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How to Determine Daily Caloric Intake For Cats and Dogs

Summer Shape-Up, Part 2: Be Your Pet's Calorie Counter

The Summer heat can be especially tough on overweight pets, whose extra bulges are already putting them at risk for heart problems. So I'm breaking down steps to fight furry flab and ensure that our pets stay fit and fabulous throughout these tongue-lolling months! Earlier this week, we looked at how to figure out the ideal weight for your puss or pooch, but that's just the beginning. The next step is determining the number of calories your pet needs to consume each day, and for that we'll need to go back to school for some light math. As with any weight-loss plan (human or pet), consult your veterinarian before making any major changes to your pet's diet. Ready to continue the Summer shape-up? Then just keep reading.

Calculating Resting Energy Requirements

First up is understanding your pet's resting energy requirements (RER), which is the basic amount of energy your pet would use in a day if at rest. If your pet is overweight, then you'll want to use his ideal weight (provided by his vet) as the starting point and translate that into kilograms:

Ideal weight in kilograms (kg) = ideal weight in pounds (lb) ÷ 2.2

So for a dog whose ideal weight is 40 pounds, his ideal weight in kilograms would be 40 ÷ 2.2, or 18.2 kg. Now, let's use this formula to calculate the RER:

RER (in kcal/day) = (30 x ideal weight in kg) + 70

Therefore, for the same dog, his resting energy requirements would be (30 x 18.2) + 70, or about 615 kcal/day.

Daily Caloric Intake For Dogs

For a dog that's on a weight-loss plan, 100 percent of the RER should be your guide for how many calories he should consume each day.

Ideal Weight (lbs) Daily Caloric Intake (kcal/day) Ideal Weight (lbs) Daily Caloric Intake (kcal/day)
5 140 55 820
10 210 60 890
15 270 65 950
20 340 70 1,020
25 410 75 1,090
30 480 80 1,160
35 550 85 1,230
40 615 90 1,300
45 680 95 1,365
50 750 100 1,430

Daily Caloric Intake For Cats

For cats, you'll want to reduce the RER by 20 percent, so for a cat whose ideal weight is 10 pounds, her RER would be 165.

Cat's Ideal Weight (lbs) Daily Caloric Intake (kcal/day)
5 115
10 165
15 220
20 275

Keep in mind that these daily caloric amounts account for food and treats, so take both into consideration when portioning out meals and doling out rewards. And always, always, always consult a veterinarian before embarking on any weight-loss efforts with your pet.

Image Source: Shutterstock
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