Puppy Food: Energy and Meal Amounts
Use this guide to calculate puppies' daily energy (calorie) requirement and meal amounts. Puppy energy needs are different from those of adult dogs. Puppies need more energy for growth and development. They need to be fed the optimal amount of calories and nutritional needs so they grow into healthy adult dogs.
Basics of dog energy requirement
A puppy requires daily energy for (1) Internal body functions essential for survival like digestion and breathing, and (2) External functions like exercise, play, etc.
The sum of the above two energy needs is called Daily Energy Requirements (DER) for a puppy.
This energy in a puppy’s diet comes from three nutrients: fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Energy is expressed in either kilocalories (kcal) or kilojoules (kJ): 1 kcal equals 4.184 kJ.
You must calculate the daily calorie requirements for your puppy and ensure the proper nutrition is given as part of a complete and balanced diet.
Calculate daily energy requirements for puppies
Puppies' energy requirements change with age, breed type, and activity levels. The National Research Council (NRC), after curating data from multiple research papers, provides a single formula for puppies' daily energy requirements. This formula considers the adjustments needed for different growth phases and breed types.
Daily Energy Requirement (DER) = Maintenance amount x 3.2 x [e(0.87p)  0.1]
= 130 x BWa ^ (0.75) x 3.2 x [e(0.87p)  0.1]
Where:
P = BWa/BWm
BWa = actual body weight at the time of evaluation (kg)
BWm = expected mature body weight (kg)
e = base of natural log ~ 2.718
For example:
Labrador puppy is 16 weeks of age, has 17 kg actual body weight, and is expected to reach mature weight of 35 kg.
So, DER (kcal) = 130 x 17^ (0.75) x 3.2 x [e(0.87 x 17/35)  0.1]
= 1,934 kcal
The above calculations can be overwhelming, and many pet parents are unaware of their puppies' expected mature body weight.
So use the below formula to calculate your puppy’s daily energy requirement.
Daily Energy Requirement (DER) = 130 x BW ^ (0.75) x Puppy Multiplier
Where BW = current body weight of the puppy
Puppy multiplier = Find the number from the below section
Calculate the puppy energy multiplier
Decide on your puppy breed size to calculate the puppy energy multiplier for the above formula.
Extra Small Breed  Small Breed  Medium Breed 
07 lbs OR 03.15 kgs  720 lbs OR 3.15  9 kgs  2045 lbs OR 9  20.3 kgs 
Breed examples:
 Breed examples:
 Breed examples:

Large Breed  Giant Breed 
1590 lbs OR 20.3  40.5 kgs  90+ lbs OR 40.5+ kgs 
Breed examples:
 Breed examples:

Extrasmall and small breed dogs generally achieve their full growth by around 810 months of age. On the other hand, medium and large breeds may grow until 1214 months, and giant breeds up to 18 months of age.
For more details on growth phases in different breed sizes, visit our Puppy Growth Charts and Puppy Weight Calculator.
Find the puppy multiplier in the following table based on the breed size. The table assumes the median growth rate.
Puppy Energy Multiplier Table:
Age in months  Extra Small Breed  Small Breed  Medium Breed  Large Breed  Giant Breed 
1  2.4  2.6  2.7  2.6  2.7 
2  2.0  2.4  2.4  2.3  2.5 
3  1.8  2.3  2.3  2.1  2.3 
4  1.5  2.1  2.0  1.9  2.1 
5  1.4  1.8  1.8  1.7  1.9 
6  1.2  1.6  1.6  1.5  1.7 
7  1.1  1.5  1.5  1.4  1.6 
8  1.1  1.3  1.3  1.3  1.5 
9  1.0  1.3  1.2  1.3  1.5 
10  1.0  1.2  1.2  1.2  1.4 
11  1.0  1.2  1.1  1.2  1.3 
12  1.0  1.1  1.1  1.1  1.2 
13  1.0  1.0  1.0  1.1  1.2 
14  1.0  1.0  1.0  1.0  1.1 
15  1.0  1.0  1.0  1.0  1.0 
For example:
In our previous example, we considered a labrador puppy of 16 weeks old (almost four months) and a current weight of 17 kg.
So, DER (kcal) = 130 x 17 ^ (0.75) x 1.9
= 2,068 kcal
Calorie adjustments for low to mediumactivity puppies
The RER factor in the above calculation of 130 is generally used for active puppies. It will do well for working puppies under training or highly active puppies. However, the final calorie amount can be reduced by 10 to 20% for low to mediumactivity puppies.
For example:
Let us assume that our Labrador puppy is low to mediumactivity. Therefore, it is advised to reduce the 2,068 daily energy requirement by 1020%.
Therefore, after activity adjustments, the lowactivity labrador pup discussed in the above examples should receive a daily calorie feed of 1,600  1,800 kcal.
Calculate daily meal amounts
For fresh raw and cooked home food, daily amounts can be calculated using the estimation method below:
Once the DER is calculated after activity adjustments, the puppy’s daily intake can be estimated. Divide the daily calorie requirement by 1000. Then multiply the result by 1920 ounces (538567 grams).
Calculations:
Calculate estimated daily Intake
DER / 1000 kcal Baseline = Conversion variable
Conversion variable * 20 oz weight baseline = daily food volume
Calculate estimated daily intake in metric units
DER / 1000 kcal baseline = Conversion Variable
Conversion Variable * 550 g weight baseline = daily food volume
Example:
Our labrador puppy requires 1600 kcal per day, which is equivalent to 32 oz or 880 gm of daily food.
Decide on the daily number of servings
Three to four servings per day for puppies under six months of age and two to three meals for puppies from six to twelve months.
Closing comments
Know the puppy energy multiplier as per the above chart and calculate the daily energy requirement (DER) using the formula: 130 x BW0.75 x Puppy Energy Multiplier
Adjust the daily calories by 10  20% for low to mediumactive puppies
Calculate the daily feeding amount and distribute it as per feeding frequency.
Acknowledgements:
(1) National Research Council