If you are a pet parent to a pup and have been for a couple of years, congratulations! Pet-parenting may not be the easiest job in the world, but we can bet it is one of the most rewarding aspects of your life.

Caring for your dog is an integral aspect of being a pet parent. From their veterinary appointments to their exercise and their dietary needs, every dog entrusts their parents with the responsibility to care for them and their wellbeing. Taking on the responsibility of a dog is ensuring that all of their needs are met throughout their lives and that they are healthy, active, and happy pets. 

Unfortunately, estimations reveal close to 25 to 30% of the global canine population is obese. 40 to 45% of dogs between the ages of 5 to 11 years are significantly higher in weight than normal. 

Obesity in dogs can be linked to a number of reasons including an inactive lifestyle or excessive feeding tendencies on the part of the parent. Dogs are usually considered overweight if they weigh 10 to 20% more than their ideal body weight. Obese dogs, on the other hand, weigh 20% more than their ideal body weight. 

Understanding your dog’s daily caloric requirements can be a good step towards creating a safe and healthy diet plan for them. 

Discover everything you need to know about your dog’s daily calorie intake below! 

The Factors Calorie Intake Depends Upon

There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration when determining the calorie intake of your pet. For example, is your dog a couch potato who enjoys early morning and late-night snoozes? Or does your pet enjoy chasing balls around the house and keeping active and fit? Is your dog spayed or neutered? How old are they? 

If your dog is lazy and not as active as you would like them to be, then restricting its calorie intake can be beneficial in the long run. This is as compared to active sporty and hiking dogs that use significantly more energy and therefore need a lot more food. You can even exercise your dog without walking them

Similarly, puppies and developing dogs require more energy and food compared to adult and older dogs. This is because a significant proportion of the nutrients goes into promoting healthy growth and development. 

There may also be many pet parents who prefer to adopt an older dog. Dogs that are older, on the other hand, experience a drop in basal metabolic rate. Their activity level goes down as well, which is why they do not require too many calories since not much is burned either. 

Did you know that the length of your dog’s fur can also be a contributor to how many calories they need? Shorter-haired dogs like Golden-Retriever Pitbull mixes require more calories to maintain and regulate their body temperature. Longer-haired dogs, on the other hand, do not require too many calories to stay warm and comfortable. 

How then, do you establish a baseline with regards to your dog’s regular calorie intake?

How to Calculate Your Dog’s Average Calorie Intake?

It is recommended that dogs consume 25 to 30 calories per pound per day to maintain their weight. This is the ideal regular daily intake of calories that will be healthy and beneficial for your furry best friend. 

The daily calorie intake for active dogs is as follows: 

Small-Sized Breeds 

  • Weight – 10 Pounds and Less 
  • Calories – 400 Calories a Day 

Medium-Sized Breeds 

  • Weight – 30 to 50 Pounds 
  • Calories – 900 to 1300 Calories a Day 

Large-Sized Breeds 

  • Weight – Up to 70 Pounds 
  • Calories – 1700 Calories a Day 

The daily calorie intake for inactive dogs is as follows: 

Small-Sized Breeds 

  • Weight – 10 Pounds and Less 
  • Calories – 300 Calories a Day 

Medium-Sized Breeds 

  • Weight – 30 to 50 Pounds 
  • Calories – 670 to 990 Calories a Day

Large-Sized Breeds 

  • Weight – 70 Pounds 
  • Calories – 1300 Calories a Day 

You will get a better understanding of the exact caloric requirements of your dog, taking into consideration their body type, activity, and any other additional health conditions by consulting your veterinary doctor. 

Monitoring Your Dog’s Weight Regularly

If your dog is overweight or underweight, it will be necessary for you to monitor its weight every two weeks to ensure it reaches a stable range. 

Establish a Baseline

Your first step to helping your dog reach its ideal healthy weight is determining what its baseline should be. Your veterinary doctor will be able to give you a clear idea of this number. For example, a Labrador should ideally weigh between 64 and 79 pounds. 

Weigh Your Dog

Use a professional pet weighing scale to establish the weight of your dog. This will help you determine whether there have been any deviations after two weeks or more. Understanding your pet’s current weight can also help you recognize if they are overweight or underweight. 

Learn to Recognize Body Shape

Do your research on how a healthy and fit dog needs to physically look. There are a number of resources available online that can help you determine if your dog is gaining or losing weight. Remember to keep your veterinary doctor in the loop when altering your pet’s diet. 

For Overweight Dogs

Most likely, your veterinary doctor will ask you to decrease the number of calories you feed your dog by 10% over the span of two weeks. After two weeks, check your dog’s body shape and weight. Do they look leaner? Have they lost a little bit of weight? If they have, you can continue while constantly keeping your veterinary doctor updated. 

For Underweight Dogs

For underweight dogs, it is recommended that the calorie intake be increased by 10% over a span of two weeks. After two weeks, check your dog’s shape and weight. If they seem to have gained weight and are looking more muscular, you can continue with the newly-modified diet. Remember to keep your veterinary doctor in the loop. 

Understanding your dog’s daily caloric needs can help you create the best possible dietary plan that can help them live happy and healthy lives. Take your dog’s history into consideration and get a professional opinion before making any significant changes and you should see the benefits soon after!