Energy Factor Calculator + Nutrient Calculator for Adult Dogs
NRC Nutrient Amounts per 1,000 kcal of ME
Requirements Relative to Metabolizable Energy (ME)
The formulas used for this calculator are the NRC (2006) Daily Metabolizable Energy Requirements for Adult Dogs at Maintenance. *You can learn about the method in the caloric feeding guide here.
You will need to know your dog’s weight in kilograms to use the calorie calculator, so you can use the lbs. to kg converter below to find your dog’s weight in kilograms.
Once you have determined your adult dog’s daily kcal needs / MER you can find out your adult dog’s maintenance nutrient needs, by visiting the nutrient calculator.
Calculating Energy Needs for Adult Dogs is Done via Metabolizable Energy (ME) per kcals.
Average & Above Average Energy Requirements
Average energy requirement dogs are described by the NRC as dogs who are kept in a domestic environment with strong stimulus and ample opportunity to exercise, such as dogs in a house with a large yard or in multiple dog households.
Above Average Energy, Dogs are described as working or athletic dogs, and dogs of certain breeds.
Energy Requirements Descriptions & Energy Factor (EF) Examples for average and above-average requirements:
Fairly active smaller-medium sized pet dog: 105
Moderately active medium size pet dog: 110
More active medium size pet or more active obedience training dog: 120
Well Muscled Younger to Early Middle-Age • Active Pet and/or Large Breed: 130
Well Muscled Young Adults • Working Adult Dogs and/or Large Breed: 140
*As described above, active pet dogs are defined by the NRC as dogs kept in a domestic environment with strong stimulus and opportunity to exercise.
*Some working dogs and small breeds such as small terriers commonly use an energy factor of 140. Other working dogs use upwards of 180.
Active working dogs and or some extra large breed (such as Mastiff): 160
Highly Active Pet/Working Adult Border Collies: 175
Terriers: Kennel Dogs, and Active Pet Dogs Both: 180
*Many working dogs and canine athletes use an energy factor of 180.
Great Danes, kennel dogs, and active pet dogs both: 200
Below Average Requirements
Below average requirement dogs are described by the NRC as dogs kept in a domestic environment with little stimulus and opportunity to exercise.
Examples of Unusually Low Energy Intake:
Dogs kept in a domestic environment with little stimulus and opportunity to exercise and where the kcal factor is 95 or less.
Giant breeds where the kcal factor is 105 or less.
Below Average Energy Requirements Descriptions & Energy Factor Examples:
Older Kennel Dogs or Older Active Pet Dogs or Newfoundlands: 105
Inactive pet dog or senior dog: 95 and 90
*As described above, inactive pet dogs are defined by the NRC as dogs kept in a domestic environment with little stimulus and opportunity to exercise.
Obese or geriatric dog: 85
*There is a note stating that the requirements of older or overweight dogs may be overestimated when using BW. In those instances, calculating via ME is more appropriate. This is one of the many examples of why using BW doesn’t fit the average/typical dog.
NRC Nutrient Amounts per 1,000 kcal of ME
The NRC guidelines calculate nutrient needs for dogs per 1,000 kcal of ME as the general rule and nutrient needs calculated via BW as the exception.
Therapeutic Nutrition Note: Calculating with BW is also often used in part with some therapeutic diets that primarily utilize supplements and/or medications; generally in conjunction with ME, with BW directly applied to very specific nutrients that call for it.
A Note About Commercial Formulations: All commercial dog food formulations should be done via ME per 1,000 kcals. NRC, FEDIAF, and AAFCO standards are all formulated per ME on a 1,000 kcal basis.
Please note that some nutrients have information next to them regarding safe upper limits (SUL).
Please note, it is recommended to feed above the RA for vitamin E as the dietary requirement is dependent on the rate of free radical production, PUFA composition of membranes in the diet, and the presence of other protective nutrients (e.g., Selenium).
It is recommended to feed typical adult dogs 123.5 IU per 1,000 kcals.
If the NRC has recommendations beyond the RA in regards to a nutrient then that information is noted. Examples: Arginine and Tyrosine.
This calculator requires you enter your dog’s daily caloric needs which is also known as their maintenance energy requirements (MER).
If you need help converting the measurements (IU, mg, mcg) for the fat-soluble vitamins, you can find that math here:
It is important to note that this calculator is not appropriate for use in pregnant or lactating females, or for puppies.
First calculate your dog’s daily MER (calories) and then enter that number into the nutrient needs per ME calculator.
*This calculator does not account for spay/neuter status. I am updating it currently to provide that caloric reduction option.