Dog Daily Energy Requirements Calculator
By Manuel Villanueva  Published 2002, Updated February 6, 2024
Directions
First, choose your pet's body description type. If the pet is normal weight or overweight, enter their weight then choose any additional options. If the pet appears underweight, don't enter their weight. Enter their breed, sex and maintenance level. Some popular breeds are included to choose from. If the breed is unknown choose the closest match. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has illustrations of underweight, healthy, and overwieght dogs for comparison.
Definitions
 resting energy requirement (RER)
 The amount of energy that a typical, wellfed animal needs to simply maintain its basic bodily functions when it's resting comfortably in a comfortable environment. This includes energy for things like breathing, digestion, and healing, but it doesn't cover any extra energy needed for additional physical activities beyond just resting.
 maintenance energy requirement (MER)
 The amount of energy used by a moderately active adult dog in a comfortable environment. It represents the energy necessary to maintain body weight, but not to support growth, pregnancy or lactation. It is important to remember that the calculated MER only represents an estimate of energy need.
 daily energy requirement (DER)
 Represents the average daily energy expenditure of any animal, dependent of lifestage and activity. The daily energy requirement encompasses all the requirements for RER and MER and includes activity necessary for work, gestation, lactation and growth.
 weight (W)
 Body weight in kilograms.
Equations
 RER
 70 × (W)^{0.75} = kilocalories/day
 MER
 132 × (W)^{0.75} = kilocalories/day
Note, the RER equation is intended for dogs between 2 and 45 kilograms.
Activity Level  Energy Requirement  

Dieting  1 × RER  
Obese prone  1.2 to 1.4 × RER^{†}  
Inactive Adult  1.2 to 1.4 × RER^{†}  
Neutered Adult  1.6 × RER  
Intact Adult  1.8 × RER^{†}  
Light Work  1.6 to 2 × RER  
Moderate Work  2 to 5 × RER  
Heavy Work  5 to 11 × RER  
Gestation week 1–4  MER  
Gestation week 5  MER + (18 × W)  
Gestation week 6–8  MER + (36 × W)  
Gestation week 9  MER + (18 × W)  
Lactation 1 pup  3 × RER  
Lactation 2 pups  3.5 × RER  
Lactation 3–4 pups  4 × RER  
Lactation 5–6 pups  5 × RER  
Lactation 7–8 pups  5.5 × RER  
Lactation 9 >= pups  6 × RER  
Weaned pups >= 4 months  3 × RER  
Pups 4 months or more  2 × RER  
Harsh temperatures  1.25 to 2 × MER 
Overweight Dogs
Using an overweight dog's body weight would over estimate it's calorie needs. The Body Condition Score (BCS) allows calculating calorie needs for an overweight dog by using the ideal body weight (IBW) instead of an actual weight. Body condition scores 6 through 9 represent levels of obesity with 9 being the most obese. View wsava.org's educational pamphlet for illustrations and scores of overwieght, underweight and ideal weight dogs.
 BCS 6. Ribs are easily felt under fat padding. The belly is slightly concave.
 BCS 7. It's harder to feel the ribs. There is fat padding on the lower back and tail. The belly may be slightly concave or flat.
 BCS 8. Ribs are no longer felt or only while pressing firmly. The fat padding on the lower back and tail becomes thicker. The belly hangs out.
 BCS 9. Thick fat padding around the entire chest gives it a barrel appearance. There is fat padding around the neck and legs.
In the equation above substitute the pet's weight for 'W' and substitute their BCS score. It doesn't matter if the pet's weight is entered as kilograms or pounds in this equation but the weight must be in kilograms to calculate the RER and MER. Now the IBW can be used to calculate their daily calorie needs more accurately.
Underweight Dogs
Use the BCS (see pamphlet) to determine if a pet is underwieght. A BCS of 3 or less is less than ideal. The boney protrusions of the lower spine are easily felt. The outline of their pelvic bone is apparent. The belly is obviously concave.
If the pet is underweight, using their actual weight will underestimate their daily calorie needs. Again, the IBW is used to determine their daily calorie requirements. The best practice for determining the IBW of an underweight dog is to use their breedspecific weight based on sex.
Managing Your Dog's Calorie Intake For Optimal Results
These equations offer a estimate of a dog's daily energy requirements. To ensure your dog reaches and maintains their ideal body weight, it's essential to monitor their weight, body condition closely and adjust their calorie intake accordingly. Additionally, take into account other factors such as stress or illness that may influence their calorie needs.
Consulting with a veterinarian can also provide valuable insights and guidance in managing your dog's diet effectively. It's important to have your pet medically evaluated for any disease or condition affecting their weight.
Examples
1. What is the daily energy requirement of an active intact 25 pound cocker spaniel?

