1416_FBP45289 (75282) PLoS One - Bermingham et al 141014.pdf (593.02 kB)

Energy Requirements of Adult Dogs: a Meta-Analysis

Download (593.02 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 18:03 authored by Emma Bermingham, David Thomas, Nick Cave, Penelope Morris, Richard Butterwick, Alexander German
A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the maintenance energy requirements of adult dogs. Suitable publications were first identified, and then used to generate relationships amongst energy requirements, husbandry, activity level, methodology, sex, neuter status, dog size, and age in healthy adult dogs. Allometric equations for maintenance energy requirements were determined using log-log linear regression. So that the resulting equations could readily be compared with equations reported by the National Research Council, maintenance energy requirements in the current study were determined in kcal/kg0.75 body weight (BW). Ultimately, the data of 70 treatment groups from 29 publications were used, and mean (± standard deviation) maintenance energy requirements were 142.8±55.3 kcal.kgBW−−1. The corresponding allometric equation was 81.5 kcal.kgBW−−1 (adjusted R2 = 0.64; 70 treatment groups). Type of husbandry had a significant effect on maintenance energy requirements (P<0.001): requirements were greatest in racing dogs, followed by working dogs and hunting dogs, whilst the energy requirements of pet dogs and kennel dogs were least. Maintenance energy requirements were less in neutered compared with sexually intact dogs (P<0.001), but there was no effect of sex. Further, reported activity level tended to effect the maintenance energy requirement of the dog (P = 0.09). This review suggests that estimating maintenance energy requirements based on BW alone may not be accurate, but that predictions that factor in husbandry, neuter status and, possibly, activity level might be superior. Additionally, more information on the nutrient requirements of older dogs, and those at the extremes of body size (i.e. giant and toy breeds) is needed.


Rights statement

© 2014 Bermingham et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


  • English

Does this contain Māori information or data?

  • No



Journal title





Bermingham, E.N., Thomas, D.G., Cave, N.J., Morris, P.J., Butterwick, R.F., & German, A.J. (2014) Energy Requirements of Adult Dogs: a Meta-Analysis. PLoS ONE 9(10): e109681. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109681

Report number

FBP 45289

Usage metrics


    Ref. manager