HOW MANY CALORIES DOES MY PET NEED?
How many calories a pet needs per day varies a lot depending on exercise and metabolism, but we can give you averages. When calculating how much food your pet needs to eat you should use the goal weight, the weight your pet should be.
An 8 lb. cat would need about 180 calories per day. A 10 lb. cat needs 200, 12 lb. needs 230, 14 lb. needs 260 and a 16 lb. cat would need roughly 280 calories per day.
Good over-the-counter (OTC) cat foods for weight management typically contain about 300 calories per cup. An average cat would need somewhere between ½ & 2/3 cup of Science Diet, Iams or Nutro indoor or weight management diet per day.
Hill’s feline R/D prescription weight loss diet has about 260 calories per cup, with more fiber and protein but a lot less fat than a regular cat food. A cat eating R/D could eat ¾ cup per day, so he or she would feel full and satisfied while still losing weight.
Some OTC cat foods contain more than 500 calories per cup. Evo, for example, has 530 calories per cup! A 10 lb. cat would only need 1/3 of a cup per day of food, which looks awfully puny in the bowl. This is why cats eating these “natural,” “low carb” or “grain free” diets are so prone to obesity. Even Evo’s “weight management” diet has 481 calories per cup.
So how about dogs? Small dogs have similar calorie requirements as cats, with a 10 lb. dog needing about 218 calories per day. A 20 lb. dog needs about 366 calories, a 40 lb. dog 616, a 60 lb. dog 835 and 100 lb. giant dogs need about 1225 calories each day. There tends to be more variability in exercise and metabolism for dogs. An active hunting dog may burn off a couple thousand calories a day and a sled dog running the Iditarod can burn 3000 calories a day. As with cat foods, there are also big variations in calories per cup in dog foods.
In order to avoid nutritional deficiencies or imbalances, no more than 10% of your pet’s intake should be treats or snacks. So for a 60 lb. dog, that’s only1-2 medium dog biscuits. A 10 lb. dog should only get 1 small biscuit a day – but could have 6 or 7 baby carrots. There are some tiny treats with only 4-6 calories each but you need to read labels carefully to find them. Check treat labels for sodium content as well, many pet snacks are loaded with salt.
If your pet is eating a prescription diet for a medical problem, such as bladder stones, kidney disease or diabetes, you will need to be very cautious with treats. You can throw off the entire effect of the prescription diet by feeding other foods along with it.
Please visit our website, www.bestfriendsvet.com, to view the link for a more detailed list of other dog treats, and our handouts on How to Read a Pet Food Label and a detailed Nutrition Primer for Discerning Pet Owners. You can view videos on nutrition on our YouTube channel, BFVCTV.
Calorie Content of Popular Dog Treats
(Calories (kcal) per treat)
Original 10 calories
Puppy Biscuits 10 calories
Small Biscuits 20 calories
Medium Biscuits 40 calories
Large Biscuits 115 calories
Extra Large Biscuits 225 calories
Small/Med 35 calories
Large 80 calories
Small/Med 20 calories
Large 80 calories
Liver Snaps 13 calories
Beggin’ Strips 30 calories
Large 600 calories
Small/Med 309 calories
Large 618 calories
Small/Med 309 calories
Cheweez Chew Strips 60 calories
Cheweez Chew Rolls w/Meaty Middles
Large 211 calories
Small 171 calories
TBonz Sizzlin Steak 42 calories
Beef & Rice 33 calories
Lamb & Rice 30 calories
Large Breed Biscuits
Chicken & Rice 84 calories
Healthy Weight Biscuits
Turkey & Rice 26 calories
Adult Biscuits Beef & Rice 35 calories
Lg. Breed Biscuits Ch. & Rice 87 calories
Sr. Biscuits Turkey & Barley 34 calories
Small 28 calories
Regular 49 calories
Small 105 calories
Medium 188 calories
Large 300 calories
Small 49 calories
Regular 70 calories
Small/Med 270 calories
Regular 560 calories
MarrowBone 39 calories
Small Bones 27 calories
Medium Bones 60 calories
Large Bones 93 calories
PupPeroni 24 calories
Snausages 25 calories
Jerky Treats 21 calories
Did you know that there are only 3 calories in a baby carrot?
Did you know that there are only 30 calories in a half cup of green beans?