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Calculate Meal Amounts & Calories for Adult Dogs

Estimated reading time: 4 min

The amount of calories an adult dog needs depends on age, metabolism, and activity. An estimate on how much food a dog should eat in a day and how many calories they need to sustain optimal health can be calculated with a few simple math formulas.

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Calculate Daily Intake Estimates

An estimate on how much raw food an adult dog requires can be calculated by current weight multiplied by the recommended maintenance percentage to maintain ideal body condition.

Maintenance Percentages for Adult Dogs

Maintenance percentages, for adult dogs, are average starting guidelines. Maintenance percentage calculations provide an estimate of how much food a dog should consume in a day. These calculations are to be taken as guidelines and not “rules.”

Always adjust to the dog’s individual requirements. Low-energy breeds may require a lower maintenance percentage whereas high-energy breeds may require a higher maintenance percentage.

Activity Level Maintenance Percentage
Low 1.5%
Moderate 2%
Average 2.5%
Active 3%

*Maintenance percentages are for dogs 12 months and older.

Once the appropriate maintenance percentage is selected, the dog’s daily intake estimate can be calculated. Multiply the dog’s current weight by the appropriate maintenance percentage for its activity level.

Example 1

Adult dog profile in english units:

6 Years Old

Moderate Activity

55 Pounds

Ideal Body Weight

Calculate Estimated Daily Intake in english units:

55 x 0.02 = 1.1lbs

Estimated daily intake in pounds.

1.1 x 16 = 17.6oz

Estimated daily intake converted to ounces – round to 18oz for math ease.

Example 2

Adult dog profile in metric units:

6 Years Old

Moderate Activity

25 Kilograms

Ideal Body Weight

Calculate Estimated Daily Intake in metric units:

25 X 0.02 = 0.5KG

Estimated daily intake in kilograms.

0.5 X 1000 = 500G

Estimated daily intake converted to grams.

Maintenance percentages are starting guidelines to calculate estimates on how much food a dog will consume in a day. However, it is important to note that these are starting guidelines, these are not “rules,” and adjustments should be made for every individual dog.

Calculate Daily Energy Requirements

A “calorie” is a unit to measure the energy in food, and is the starting point when formulating a balanced diet. Once the amount of daily calories is calculated, completing the diet with essential nutrients is the next step.

The first step to determine calorie requirements is to calculate the dog’s resting energy requirements (RER). The RER of a dog is the amount of calories needed for biological functions such as digestion, heart rate, etc. This caloric amount does not factor into the activity.

The RER can be calculated by multiplying the dog’s body weight in kilograms by 30 and then adding 70.

Example 1, Continued

Adult dog profile in english units:

6 Years Old

Moderate Activity

55 Pounds

Ideal Body Weight

18oz Intake

Estimated Daily Intake

Calculate Resting Energy Requirements (RER) in english units:

55 / 2.2 = 25kg body weight

Convert body weight to kilograms.

(30*25)+70 = 820 RER

Resting Energy Requirements

Example 2, Continued

Adult dog profile in metric units:

6 Years Old

Moderate Activity

25 Kilograms

Ideal Body Weight

500g Intake

Estimated Daily Intake

Calculate Resting Energy Requirements (RER) in metric units:

(30*25)+70 = 820 RER

Resting Energy Requirements

Once the RER is identified, daily energy requirements (DER) can be calculated when multiplying RER. The DER is the total calories needed to sustain biological functions and daily activity. Calculation amounts vary in relation to the dog’s daily activity.

Energy Needs for Adult Dogs

Energy needs calculation variables, for adult dogs, are average starting guidelines. Energy needs provide a variable to calculate an estimate on how many calories a dog should consume in a day to sustain biological function and daily activity. These calculations are to be taken as guidelines and not “rules.”

Always adjust to the dog’s individual requirements. Low-energy breeds may require a lower energy need multiplier whereas high-energy breeds may require a higher multiplier.

Activity Level Energy Needs
Low 1
Moderate 1.3
Average 1.5
Active 1.7

*Energy need multiplier are for dogs 12 months and older.

Once the appropriate multiplier is identified, DER can be calculated by multiplying the dog’s RER by energy needs.

Example 1, Continued

Adult dog profile in english units:

6 Years Old

Moderate Activity

55 Pounds

Ideal Body Weight

18oz Intake

Estimated Daily Intake

820 RER

Calculate Daily Energy Requirements (DER) in english units:

820 x 1.2 = 984kcal

Daily Energy Requirements (DER) – round to 1000kcal for math ease.

Example 2, Continued

Adult dog profile in metric units:

6 Years Old

Moderate Activity

25 Kilograms

Ideal Body Weight

500g Intake

Estimated Daily Intake

820 RER

Estimated Daily Intake

Calculate Daily Energy Requirements (DER) in metric units:

825 x 1.2 = 984kcal

Daily Energy Requirements (DER) – round to 1000kcal for math ease.

Calculating the DER by multiplying the RER by energy needs is to be taken as a guideline and adjusted according to the dog’s individual requirements. Since metabolism varies among dog breeds, the energy needs multiplier needs to be higher for high-energy breeds and lower for low-energy breeds. 

Determine Feeding Frequency

Adult dogs can be fed multiple meals throughout the day or one singular meal. Either feeding option is suitable for adult dogs. If multiple meals are fed throughout the day, divide the daily feeding intake by the frequency of meals fed throughout the day to calculate individual meal amounts.

CLOSING COMMENTS

Both calculation methods prove useful when to formulating a raw diet for an adult dog. The first step to creating a raw diet for a dog is to calculate how much food the dog will need to consume in a day.

Maintenance Percentage

Calculate daily intake amount with maintenance percentages to estimate how much food the dog needs to consume in a day.

Calculate Calories

To get an accurate figure of how many calories the dog needs to consume per day is to calculate daily energy requirements (DER). The DER is an accurate way to determine how many calories the dog needs to consume in a day to maintain energy and biological functions.

Determine Feeding Frequency

Adult dog can be fed once or multiple times a day. Feeding frequency should be determined based on the dog’s individual needs.

Once an estimated daily intake is calculated, the amount of muscle meat, raw meaty bones, organs, and plant ingredients can be estimated using raw diet ratio guidelines to complete recommended allowances for essential nutrients.

The recommended allowances for amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals can be determined once daily calories are calculated.