How much to feed your dog? (1/3)

This month we're going to start the 3-part mini-course "how much to feed your dog". As you probably know a lot of dogs, and people, are overweight and so it's better to take preventive measures and to not overfeed your dog.

We're going to play with numbers a lot these three lessons but the outcome is well worth it. And we'll take it step by step, so don't be afraid.

Determine how much energy your dog needs

#1 Weigh your dog

lbs to kg

The SI base unit for mass is the kilogram.

1 lbs = 0.45359237 kg.

1 kg = 2.20462262185 lbs.

Determine your dog's current weight at the vet's (as they usually have large scales) and write it down.

When you have his weight in lbs, then first convert this to kilograms: multiply your number by 0.45359237 or use this online converter.

#2 Compare your dog's current weight to his ideal weight and score his body shape

Your dog's ideal weight will be breed and gender dependent, so I cannot give you a number for this. Ask your dog's breeder or the vet. For reference purposes I'll list a few dog breeds and their average body weight in kg.

Fat dog picture by Jeremy Vandel This dog cleary is too fat
  • Chihuahua - 2 kg
  • Fox terrier - 7 kg
  • Cocker spaniel - 12 kg
  • Airdale terrier - 20 kg
  • Boxer - 30 kg
  • Rottweiler - 45 kg
  • Sint Bernard - 85 kg

Purina has created a handy list to score your dog's body shape. You can use this to determine whether he's overweight.

#3 Calculate your dog's metabolic weight

The body weight in kg^0.75 is his metabolic weight (you'll be needing a calculator for this). I'm taking my dog as an example: his body weight is 30 kg (66 lbs), so his metabolic weight is 30^0.75 = 12.8 kg (28 lbs).

#4 Calculate the Basic Metabolic Rate

Take your dog's metabolic weight, which you calculated in the previous step, and multiply this with 275 to get to his BMR (Basic Metabolic Rate).

#5 Calculate the maintenance energy requirement

Multiply the BMR with 2 to get to his maintenance energy requirements.

Akita Kensho purple This doggy needs 1692 kCal a day

In Kensho's case: my dog's body weight is 30 kg (66 lbs), then his metabolic weight is 12.8 kg (28 lbs). His maintenance energy requirement is 12.8 × 275 × 2 = 7051 kJ per day (1692 kCal).

The maintenance level generally equals twice the Basic Metabolic Rate. Of course this is lower for inactive dogs or dogs that need to loose weight and higher for active dogs.

The outcome of your calculation is just a rough measure. Dogs differ in metabolic state and energy conservation characteristics. One breed is more efficient at producting energy and converting it to muscle power than others. So… take the result as a guideline only.

“When your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise.”
- unknown -

Part two

Next we'll calculate the energetic value of dog food to get another piece of the puzzle.

“A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.”
- O.A. Battista -

All the best and paws up,
Barbara and Kensho

Continue reading about dog food

NEXT: Calculate the energetic value of your brand of dog food

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Photo credits:
Fat dog - Jeremy Vandel