Body Condition Scoring

Body condition scoring is a technique which has been developed to assess the amount of fat your dog is carrying. It is easy to be performed at home in 3 easy steps without any scales or special equipment.

You need to look and to touch the ribs, the waist line and the tummy of your dog when he/she is in standing position.

First come along on behind and put your hands on the ribs. Run flat hands on the rib cage on both sides. You should feel the ribs easily without any pressure at all and they should be covered with minimal fat.

The second step is to look at the waist line from above. It should be shaped like an air glass. Then run your hands very gently from the rib cage all the way back through the hip bones. You should feel the obvious waist.

Finally, you need to look and to touch the tummy. Run your hands from the rib cage again from the side back up to the hip bones. You should feel an evident tummy tucked and the inguinal fat should be minimal. When viewed from the side there should be an obvious indent between your dog’s hind legs and tummy.

Body condition scoring is based on a scale running from 1 – 9. Score from 1 – 3 shows that your dog is underweight. Score from 4 – 5 is the ideal. Score from 6 – 9 shows that your dog is overweight. 

1 Emaciated – Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all body prominences evident from a distance. No discernible body fat. Obvious absence of muscle mass

2 Very thin – Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easy visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominence. Minimal loss of muscle mass

3 Thin – Ribs easily palpated and may be visible with no palpable fat. Tops of lumbar vertebrae visible. Pelvic bones less prominent. Obvious waist and abdominal tuck

4 Underweight – Ribs easily palpable, with minimal fat covering. Waist easily noted, viewed from above. Abdominal tuck evident

5 Ideal – Ribs palpable without excess fat covering. Waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed from side

6 Overweight – Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering. Waist is discernible viewed from above but is not prominent. Abdominal tuck apparent

7 Heavy – Ribs palpable with difficulty, heavy fat cover. Noticeable fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent or barely visible. Abdominal tuck may be absent

8 Obese – Ribs not palpable under very heavy fat cover or palpable only with significant pressure. Heavy fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent. No abdominal tuck. Obvious abdominal distension may be present

9 Grossly Obese – Massive fat deposits over thorax, spine and base of tail. Waist and abdominal tuck absent. Fat deposits on neck and limbs. Obvious abdominal distension.
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