How Much Food Should I Be Feeding My Dog?

This is a very common question I receive from clients, and unfortunately there is not a “one-size-fits-all” answer. All pet food bags have a chart on the back with recommended daily feeding amounts based on a pet’s weight. These are usually given in ranges, such as ½ to ¾ cup, etc. This can be confusing to pet parents when trying to determine how much they should be feeding their dog, especially for those pets needing to lose weight. Fortunately, with a quick calculation, this question can be easily answered. Follow the steps below to calculate the number of daily calories needed for your pet.

  1.  Change your dog’s weight to kilograms. To do this, divide your dog’s weight in pounds by 2.2.
  2. Then plug your dog’s weight in kilograms into the following equation: 70 (weight)^3/4 to get number of kilocalories.
  3. Next, use a multiplier to determine the number of kilocalories needed each day specifically for your dog’s category in the chart below.
  4. Now check the back of your dog food bag or can, and you will see that “kcal/cup” is listed. Take the total number of kilocalories that you calculated in Step 3 and divide it by the kcal/cup found on the bag. This equals the number of cups per day that your dog should be receiving. You can split this up into two meals if you would like.
Active, Adult Dog 1.6-1.8 x # of kilocalories
Inactive, Adult Dog 1.2-1.4 x # of kilocalories
Overweight Dog 1.0 x # of kilocalories
Active, Working Dog 2.0-5.0 x # of kilocalories
Puppies 2.0-3.0 x # of kilocalories

*Chart adapted from Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center.

Of course, these are estimates and actual feeding amounts may vary (based on breed and activity). However, these guidelines should provide more clarity when determining how much to feed your dog each day.