How Many Calories Should Dogs Have?

At The Estes Paw Company, we understand that keeping your dog healthy and active is a top priority. Whether it’s a daily walk, hike, or a camping adventure, having a clear understanding of your dog's dietary needs is essential. This guide will navigate through the ins and outs of dog nutrition, focusing on calorie intake and how our specially crafted treats, like lamb tripe and beef lung, can fit into a balanced diet.

General Calorie Information for Dogs

An active lifestyle requires the right fuel. For dogs, calories are that fuel, but the amount needed varies. Factors include age, size, and activity level. In general, an active, adult dog needs about 30 calories per pound of body weight daily. However, each dog is unique, so adjustments may be necessary. Consulting with a veterinarian can provide a tailored nutritional plan for your dog.

Calories in Feeding Kibbles

Kibble is a convenient option for many dog owners. When feeding your pup kibble, understanding the calorie content is important. Ensure you're feeding enough to meet their energy needs without overfeeding. For an active pup, incorporating treats like The Estes Paw Company's bison tripe can provide both a nutritional boost and a delightful treat.

Calories in Feeding Raw

The raw diet offers natural, unprocessed foods, but managing the calorie count is vital. High in proteins and low in carbs, raw diets can be calorie-dense. For those adding raw elements into their dog's diet, complementing meals with low-calorie treats, such as our lamb lung treats, can keep your dog’s diet balanced and interesting.

Calorie Content in Treats, Chews, and Bones

Treats are an excellent way to bond with your dog and reinforce positive behaviors. However, it's important  to account for these extra calories in their daily intake. Our treats, including beef heart and lamb tripe, are crafted with your dog's health and enjoyment in mind. Each treat is designed to be a healthy addition to your dog's diet, allowing for a few guilt-free snacks throughout the day.

Balancing Treat Intake with Kibble or Raw Diets

The key to a healthy diet is balance. Treats, can provide both nutrition and variety. However, they should not exceed 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. By choosing high-quality treats, you can ensure that every calorie contributes to your dog’s overall health.

Calculating Your Dog’s Daily Calorie Intake

Understanding the calories your dog needs helps keep them in great shape. Here’s a simple way to figure it out:

  1. Basics: Calculate the resting energy requirement (RER) by raising your dog's weight in kg to the power of ¾, then multiplying by 70. For a 10 kg dog, you start with 70 times 10 raised to the power of ¾, which is about 200 calories a day just for their basic needs.
  2. Activity Level: Adjust the RER based on how active your dog is. For a very active pup, you might multiply the RER by up to 2.5. So, if the base is 200 calories, an active dog might need around 1000 calories.
  3. Life Stage and Health: Remember, puppies and nursing dogs need more calories, while older or overweight dogs need less. A vet can offer the best advice here.
  4. Daily Diet: Apply this number to your dog’s diet, considering both meals and treats. Always read pet food labels for caloric information.
  5. Adjusting: Keep an eye on your dog's weight and adjust their diet as needed to ensure they're healthy and happy.

Let's Look At An Example:

To start, convert the dog's weight to kilograms because the formula uses metric units. A pound is about 0.453592 kilograms. So, a 40-pound dog weighs about 18.1 kilograms when converted.

  1. Find the Resting Energy Requirement (RER): The formula for calculating RER is 70 multiplied by the dog’s body weight in kilograms to the power of three-quarters. For an 18.1 kg dog, we first raise 18.1 to the power of three-quarters, which gives us approximately 12.15. We then multiply that by 70, resulting in about 851 calories per day. This is the amount of energy the dog needs for basic metabolic functions at rest.
  2. Adjust for Activity Level: Because this is an active dog, we multiply the RER by 1.8 to account for their increased energy needs. So, 851 calories multiplied by 1.8 equals approximately 1532 calories. This is the total number of calories the dog needs each day to support their metabolism and their activity.

Diet Breakdown

With the total daily calorie requirement figured out at about 1532 calories, let’s see how that translates into kibble and treats.

Kibble Diet:

If the chosen kibble provides 200 calories per cup, to figure out how much kibble the dog needs per day, you would divide the total daily calorie requirement by the calories per cup of kibble. Dividing 1532 calories by 200 calories per cup gives us approximately 3.8 cups of kibble per day. To leave room for treats, we might round this down to about 3.5 cups of kibble per day.


Treats should make up no more than 10% of the dog's total daily calorie intake. Ten percent of 1532 calories is about 153 calories. If each treat has about 30 calories, you can give the dog about five treats per day without exceeding the 10% limit.

Example Daily Feeding Schedule:

  • Morning Feed: Give 1.75 cups of kibble.
  • Midday: Hand out 2 to 3 treats, ideal for use as rewards.
  • Evening Feed: Give another 1.75 cups of kibble.
  • Throughout the Day: The remaining treats (up to 2 or 3) can be used as occasional snacks or for training rewards.

Adjustments and Observation

Monitoring the dog's weight and adjusting their food intake is crucial. If the dog starts gaining too much weight, you might need to reduce their calorie intake. On the other hand, if the dog is losing weight or seems under-energized, an increase in calorie intake might be necessary.

Note that the calorie counts used here, for both kibble and treats, are based on common values and are used for example purposes. It's important to check the calorie content of the specific pet food and treats you are using. Also, consulting a veterinarian will help tailor this diet to your dog's specific needs and ensure they get the right nutrition.

This approach provides a clear plan for feeding an active, 40-pound dog on a kibble diet, allowing for both nutritious meals and enjoyable treats while keeping their overall health and energy levels in check.


Understanding "how many calories should my dog have?" is pivotal for keeping your pup healthy, active, and ready for outdoor adventures. We believe that every dog deserves a diet that fuels their adventures while keeping them healthy and happy. By understanding and managing your dog's calorie intake, including high-quality treats and a balanced diet, your active pup will be ready for whatever adventures lie ahead.

Explore our range of treats to find the perfect complement to your dog’s diet. Here is a special offer below ⬇️

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