Dog Food Calculator

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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

pounds   kilograms

Step 2
Your dog's activity level

Step 3
Your dog food's calories per serving

kcal / cup

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

Dog Food Calculator
Guidelines

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 are 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

Overweight Dogs

If you believe your dog might be overweight, be sure to choose the “Overweight” option for “Your dog’s activity level”.

Otherwise, the recommended serving size will likely be too high.

And for help, be sure to visit our Best Dog Foods for Weight Loss article.

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.

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. 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

{ 1288 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Crazy4cats says:

    You could still put in your dogs ideal weight and then any number, such as, 400 calories per cup. Then it will tell you an approximate number calories per day your dog needs based on their activity level. You could just ignore the number of cups it recommends. It give you both calories and cups per day after you put in the required fields. Check out balanceit.com for homemade recipes.

  2. Try going to the “forums” section and look for Hound Dog Mom’s past posts.

  3. Then this calculator will probably be of no use to you. I’d try to find a nutritionist that can help you figure out the exact needs your dog has. Most online references seem to only base feeding off of a % of dog’s weight.

  4. Jana Cooney says:

    Well I making my own food so I’m not using kibbles anymore

  5. Usually it will be near the guaranteed analysis or the feeding guidelines.

  6. If you look at the bag of your dog food, you should be able to find the kcal/cup and kcal/kg. You need the kcal/cup off of the bag and that’s the number you use.

  7. Jana Cooney says:

    It is wanting me to put how many calories my dog needs each day to figure out how much to feed them BUT THAT is what I DO NOT know and need to know before I can use that Calculator , HELP

  8. Yup!

  9. Bobby dog says:

    Wow, he’s doing really well!! Still feeding the Simply Fit?

  10. Crazy4cats says:

    Yay! Max is doing much better than I! That’s good news.

  11. I recently started weighing out both Bentley and Max’s food on a gram scale and I’m glad I did. I realized I was overfeeding Bentley slightly, but over time that adds up. It has also helped Max go from 87lbs to 83 lbs on his diet!

  12. Cathy Koh says:

    Wow i suck at this… my math is horrible. Raw feeding is much easier

  13. “Maybe you were confused with butter”
    Nope *smh*

  14. Sure, could you ask your friend to stop baiting me? Thanks
    PS: I am not wrong, imo, you are wrong, lol

  15. Yeah, right. Condescending.

  16. Crazy4cats says:

    I don’t see why you would be banned. Honestly was trying to help you understand the poster’s question. Sorry!

  17. If I am banned, you and your group can be happy as you have driven away another valuable contributor to this forum.
    You are all bullies.

  18. Crazy4cats says:

    Yes, I believe we were all assuming she meant kibble, including you. You actually said “I stand by my 1 pound of dry kibble equals 2 cups.” Maybe you were confused with butter.
    I believe you were answering to the best of your ability. I don’t think you intentionally meant any harm to anyone. I’m not sure why you are still arguing when there are about six different posters on here that are all in agreement with the general rule of thumb for weight of kibble. It really is OK to be wrong now and then. Lord knows I have been. Can we please move on?

  19. Exact question/post

    Mavis Petrie • a day ago
    “Can you please tell me how many pounds or ounces are in one cup?”

    No mention of kibble, canned food, raw food, dry food, wet food or any type of food for that matter. Absolutely nothing about how many servings in a bag. We all speculated on what she meant by her question.

    We all answered the question to the best of our abilities.
    No follow up questions or response from the OP noted.

  20. They weren’t asking about it so they could weigh out each meal. I believe the original poster was trying to figure out how many 1 cup servings are in a bag that weighs X amount. Nowhere did they say they wanted to weigh the food and get that nitty gritty with servings.

  21. Exactly. But, if the serving size is 1 cup per day.
    Why would you weigh the kibble.

    A cup is a cup is a cup………
    I don’t believe the dog food kibble servings have anything to do with weight.

  22. Crazy4cats says:

    It sounds a lot cumbersome! I feel itchy just thinking about it.

  23. Ha Ha!! That’s part of why I find it a little bit of a chore. It’s a little cumbersome and I usually have hay all over my clothes afterwards!

    At least I only have to do it once for each batch I get in, no big deal. The big deal is when the pony puts on too much weight and I have to put her on a diet…no fun for either of us!

    I have a cup I use for Bobby’s kibble that I marked with each brand/recipe I feed. As long as the recipes don’t change I don’t have to weigh anything again unless it’s a new brand or recipe.

    He’s like the pony and me, he packs it on easily even with all his daily activity.

  24. Crazy4cats says:

    Will it fit on my tiny kitchen scale? Good luck with that! 😉

  25. How about coming over to weigh my horses’ feed and hay??

    I just got a new batch of hay in from a different supplier. Weighing feed is no big deal, but weighing hay, uggggg it’s a little messy.

    One flake of hay from this new batch weighs about 11.5 lbs. A flake from my last batch was about 7 lbs. My pony would get a HUGE hay belly if I fed her the same number of flakes as I did from the last batch! I really have to watch her weight. She’s a gal after my own heart with how fast she can put it on.

