Recommended Calorie Intake for Dog Weight Loss

When it comes to dog weight loss, calorie restriction should be your number one priority. Once dietary adjustments are made, gradual increases in exercise and activity levels can come into play.
In order to calculate your dog’s calorie needs, you will need to calculate a healthy target weight for your dog. If you do not know how much your dog should weigh, please use our BCS slider tool.

Using the table below, look up your dog’s healthy target weight to determine your dog’s starting daily calorie intake. For example, if your dog’s healthy target weight is 60 lb,  your dog’s total daily allowance will be  835 calories.

Healthy Target Weight (Pounds) Daily Calorie Intake (kcal) VS  Healthy Target Weight (Kilograms) Daily Calorie Intake (kcal)
10 218 5 234
20 366 10 394
30 497 15 533
40 616 20 662
50 729 25 783
60 835 30 897
70 938 35 1007
80 1036 40 1113
90 1132 45 1216
100 1225 50 1316
110 1316 55 1413

NB. These figures are for guidance only. Dogs are individuals and so the calorie intake for dog weight loss will vary between dogs. Dogs should be fed according to their healthy target weight, not their current weight.

So what is calorie content?

To successfully diet your dog is it essential that you know the calorie content of the foods they are fed. The calorie content (or energy content) of dog food is typically expressed as:

Kilocalories/Kilogram Metabolizable Energy which is abbreviated as ME (kcal/kg)

For commercial pet foods, the statement of calorie content is often located in small print on the back or sides of packaging and is expressed as ME (kcal/kg) = X; where X will be a number, such as 3500. You may also see the calorie content listed as number of kcal per 100 g or number of kcal per cup or per can, depending on whether the food is dry or canned.

The calorie content of a food (kcal/kg) is the key piece of information from which we are able to calculate suitable meal portions for our dogs.

Successful dog weight loss depends on us knowing the calorie content of everything we feed our dogs. All food must be accounted for including treats, tidbits and home cooked foods. View our household food calorie tables or alternatively use this food search tool to determine the calorie counts of everyday household foods you feed your dog.

When comparing human and pet food calorie listings, a 1 kcal listing on dog food is the equivalent of 1 calorie listing for human food. For example 1 large apple contains 120 calories. So feeding an apple would account for 120kcals out of your dog’s daily calorie allowance.

NB. Some pet foods fail to list the ME (kcal/kg) calorie content on packaging in which case this information can be sourced direct from the manufacturer.