How do I calculate how many calories of food my dog needs each day?

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Feeding your dog properly isn’t really as complicated as it might seem, but it cannot be based on weight alone (as the feeding instructions on the dog food bag would have you believe.) You need to take into account your dog’s total energy requirements and that differs from dog-to-dog, depending upon activity level, metabolism, life stage, health problems and more. Even breed and gender affect the energy requirements.

Here’s a simple way to figure it out, but if you have concerns or questions, you should always talk to your veterinarian or a pet nutrition expert.

An optimal body weight is the perfect weight for a dog’s size, and this number can be acquired by asking the veterinarian his or her opinion. Now, convert that number to kilograms (because that’s how most dog foods are measured). You do that by dividing that number by 2.2.

Now multiply that number by 30.and then add 70. The equation looks like this: Body weight in kilograms X 30 + 70. The resulting number is the dog’s resting energy requirement in calories. That is resting energy requirement –the amount of energy the dog uses doing absolutely nothing but digesting and breathing, sleeping, etc.

You’ll have to adjust that number for certain factors, such as puppies, seniors or working dogs, among others, so you’ll need to consult with your vet about that.

Once you’ve done that, take the amount of calories found in one cup of the food the dog is currently consuming. Caloric information can be found on some pet food labels, on the manufacturer’s website, or by calling the customer service line of the company that makes the food. Divide the dog’s daily calorie requirements by the number of calories in one cup of dog food to calculate the number of cups of food the dog should eat each day.

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