    Oh well, this load should take me into spring so I might not have to weigh any more hay if we have an early spring, fingers crossed!! 😉

  26. Crazy4cats says:

    Haha! I’ve had a lot of experience as I am an on and off again weight watcher member. Right now, I’m off, but should be on! :/

    The leaders recommend weighing food as opposed to measuring with cups. I can easily squish in an extra 30 grams of ice cream into a 1/2 cup. The label says it should weigh 108 grams, but mine weighs 138 grams when I’m done with it. LOL! That could add up over time when you are trying to lose.

    Thanks for the confirmation that we were on the right track!

  27. Crazy4cats says:

    The original poster asked how many ounces are in one cup. Ounces is a measurement of weight and we were simply answering his/her question. I found it to be an interesting question. Now, I know, it’s approximately 4 ounces depending on the food. I guess it could be helpful to determine how quickly your dogs will go through a bag of food. I think some people with smaller dogs may find it helpful to weigh the food as it is more accurate. I know for myself, I can jam a lot more ice cream in a measuring cup than the actual serving should be! Can’t cheat when weighing it!
    So, in conclusion, we were answering the poster’s question, approximately 4 ounces per cup or 4 cups in a pound. (16 oz in a pound).
    PS Peace out to you too!

  28. It took 4 cups of my small kibble to weigh 1 lb on my scale.

  29. Your article confirms my opinion.
    Thanks! If you feed the kibble by weight rather than by cup measurement, you will overfeed!
    That is how I understand it!
    Peace out…….

    https://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?articleid=377#answer_12
    (excerpt below, click on link for full article)

    What is an eight ounce measuring cup?
    An 8-ounce measuring cup is the type of measuring cup used in cooking and baking. This is the type of cup you should use to measure out your pet’s food.

    Why does the label say a cup only holds e.g., 4 ounces?
    There are fluid ounces that measure volume (16 ounces in a pint), and there are dry ounces that describe weight (16 ounces in a pound). A measuring cup measures volume, but not weight. It turns out that 8 fluid ounces of water weighs approximately 8 ounces. Pet food, however, is less dense than water. So 8 fluid ounces of food generally weighs approximately 4 ounces.

  30. I find your explanations too busy and laden with unnecessary details.
    Scooping dog food kibble out of a bag is not rocket science!
    PS: Why on earth would anyone weigh dog kibble? It’s measured by the cup for serving not by the weight.
    You are just confusing people.

  31. Hi Anon

    You said “I don’t need any help. Thanks.
    The 1 pound = 2 cups (approximate) has worked for me and my pets for many years.”

    I’m guessing it “works” for you because you don’t weigh your dogs food : )

    From Purina 1584 kcals/pound. If you are right and there are 2 cups of kibble in a pound of kibble that would mean dividing the 1584 kcal/pound in 2 will give you the kcals in each cup 1584 divided by 2 = 792 kcals.
    Purina reports 374 kcals/cup

    Or look at it this way 1584 kcals/lb divided by 374 kcals/cup = 4.23 cups in every pound. this is consistent with crazy4cats measurement
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a4694c4de362216840f8bb40945ec2920c239b4230da894fca41c0d3ed8230db.png

  32. Maybe it looks all complicated because it is in grams and kgs and kcals.decimals and long numbers. I see your point .

    You said “Like I said 1 pound (16 ounces) of dry kibble = 2 cups. (approximate)”

    If that were true than the number of calories /cup x 2 will https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a4694c4de362216840f8bb40945ec2920c239b4230da894fca41c0d3ed8230db.png equal the number of calories /pound.

    From Purina website Pro Plan large breed weight management calories/cup 374kcals/cup Multiplied by 2 = 748kcals.

    Purina reports kcals/pound as 1584

  33. I’m impressed with your measuring skills! From their website 374 kcals/cup and 3492 kcals/kg

    374/3.492 = 107 grams /28=3.82 ounces

  34. Well, I’m just going to write you off as a troll at this point. Facts are facts when it comes to weight. You were disproved above with crazy4cats picture. Your opinion is worthless when it is spewing false information.

  35. Actually, it doesn’t make any sense to the average pet owner.
    Too complicated and technical.

    Like I said 1 pound of dry kibble = 2 cups. (approximate)
    That’s what I find works.

  36. Like I said, your vet needs to go back to some basic schooling. I feel for anyone that uses that vet.

  37. I don’t need any help. Thanks.
    The 1 pound = 2 cups (approximate) has worked for me and my pets for many years.
    My vet who I trust agrees, that’s good enough for me. 🙂

  38. Hi anon,

    This is a copy of my reply to the original poster.

    Royal Canin Labrador 3492 kcals/kg, 276 kcal/cup
    3492 kcal/kg = 3.492 kcal/gram dividing through 276kcal/cup 3.492kcals/gram = 79 grams/cup of food. As there are 28 grams in an ounce one cup of RC Labrador is 2.8 ounces.

    Pro Plan Puppy small breed 4126kcals/kg and 461 kcals/cup 461/4.126 = 111.7 grams. = 4 ounces
    Evo small breed avg between two posted values 4121kcals/kg and 516 kcals/cup calculates out to 4.5 ounces

    Hope that helps.