Maintaining healthy body weight is not only crucial to human health, but it is the same with dogs. Overseeing the amount your Frenchie consumes day by day will help to avoid becoming overweight and prevent many health issues, like high blood pressure, problems with insulin, and of course, it will lengthen your baby’s life. So how many calories does an adult French Bulldog need per day, and what should those calories consist of? Keep reading, and you will learn everything!
Is dog calorie the same as human calorie?
Dog calories are counted the same way as human calories. To put it simply, calories are the amount of energy any dog needs to take each day to maintain a healthy body weight.
Calories consist of six macronutrients, no matter which species we are talking about: water, proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. These essential nutrients are required as part of the dog’s regular diet, and are involved in all of the basic functions of the body. Therefore, it is really important to find the right nutrient balance for your dog’s overall health and well-being.
A well-balanced dog diet must include the appropriate amount of macronutrients. The necessary amounts of these components may vary somewhat with the dog’s stage of life, which means a puppy has different needs than a senior or pregnant dog.
Although historically dogs belong to the group of carnivores, being side by side with humans they became omnivores too: their tooth structure and intestinal tract adapted to eat both meat and plants. That means, we need to provide them a well-balanced diet of plant and animal food. Dogs use proteins and fats as their primary energy sources, and we should keep that in mind! Sugars will do no good to us humans nor our little furry babies.
How many calories does an adult French Bulldog need?
The golden rule is that each adult dog needs 25-30 calories per pound of body weight (or ca. 60 cal/kg). But this is only a general assumption, and we can be more specific than that! How old is your dog? Is your dog active all day or more like a couch potato? Older and less active dogs need 30% less amount of energy than young and energetic pets.
Being neutered also impacts the amount of required food. A neutered dog’s body goes through a hormonal change, and they will become lazier than the fertile peers. In this case, decrease your Frenchie’s food amount by 30%!
Let’s take a look at two examples! Let’s say, you own a beautiful 3-years-old, medium active but already neutered Frenchie girl weighing 17 pounds (8kg)! According to her weight, this lady needs 425-510 calories on an average day. We know she has been neutered, as most TomKings Frenchies are, but due to her age, she is still playful. Therefore, no deduction of the general amount is needed.
Now let’s take a look at an older peer! Your beautiful lady has a 10-year old companion (also neutered) who mostly likes to chill all day, and due to her age, she is getting a bit chubby, weighing 22 pounds (10 kg). 22 pounds * 25 calories = 550, but we need to deduct 30% due to her age, fertility, and activity. It means, if you feed her 385 calories per day, she would maintain her current shape. But if she needs to loose some pounds, please talk to your vet first, who will tell you exactly how to decrease the calorie intake of your angel.
Providing too much food just because to show your affection towards your four-legged partner will do absolutely no good. That will lead to obesity, and obese dogs develop an increased risk for many types of cancer, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and hypertension. It causes osteoarthritis and faster degeneration of affected joints, urinary bladder stones, or even anesthetic complications as they are less heat tolerant. So keep one thing in mind: your true love is if you track and provide only the necessary amount of food!
If your Frenchie is already a bit chubby, the very first step is to recognize and acknowledge that there is a problem. Unfortunately, we are flooded with images of dogs by the media that are consistently too heavy, and this makes it challenging to understand what normal looks like. Your veterinarian and veterinary health care team can assist with an assessment.
How to track dog calories?
So how do you know how much food you should provide to your dog? Always check the label of the dog food. In some countries, it shows how many calories does 100g of food contains, but in other cases, you will see the calorie amount of one portion. As portion sizes may vary, your dog might need less or more than the indicated amount. In this case, you need to calculate the calories for the portion size your Frenchie needs.
The easiest way to track the daily calorie intake is if you use the MyFitnessPal mobile application and create a profile for your dog. Although this application is for humans, it perfectly works with dogs too. You can scan the barcode of the food label or enter the data manually. Now all you need is a digital kitchen scale! Easy-peasy: measure the food, enter the amount in the app, and it will save all the macronutrients per meal. It also works if your dog is on a BARF diet! What’s a BARF diet? Read our blog post here!