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Calorie Requirements for Your Pet


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,, 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

Gravy Bones

Small/Med    35 calories

Large              80 calories

Flavor Snacks

Small/Med    20 calories

Large              80 calories



Liver Snaps                13 calories



Beggin’ Strips                        30 calories

BusyBone DentalBone

Large              600 calories

Small/Med    309 calories

BusyBone ChewBone

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


Purina One©

Adult Biscuits

Beef & Rice   33 calories

Lamb & Rice                         30 calories

Large Breed Biscuits

Chicken & Rice 84 calories

Healthy Weight Biscuits

Turkey & Rice 26 calories


Purina ProPlan©

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


Meaty Bones©

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?