9/24/22

How Many Calories Does Your Dog Breed Need?

The nutritional needs of dogs are poles apart from that of their human friends. Moreover, different dog breeds have divergent nutritional needs. Nearly all breeds of dogs need approximately 25 to 30 calories per pound on a daily basis. Calorie intake would again vary on individualistic factors like the dog’s lifestyle, age, etc. even for same-breed dogs.

Additionally, variations in metabolic rates, whether your dog is spayed or neutered, would alter the calorie intake figure considerably. Dogs undergo a hormonal change when they are spayed or neutered. Consequently, they tend to become sedentary and are prone to weight gain. 

During this time, the food intake should be decreased to 30% compared to their normal calorie intake. Pregnancy, surgeries, or trauma have to be considered while fixing a calorie count for your pet dog. Special dietary needs or health issues for your ‘loyal companions’ need to be considered, as well. 


The Average Calorie Count 

On average, a 30 lbs. dog would need approximately 800 calories per day to maintain its weight. Any calorie intake figure determined would be at best an estimate or a guideline to be followed. 

Therefore, a ‘one size fits all’ calorie calculator or table would not be applicable. A consultation with a veterinarian is absolutely necessary before embarking on a diet plan for our canine friends. In case of uncertainty, dog owners tend to over-feed their pets. This could result in a multitude of health problems and obesity. According to ‘Waltham Research’, a formula that could be helpful to calculate the required daily calorie intake for adult dogs is:

CR (kcal/day) = 90 • Bodyweight(0.75)

In this formula, CR = daily calorie requirement for a dog

and 

Bodyweight = weight in lbs/2.2

This formula though does not take into consideration the daily exercise regimen of an individual dog. 


The Calorie Requirement of the Most Popular Breeds 

Based on registration statistics for the current year, American Kennel Club releases the list of most popular breeds on a yearly basis. The most popular breeds of 2020 with their calorie requirements are mentioned below for a ready reference:

Labrador Retriever: 

According to the National Academy of Sciences, an adult and active Labrador requires 1500 – 1875 calories approximately per day. Nursing and pregnant Labs need an additional 700 calories daily. On an obvious note, pups or inactive dogs need less amount of daily calorie intake. But you have to make sure that you are feeding healthy food and not pancakes or ice cream etc.

German Shepherd: 

These are large dogs and usually weigh between 60 to 90 pounds. German Shepherds need 1750 – 2000 calories daily on average. Older, or less active dogs would need a lower calorie intake.

Golden Retriever: 

This breed of dog generally weighs between 55 – 75 pounds. The National Research Council of the National Academies recommends 1350 – 1750 calories on a daily basis for adult Golden Retrievers. This calculation is based on their average weight. Older, obese, or sedentary Golden Retriever dogs need about 980 – 1300 calories on a daily basis.

French Bulldog: 

Frenchies typically weigh between 16 – 28 pound range. An active but small-sized French Bulldog would need around 400 – 480 calories per day. A bigger one would require an approx. 700 – 800 calories on a daily basis. Older counterparts would require lesser calories after taking their health conditions into consideration.

Bulldog: 

An adult Bulldog weighs between 48 – 52 pounds. Active adult Bulldogs need 1500 calories each day. The less active or smaller-sized ones need around 1300 – 1400 calories per day. Older, inactive, or sick Bulldogs need lesser calorie intake. But for blind dogs, you have to make sure they are physically active. You can blind dog halo for that. If they are not physically active then you have to give them 1000 calories per day.

Beagle: 

The weight range of Beagles is between 25 – 30 pounds. A young and active adult requires about 675 – 920 calories per day to remain healthy. Less active Beagles would require lesser calories and the more active ones would require more.

Poodle: 

The standard Poodle weighs around 45 – 70 pounds. According to The National Research Council of the National Academies, adult Poodles require between 1350 – 1750 calories daily. Inactive or senior Poodles would need lesser calories.

Pug: 

The average weight of a pug is between 14 to 18 pounds. An approx 560 – 720 calories might be required for an adult Pug. The inactive dogs or aged Pugs would require lesser calories per day. Conversely, a growing Pug of the same weight would require a higher number of calories.

Chihuahua: 

A daily requirement of around 225 calories is required for a 4 – 5 pounds adult Chihuahua. A senior Chihuahua or a sick one would require a lesser amount of calories.

Rottweiler: 

This breed of dog weighs in the range of 83 – 132 lbs depending on their gender. Not more than 2100 calories are required for an adult, active, and healthy Rottweiler. The older ones with a more sedentary lifestyle require less calorie intake on a daily basis.

Boxer: 

An adult Boxer dog weighs approximately 50 pounds. Calorie intake would be around 2000 per day to remain healthy. A cut in calories would be necessary in case your Boxer becomes overweight or has a sedentary lifestyle. Aged ones also need fewer calories due to lesser activity.


A digital scale comes in very handy to measure and regulate edibles that go into the dog bowl daily. Portion control is a significant part of keeping a tab on your lovable companion’s daily calorie intake. It is difficult to determine calories in home-cooked foods. 

Individual elements used to cook the food should be considered to get a fair idea about the calorie content of the meal. Labels on dog food packaging need to be carefully studied to check the fat content, which should not exceed 10%. Nowadays, various calorie-counting apps for different breeds of dogs are available online.  

Numerous online sites and blogs give detailed calorie intake information for different dog breeds for their day-to-day nutritional need. A significant part of taking care of your furry friend is to keep a track of the nourishment that you provide to them. Calorie counting per serving is an excellent way to negate the chances of obesity and related health problems. A fit and healthy pet make for a happy companion for a lifetime.

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