Convert pounds to kilograms
 1 kilogram ≈ 2.205 pounds
 25 ÷ 2.205 ≈ 11.338

Enter the pet's weight into the equation for active intact adults.
 DER = 125 × (W^{.75})
 DER = 125 × (11.338^{.75})

To calculate 11.338 raised to the power of 0.75, use the
x^{y} exponent calculator key. Enter 11.338, x^{y} key, then .75
 DER = 125 × (6.179)
 DER ≈ 772.375
Therefore, this 25 pound cocker spaniel requires approximately 772 kcal per day.
2. What is the daily energy requirement of a normal weight pug but prone to obesity weighing 6 kilograms?

Enter the pet's weight into the low range equation for an obese prone dog.
 DER = 85 × (W^{.75})
 DER = 85 × (6^{.75})

To calculate 6^{.75} use the x^{y} exponent calculator key. Enter 6,
x^{y} key, then .75
 DER = 85 × (3.834)
 DER ≈ 325.890

Enter the pet's weight into the high range equation for an obese prone dog.
 DER = 100 × (W^{.75})
 DER = 100 × (3.834)
 DER ≈ 383.400
Therefore, this 6 kilogram pug requires 326–383 kcal per day.
3. What is the daily energy requirement of an active neutered Pembroke Welsh Corgi weighing 31 pounds with a Body Condition Score (BCS) of 8?

Convert pounds to kilograms
 1 kilogram ≈ 2.205 pounds
 31 ÷ 2.205 ≈ 14.059
 Calculate the dog's ideal body weight using following formula by substituting the actual weight and BCS.
This Pembroke Welsh Corgi's ideal body weight is approximately 10.815 kilograms.

Enter the IBW into the equation for active intact adults.
 DER = 1.6 × (70 × W^{.75})
 DER = 1.6 × (70 × 10.815^{.75})

To calculate 10.815^{.75} use the x^{y} exponent calculator key. Enter 10.815,
x^{y} key, then .75
 DER = 1.6 × (70 × 5.964)
 DER ≈ 667.968
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi's daily energy requirement is approximately 668 kcal per day.
4. What is the daily energy requirement of a 35 pound intact Siberian Husky who appears underweight? His body condition score is less than 4 which is less than ideal.
Without knowing his previous ideal body weight, it's best practice to estimate based on his breed and sex. An online search reports a range of 45–60 pounds for males for this breed.

Convert pounds to kilograms
 1 kilogram ≈ 2.205 pounds
 45 ÷ 2.205 ≈ 20.408
 60 ÷ 2.205 ≈ 27.211

Enter the minimum weight into the equation for active intact adults.
 DER = 125 × (W^{.75})
 DER = 125 × (20.408^{.75})

To calculate 20.408^{.75} use the x^{y} exponent calculator key. Enter 20.408,
x^{y} key, then .75
 DER = 125 × (9.602)
 DER ≈ 1,200.250

Enter the maximum weight into the equation for active intact adults.
 DER = 125 × (W^{.75})
 DER = 125 × (27.211^{.75})
 DER = 125 × (11.914)
 DER ≈ 1,489.250
Based on the Siberian Husky's breed and sex, his daily energy requirement is approximately 1,200–1,489 kcal per day.
5. What is the daily energy requirement of a Sussex spaniel 5 weeks pregnant weighing 19 kilograms?

Enter the pet's weight into the MER equation for gestation at 5 weeks.
 MER = 132 × (W^{.75}) + (18 × W)
 MER = 132 × (19^{.75}) + (18 × 19)

To calculate 19^{.75} use the x^{y} exponent calculator key. Enter 19,
x^{y} key, then .75
 DER = (132 × 9.100) + 342
 DER = 1,201.200 + 342
 DER ≈ 1,543.200
The Sussex spaniel's daily energy requirement is approximately 1,543 kilocalories per day kcal per day at 5 weeks gestation.
References
 Hand M. S. & Lewis L. D. (2010). Small animal clinical nutrition (5th ed.). Mark Morris Institute.
 Hand, M. S., Thatcher, C. D., Rimillard, R. L., & Roudebush, P. (Eds.). (2000) Small Animal Clinical Nutrition. (4th ed.). Marceline, MO: Walsworth.
 Siegal, M. (Ed.). (1995). UC Davis book of dogs: The complete medical reference guide for dogs and puppies. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
 German, A. J., Holden, S. L., Bissot, T., Morris, P. J., & Biourge, V. (2009). Use of starting condition score to estimate changes in body weight and composition during weight loss in obese dogs. Research in veterinary science, 87(2), 249–254.