Calorie requirements for dogs

Weight tables of specific dog breeds are for guidance only. It is better to judge individually whether your dog is the ideal weight. If this is not the case, you should check the energy requirement.

The energy requirement refers to the amount of energy the dog needs for its vital functions and performance. This individual need should be covered by daily food. The dog needs energy not only for its own movements and thus muscle strength, but also generally for its basal metabolic rate (e.g. functions such as breathing, circulation and regulation of body temperature). So even a sleeping dog consumes energy.

Difference between ideal weight and ideal appearance

It is important to find the right measure or the optimal amount: too much energy intake can easily lead to obesity. Too little energy, on the other hand, can result in weight loss and deficiency symptoms (especially in the growth phase). Only if the feeding quantity corresponds to the actual consumption can the dog maintain its ideal weight. In the true sense of the word, the aim is not to achieve the dog’s ideal weight, but rather its ideal appearance. This is because a dog with an increased activity level will gain muscle mass and lose fat mass at the same time. Muscle, however, is heavier than fat, and so the scales would falsely indicate an increase in (excess) weight. Therefore, use sight to determine the ideal weight. Here, the so-called Body Condition Score (BCS) has been proven to work. The waist must be visible from above (behind the ribs) and the tucked-in belly line from the side. In addition, the dog should be well proportioned overall and the dorsal vertebrae should be palpable when pressed gently. In growing young animals, the BCS is most informative in conjunction with a growth curve and regular weight checks.


The (calorie) requirement can vary greatly from dog to dog, but what factors does it depend on?

On which factors does the calorie requirement of a dog depend?

  • Active, athletic dogs have a higher energy requirement.
  • Young, spirited dogs usually need more food than older, calm dogs.
  • Size and weight play a decisive role.
  • Dogs in the growth phase need a corresponding increase in energy for their weight development.
  • Short-haired dogs have to expend more energy to maintain their body temperature than long-haired dogs with a lot of undercoat.
  • High performance dog sports require extra energy.
  • Neutering often leads to a lower energy requirement.
  • Pregnancy or the way a dog is kept (in a group/outdoors), as well as many diseases, are energy-consuming.
  •  Environmental factors: increased humidity, increased air movements or extreme outside temperatures increase the energy demand.

Calculating the energy requirements of a dog

The energy requirement, i.e. the amount of calories the dog needs to consume daily, is varies a lot and depends on many factors. Of course, weight and height play a decisive role. It is important to remember that a 40 kg dog does not simply need eight times the amount of a 5 kg dog – on average it needs less than five times the amount! Small dogs have a proportionally larger body surface through which heat – i.e. energy – is lost. Therefore, small dogs need proportionally (not absolutely) more food or energy than large dogs. While the smaller 5 kg dog needs 320 kcal/day (approx. 90 g Adult Chicken per day), the larger 40 kg dog gets by with 1520 kcal/day (approx. 420 g Adult Chicken per day).

The dog’s energy requirements therefore differ simply on the basis of breed, age, sex, body size, food conversion and performance intensity. A feeding table can thus only be regarded as a recommended guideline. This reflects the calorie requirements of an average active dog. Deviations upwards or downwards are therefore not uncommon. The aim is to find out the right amount of food for your own dog. In general, you should always base the feeding recommendation on the ideal weight and not on the actual weight. If necessary, adjust the amount of food in small steps and observe the weight change within a period of 1 to 2 weeks.

The average calorie requirement of a dog per day [according to Meyer/Zentek, 2016]

So that you don’t have to go through the hassle of calculating your dog’s calorie requirements, we offer the following table for quick orientation (details in kcal/day):

Weight of dog (adult) 
Dog younger, activeDog older, inactive
5 kg 450 kcal 340 kcal
10 kg 750 kcal 560 kcal
20 kg 1.270 kcal 950 kcal
30 kg 1.720 kcal 1.290 kcal
40 kg 2.130 kcal 1.600 kcal

What to do if the dog is overweight?

If a dog consumes more energy than it needs, the excess energy is converted into body fat and can lead to obesity as a result. Overweight dogs should not be put on a radical diet by simply reducing the amount of food they eat. This could lead to an undersupply of proteins, vitamins and minerals. We recommend reducing the amount of feed by a maximum of one third. Your dog should lose between 1 and 2% of its own body weight per week – more would put too much strain on the body. For a 40 kg dog, this would mean a weight reduction of 400 to 800 g per week.

Excess weight can lead to secondary diseases in dogs – just like in humans. These include problems with the cardiovascular system and the respiratory tract, as well as an increased risk of anaesthesia. In addition, increased body weight leads to a further reduction in activity levels and then reinforces the spiral towards obesity. Treats and chews for in-between should be greatly reduced and generally deducted from the daily food amount. A 5 kg dog can consume 1/5 of the daily requirement with 20 g of treats!

How many calories (per 100g) do common chews and PLATINUM products have?

Chews / food Fat content Protein content
Energy content
Pig’s ear ca. 20 - 30 % > 70 % 430 kcal
Buffalo skin bones ca. 1 - 20 % 50 - 80 % 430 kcal
Dried rumen ca. 12 % > 65 % 500 kcal
Dried lung ca. 9 % > 75 % 400 kcal
Bullwhip ca. 9 % ca. 85 % 430 kcal
PLATINUM snacks 9,9 % 24 % 322 kcal
PLATINUM dry food 14 - 16 % 23 - 27 % 360 kcal

Calorie requirements change over the course of the dog’s life

Increasing age is usually accompanied by a reduced calorie requirement. The dog does not move as much as it used to, and the activity level is sometimes additionally restricted by diseases. The metabolism of older animals also slows down. Therefore, keep a close eye on your four-legged friend as he gets older and adjust the feeding amount if necessary. Especially in the case of diseases such as arthrosis, it is important that your dog maintains its ideal weight and does not have to carry too many kilos around.

In contrast, female dogs, for example, have an increased energy requirement during the gestation period, but especially also during the suckling period. It is essential to adjust calorie intake during this phase to avoid weight loss.

Dogs that are carrying a little too much weight do not immediately need a diet food. Weight management here can usually be done easily via the amount of food. This is because, in addition to the pure content, the quality and thus the optimal usability of the proteins is also decisive for dog food. These dogs can therefore continue to be fed PLATINUM without hesitation.

However, if your four-legged friend is overweight for a long time, for example, and adjusting the amount of food is not enough, it may make sense to resort to a special diet in consultation with the vet. For these dogs, too, there is now an offer in proven PLATINUM quality.

For animals with special requirements – veterinary products from PLATINUM VETACTIVE

The veterinary line of our subsidiary PLATINUM VETACTIVE expands the existing PLATINUM range with products for animals with therapeutic needs. The products developed in cooperation with veterinarians are of course based on the proven PLATINUM philosophy and our PLATINUM quality standards. The PLATINUM VETACTIVE portfolio, which will continue to grow in the future, already ranges from special food and nutritional supplements to care and disinfection.

As these are therapeutic products for animals with special requirements and these animals are usually cared for by their veterinarian, you can obtain PLATINUM VETACTIVE products either from cooperating veterinary practices or via the website by naming your veterinarian.

The PLATINUM VETACTIVE Service Team is available for detailed and individual advice on its own free service number 0800. 8 38 36 63. 


LiveZilla Live Chat Software