For Dogs

Balancing Your Dog’s Calories

Chow time! It’s probably your dog’s favorite time of day, right?
With so many tasty options available, achieving a healthy balance of nutritious food and yummy treats can be tricky. How much is too much? How often should you feed your dog? What’s the right mix?
Of course, canine nutritional needs vary based on breed size (from toy breed to large breed), life stage (growing puppies, young adults, lactating mothers and older dogs) and energy output (from sedentary to highly active). All dogs require energy and a blend of nutrients, such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and water. Inactive adult dogs need fewer calories, while active adults need more fuel.

How Many Calories?

Here’s a handy chart showing approximately how many calories the average adult dog needs per day based on weight and activity:

Dog Body Weight
10 pounds 30 pounds 50 pounds 70 pounds 90 pounds
Calories Per Day (kcal Metabolizable Energy)
Activity Level I:
Less than 1 hour/day
walking on lead
296 674 989 1,272 1,540
Activity Level II:
1 hour to 2 hours/day
playing off lead
342 781 1,145 1,474 1,779
Activity Level III:
3 hours to 4 hours/day
intense training
389 887 1,301 1,675 2,022
Activity Level IV:
4+ hours/day
intense training
545 1,242 1,822 2,344 2,831

These are the energy needs based on ideal body condition for adult dogs of various weights. Individual dogs' energy requirements might differ, so it is important to adjust the amount fed to obtain or maintain your dog's optimum weight.

How Often to Feed?

Experts recommend feeding your adult dog twice daily. To calculate portions for an adult dog, divide the amount suggested on your dog food label into two meals, served eight to 12 hours apart. (You can see our Feeding Guidelines on all NUTRO® Dog Food product pages.)

Room for Treats?

Most of your dog’s calories should come from a nutritious, complete and balanced dog food, such as NUTRO® Dog Food. It’s perfectly fine to give occasional treats, particularly if they offer an additional health benefit, such as NUTRO® Tartar Control Adult Biscuits Chicken & Whole Brown Rice Recipe. However, treats should not exceed more than 10% of a dog’s daily caloric intake, and you should always adjust the amount of your dog’s main meal to account for the calories provided from treats.

Dry or Canned?

The choice of whether to feed dry formulas, canned dog food or some combination of the two depends on your dog’s preferences and needs. Dry food packs the most nutrients per bite, and it can be left in the feeding dish all day without spoiling. Canned food also provides complete and balanced nutrition, plus dogs enjoy the meaty texture and flavor. You also can explore mixed feeding.

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