How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need To Burn 197 Calories?

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exercisingdogToday we continue our series on the exercise needed to burn off small portions of commercially available dog foods. The series was inspired by the Washington Post report of the Journal of Public Health study which suggests that people are more likely to make smarter food choices if they are made aware of the exercise needed to burn off those extra calories.


This week, we will use the Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Beef recipe and translate a one-half cup into an exercise duration. Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Beef is a dry recipe that has 394 kcals (calories) per 8 ounce cup. (Note- even if you don’t use this food, you can make similar inferences from other food servings that contain a similar calorie density).


How Long do I have to Walk my Dog to Burn those Calories?

For our analysis, we will assume a normally healthy adult dog with no special conditions. We will look at the impact of serving this dog an extra one quarter of a cup of food per week, which translates to just over one half of a tablespoon per day.

Pet Information

Pet Age: Adult

Pet Weight (lbs): 15

Activity: Walking at a slow pace of 2.5 miles per hour


   Activity   Kcals per 1/4 cup Total Minutes of Activity to Burn Kcals Total Minutes of Activity if Overfed for a Full Year Annual Weight Gain if Overfed for a Full Year  % Weight Gain per Year
Walking 2.5 MPH 99 275.8 14,339 1.5 9.76%


As shown in the Table, you would need to walk a 15 lb. dog for almost 276 minutes to burn 99 kcals, the number of kcals in 1/4 cup of Blue Buffalo Freedom Grain Free Beef dog food. That is near 4.5 hours of walking so you better have good walking shoes.


A Small Amount of Overfeeding Adds Up

The cumulative impact of overfeeding by only ¼ cup per week on this dog is also significant. Remember that ¼ cup per week is the equivalent of about ½ of a tablespoon per day. Doesn’t seem like much does it?


If this dog was overfed by ¼ cup per week, just ½ of a tablespoon each day, then over the course of an entire year, the dog would have to walk a total of over 14,339 minutes (or just over 238 hours) to burn those calories off. And if they didn’t, this dog would gain over 1.5 lbs, or 10% of their bodyweight.


Seems like the numbers add up to a simple conclusion. Measuring and feeding your pet appropriate portions is a smart strategy that will keep them healthy.

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  1. This is such an awesome post! It really puts over feeding into perspective and I shared it on FB!

  2. Holy cow, that is a lot of walking, but on the other hand, for such a small dog 1/2 a cup is a huge amount of overfeeding. Humans can’t use their eyes and judgement, they need to measure and go with what is the correct amount. It may not look like enough food sometimes, but we are smaller creatures.
    Emma recently posted…A Multi Purpose WalkMy Profile

  3. That is just amazing, it is great that you put it in perspective like this. A lot of our clients pets are on Blue Buffalo because it is grain free and people are drawn to that but they don’t realize how much calories the food has and they over feed. It’s ok to feed that food but they need to measure and not feed as much as they think. Or just exercise the pet more.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Thursday Barks And Bytes~A Little Of This And ThatMy Profile

  4. wow! So easy to overfeed!
    Thanks for the info!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
    Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady recently posted…Loving Life With #SomaPetMy Profile

  5. This series you’re doing is great! It really illustrates just how easily the calories add up. Thanks for sharing!
    Beth recently posted…Daylight Savings Time, Bandages, and the Plague–oh my!My Profile

  6. Hi Y’all!

    Unfortunately for my tummy, my Human measures my food. She’s cut me back more because the weather here in the mountains has not been conducive to hiking and my Human Papa still keeps paying with lots of treats.

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog
    Hawk aka BrownDog recently posted…Retrievers Retrieve!My Profile

  7. 92 hours sounds like a bit more swimming than even the most enthusiastic pup would go for!

  8. Interesting. With Roxy being so small a little weight gain on her is noticeable. She always gets fed the same, but some days we walk more than others. I walk at a 4 MPH pace which she mostly keeps up with. With a small senior dog, it’s a balancing act to keep her at the right weight.
    Mary recently posted…Cuteness on a FridayMy Profile

  9. When I fed kibble I always followed the recommended dosage based on the package and yet my dogs were still overweight.

    How would a person determine the correct about of food for their dog?

    Btw, is a great article!
    Jodi recently posted…Follow-Up Friday – November 7, 2014My Profile

  10. Great article. With greedy Kilo, it is a constant struggle not to over feed him as he is always hungry and he enjoys his food or treats so passionately. His behavioural therapy and training are progressing because he is so food motivated. Luckily he has not put on too much weight at all yet and he is very fit. I love your tips and widget as they help me keep a close eye on the risks and benefits and adjust accordingly.

  11. Wow, it’s amazing how much difference such a small amount can make. I honestly don’t know how we ever figured it out before we started measuring and doing the math!
    Jan K recently posted…Clicker Training – A Positive Experience (Part 1)My Profile

  12. It’s hard to tell weight gain with long-haired dogs too which doesn’t help matters when you’re overfeeding. I can usually guess if Mr. N has gained or lost a few ounces though because he gets picked up often enough so I can feel the difference. I think it’s like those people who can measure out a pound of flour or whatever by eyeballing because they’ve done it so much.

  13. One of the misconceptions I had about feeding raw was that our dogs would lose weight. It still has calories (yep, knocking the side of my head now). Sydney is now on a reduced calorie diet and I take her for solo walks that the other dogs crash most of the time, but she loves her pack and I love the practice. She’s trimming down again.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…The Pros and Cons of Raw Feeding for DogsMy Profile

  14. Wow, that’s 11.5 miles of walking per week!
    KB recently posted…A Rocky Mountain SunsetMy Profile

  15. I find most recommended amounts on the dog food bags are too much. Rocco gets about 5 kibbles (ok, maybe a bit more) but I do think most folks fill up the bowl. Yikes!
    Diane recently posted…Meetup with Old Pals and New at #BarkWorld!My Profile

  16. I am constantly watching Chester and Gretel’s weight and adjusting their food accordingly. It’s amazing how quickly an extra spoonful for a couple of months can put weight on a 10 lb dog. Luckily, it’s easy for them to drop the weight if I give them a little less and go on an extra couple of walks.
    Jessica recently posted…Clean Teeth Without The Struggle – TropiClean Clean Teeth Gel #SmoochUrPoochMy Profile

  17. We measure with measuring cups. We try to keep a handle on the dogs’ weights.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…The End Of Waterfowl SeasonMy Profile

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