Energy requirements in dogs – basics

Metabolic weight (MW)– basic energy requirements of small and large animals of the same (and different too!) species differ. For example, small dogs need far more energy to be able to thermoregulate than larger dogs. MW is calculated as body weight in kg raised to the power of 0.75. For smaller dogs, MW is much closer to real weight than for larger dogs. E.g. for a 2kg dog, MW=1.7, whereas for a 20kg dog MW=9.5. The heavier the dog, the larger the difference between its actual and metabolic weights.

Weight & MW

Resting Energy Requirement (RER) – the absolute minimum energy required to sustain the basic bodily functions, like breathing, heart function or digestion. Calculated as MW*70.

Daily energy (caloric) requirements (kcal) – estimated energy requirement, given activity levels of a dog. This is a general estimate, as each dog may have a slightly different metabolic rates, and our activity level definitions may differ somewhat… For this conversion I have used the ratio’s from Ohio’s State Univeristy’s page.

Screen Shot 2018-10-14 at 16.01.21.png

  • BW – body weight in kg
  • MW – metabolic weight
  • RER – resting energy requirement (kcal)


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