein has no affect on the growth of large and giant breeds. Watching calorie intake and keeping them lean on top of feeding a food with restricted calcium is how you can help reduce the risk of DOD’s like the ones you mentioned.

    Make sure you are using the Purina Body Condition Score to determine that he is at an ideal body condition. As long as you can not see ribs or spine and can feel the ribs with a thin layer of fat covering them, he is fine. The increased calories with feeding 9 cups a day is the problem, not getting too much protein. You also shouldn’t be over-excersizing him so you need to factor that in as well when deciding how much to feed.

    Here is a great overview of large breed puppy nutrition written by a veterinary nutritionist:

    Here is a link to the Purina Body Condition Score:

    Hope this helps!

  • Susan

    I have an 9 month old Great Dane. Vet has recommended a 23-24% protein as evidently Danes can be adversely affected by too much protein (Wobblers or bone disorders). So I am feeding Precise Holistic Complete Large Giant Breed puppy food. Bag recommends 6 cups for his weight. But he is thin and vet says to feed more….. If I feed him 9 cups per day, is he getting too much protein? or is dog food calculated that way? I am soooo confused.

  • Rose

    I have a 4 year old 50 lb. Husky mix, high energy. I feed her 1 cup of Earthborn Coastal in the a.m. in her treat ball and 1 can of Merrick Grainfree at night. She hardly touches the kibble in the daytime . At night she scoffs down the Merrick and then eats her kibble. On the days that she goes to my mom’s, she acts hungry. Am I not feeding her enough?

  • Babslynne

    I’m sorry my response was a little rough, I deleted it. I was just thinking about that poor dog being stuck in one of those little crate kennels most of the day and needing to go potty but getting shocked by that bark collar every time he tried to tell them he had to go potty! Dogs need to bark!

  • Crazy4dogs

    Jennifer Stanfill,

    I’m not sure how old this lab is or how long you’ve had him, but your disqus history shows you’ve had problems between him and an older chi for about a year. Please consider rehoming him. There are many Lab rescue groups that could help you with this, whether they are in your area or not. I foster adult dogs from rural areas. This is not a happy life for you or the dogs. Please consider this alternative.

  • Babslynne

    That is just cruel torture! Your family doesn’t deserve a dog if you have to treat it like that! That is the lazy way to try to teach a dog anything. It takes time, love and patience to train a dog properly. Please find the dog a new home.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Maybe you should contact a foster based lab rescue in your area. 🙁

  • Jennifer Stanfill

    I feel so bad for our lab, dad put no bark collar on him , locked up in kennel most of the day , the neighbors have like 6 dogs that bark all night . Wish could find him home in country

  • Crazy4cats

    If I understand you correctly, you are saying that it would be nice if the company would state how many ounces are in a cup of food? Like BC was stating in an earlier post. Ounces is a liquid measurement not volume. A cup of kibble probably weighs closer to 4 ounces than 8. But, yes, it would be nice if they gave a little more information to help make more informed choices.

  • lynne negri

    well hills sciene is not a good dog food check on something better and go from there my 85 lb Catahoula lab mix only eats 2 1/2 cups a day and he gets it divied in half twice a day and will refuse any more than that.. sorry it is a she and easts Taste of the Wild or whole earths farms all really good food. Whole eath farms is made by Merrick buy not nearly as pricey.

  • lynne negri

    they want you to buy more food because tey are selling it. When she gets over the ut get her off that food it Is awful all full of corn and fillers

  • lynne negri

    thank you, I know what you mean but where do some aswers in here come u saying 4 oz is a cu that is a half of cup. If due to the size of the kibble it would be nice if the companies put 4 oz equals a cup. They all want you to overfeed the dogs. My 85 Catahoula eats the same amount as the 40 lb beagle. I always off her more but he does not want it but the beagle would never turn down food.

  • theBCnut

    A cup is an 8 oz. liquid measure. Since kibble is dry and has so much air in and around it, a cup of kibble weighs closer to 4 oz. Ever kibble weighs differently though due to density, fat content, etc.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi lynne,

    I’m not sure if you’re feeding Wellness Core, but if you are it’s roughly between 388-421 kcal/cup, so you would be feeding more. I don’t feed Whole Earth Farms, so I’m not sure what the kibble size comparison is. That’s the interesting thing about many of the lesser priced foods, they often are less kcals/cup, so, in reality, sometimes you are spending the same amount of money.

    The best thing you can do is get a graduated measuring cup. Then you know exactly how much you are feeding them. Good luck!

