Reports concerning maintenance energy requirements (MER) in dogs are common but most of the data cover laboratory or utility dogs. This study establishes those of healthy adult pet dogs and the factors which cause these energy requirements to vary. Within the framework of a nutrition teaching exercise, each student followed a pet from his entourage and gathered accurate records of its feeding habits. Data have been restricted to healthy adult dogs with an ideal body weight (BW) which did not vary more than 5 % during the study period. A total of 319 eligible records were analysed using multiple linear regression. Variation factors such as ownership, breed, sex and neutered status, bedding location, temperament and feeding habits were then analysed individually using a non-parametric model. Two models result from this study, one excluding age (r 2 0·813) and a more accurate one which takes into consideration the age in years (r 2 0·816). The second model was assessed with the main variation factors and shows that: MER (kcal) = k 1 × k 2 × k 3 × k 4 × k 5 × 128 × BW0·740 × age−0·050/d (r 2 0·836), with k 1 the effect of the breed, k 2 the effect of sex and neutered status, k 3 the effect of bedding location, k 4 the effect of temperament and k 5 the effect of the type of feed. The resulting model is very similar to the recommendations made by the National Research Council (2006) but a greater accuracy was obtained using age raised to a negative power, as demonstrated in human nutrition.
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