Not afraid of numbers? OK, then I’ll proceed and teach you how to calculate feeding amount for dogs.

Feeding Amount For Dogs – Step 1

Determine Your Dog’s Metabolic Weight And Base Level

How much to feed this dog

Our example dog
Akita Kensho

Suppose you lie in your bed the whole day. You’re not ill but you’re just doing nothing at all. How much energy would you need?


Did you say “Nothing”? Then you’re wrong! You need energy all the time to support your basic body functions. All those processes you’re usually not even aware of need to continue. So whenever someone asks you “What are you doing?”, the correct answer can never be “nothing”.

A minimal amount of energy − the basal metabolic rate − is required each day to maintain homeostasis in any dog that is just lying down in a room where room temperature is thermoneutral and doing nothing at all, not eating, not walking… except for keeping his heartbeat, his breathing, just staying alive.

For this basic metabolic rate (BMR) we calculate 275 kJ per kg of metabolic weight (which is not the same as the body weight that you can just measure) a day. So let’s first find out how to calculate your dog’s metabolic weight.

I’m using my dog Kensho as a number example but why don’t you follow along with your dog?

Let’s Calculate Kensho’s Metabolic Weight

  1. Weigh your dog (this is his body weight).
  2. When you have his weight in lbs, then first convert this to kilograms: multiply your number by 0.45359237 or use this online converter.
  3. The body weight in kg^0.75 is his metabolic weight (for this you need a calculator… unless you’re a number wizard). I’m taking my dog as an example: his body weight is 30 kg (66 lbs), so his metabolic weight is 30^0.75 = 12.8 kg (28 lbs).
The SI base unit for mass is the kilogram.1 lbs = 0.45359237 kg.1 kg = 2.20462262185 lbs.

Feeding Amount For Dogs – Step 2

Maintenance Level For Couch Potatoes And Real Dogs

Of course, the BMR is a theoretical concept, as even the laziest couch potato dog does more than just stay alive. He’ll at least walk to his food bowl, produce saliva, eat his breakfast and dinner, digest the ingredients, yawns and goes out for a pee a bit later. Now we’re NOT going to take that dog as a role model.

A role model dog, that gets about one hour exercise a day would need twice the basal metabolic rate.

A dog will eat the required amount of energy, but many dogs will overeat when they just really like the dog food.

The maintenance level generally equals twice the Basic Metabolic Rate. Of course, this is lower for inactive dogs and higher for active ones. For a dog that needs to lose fat tissue, the energy intake can be reduced to 50% (back at the BMR level).

Let’s Calculate Kensho’s Average Energy Requirement

  1. Take his metabolic weight and multiply this with 275 to get to his BMR.
  2. Multiply the BMR with 2 to get to his maintenance energy requirements. In Kensho’s case: my dog’s body weight is 30 kg (66 lbs), then his metabolic weight is 12.8 kg (28 lbs). His maintenance energy requirement is 12.8 × 275 × 2 = 7051 kJ per day (1692 kCal).

Now… was this complicated? I hate to tell you but this was just a rough estimate.

This doggy needs 1692 kCal a day

This doggy needs 1692 kCal a day

Not for every dog, you would multiply the BMR by a factor 2. This is applicable only to healthy mature dogs that are not inactive, not involved in performance activities either, not pregnant, not lactating and have an ideal body weight.

When your dog is overweight, use his advice body weight in the formula instead of his current body weight. Consult your vet when there’s a large difference between your dog’s current weight and his target weight.

So now you have a number… this is the amount of dog food to feed in terms of kiloJoules. But you may be thinking in cups, cans or grams.

I’m adhering to the International Standard of units or the metric system, but I’ll sometimes mention the other units for your convenience (and you can use this online converter).

Feeding Amount For Dogs – Step 3

Calculating The Amount Of Dog Food To Feed

We’re not finished yet. The next step is getting the number of grams. Thén you know how much to feed your dog.

To be continued…

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