  • lynne negri

    I don’t feed the high kcal/cups I tend stay around 345 kcals/cup. I thought a 8 oz cup is an 8 oz cup. My vet told me how much to feed them but this food just seems to disappear I thought the size of might be the problem. Maybe they are actually getting way more than a cup. If the kibble in my Wellness food lasts longer. I may have to start weighing the food. I want them to have enough but these are grin and filler free so I would not be a food that you have to feed them three times as much with all crap it it.

  • Crazy4cats

    It is amazing how much difference there can be between brands and even formulas within the same brand. Regretfully, I never knew or even thought about that before I came to this website.

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi lynne negri,

    Yes, a couple of the foods I use do vary even within the brand, due to kibble size. You might also compare the kcal/cup as almost every dog food is different, often even within the same brand. The Whole Earth does vary, but only by a few calories. I rotate foods and some of the formulas vary from 348 kcals/cup to 509 kcals/cup. That’s quite a difference in how much I feed and it needs to be factored in as well.

  • Crazy4cats

    Yes, I think that sounds correct. I’ve noticed a few pet food websites that I have visited will actually list how many cups of food in the bag in addition to the weight of the bag.

  • lynne negri

    I changed dog food about a year ago to whole earth farms which is made by Merrick I use the meat pork recipe no chicken and they love it but I measure it out and it is a 25lb bag. My problem is that it seems to go much faster than the other brand I use. It it possible that different brands even when measured by the cup are using more per cup due to the size of the kibble. I use about 6 cups a day I have a few dogs and the bag lasts 14 days and am asking does that sound correct.

  • Kandra

    I gave her 1/3 cup for the last few days and then measure what was left in her bowl the next morning I have to leave her food down all the time or she will have a sensure if she does not nibble here and there. Anyway she does is actually eating about a 1/4 cup and sometimes still has a tiny bit of kibble in her bowl the next morning. I do give her 1/8 of a teaspoon of cream of wheat each morning and evening to get her allergy med down her. This is the only way she will take it. I did weigh her this morning and she has lost .2 of a pound so we are going in the right direction. Thank you for your help it has been wonderful

  • E J

    That’s rather irrelevant–no it’s not perfectly exact, but the kcal per cup figure given on a bag of kibble is specific to that food, and as close as you’re going to get when it comes to finding a gauge to measure it out. As we both noted after all, .3 is just under a third cup, not rocket science.

  • theBCnut

    Recheck your figures and make sure you don’t mean 0.3 cups, which makes a lot more sense. You can round that up to 1/3 cup and use a measuring cup to measure it. If it turns out that that is just a little bit too much then measure out your 1/3 cup and remove a few more pieces of kibble.

  • theBCnut

    Actually, with dog food, a cup isn’t a weight measure, since kibble has a LOT of air space in a cup. Each different kibble has a different weight per cup.

  • E J

    I believe you meant 0.3 cups, that’s about what an average calorie food at 5 pounds and overweight would be. So a cup is 8 oz, thus 8 x 0.3 = 2.4 ounces. A quarter cup is 2 ounces, and a third cup is 2.67 ounces, so you could either measure with a heaping quarter cup, or just under a third cup per day (not per meal).

  • Kandra

    I have a special needs dog that is almost 6 yrs old, she is very inactive as she does not go outside and run around she does play some in the house but not much, her back legs areally not real great (her hip joints are not fully developed) she is 6 1/2 lbs and should be 4 1/2 to 5 lbs. It says I should feed .03 cups per day for weight loss, but I do not understand how to measure that out hoping someone can help me. Thank you in advance

  • Jason Wulff

    i think where you have gone wrong is that the package is giving you kcal per oz as in weighted ounce and not liquid ounce. Weighted ounce as in 12 oz per pound and liquid oz as in 8 ounce per cup. The calculator here is by measure not weight.

  • theBCnut

    She definitely sounds like she is active enough for working dog status as far as calories go.

  • DinaKouveliotes

    Thank you! Yes, I heard that too. Thank you.

  • theBCnut

    Metabolism also affects how much food a dog needs and some GSDs have very fast metabolisms.

  • Scorned

    If she is losing weight, then adjust her amount of (increase by 1/4 cup) food. Watch her weight for gain. If she is still losing increase again by 1/4 cup. Always keep your vet in consult with what you are doing. Continued weight loss after increasing food several times could be a sign of a different medical problem.

    Highly active would be a “working dog” police dog, military working dog, search and rescue, highly active and working most of the day.

  • MyLabradorErro

    Is Orijen a good dog food ??