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Understanding Body Condition Scoring for Dogs

Body condition scoring is a way that vets, owners and animal care professionals can assess a dog’s health.Taking into account the dog’s weight and its body shape, it is a visual representation of your dog's physical condition. A body condition score quickly determines that a dog is healthy, and it is often required by pet insurers nowadays. It is important to keep a record of how body condition score changes over time as this can show you quickly if you dog is gaining , or losing weight and condition. A healthy body condition score is achieved by a balanced diet that has plenty of vitamins, and minerals that your dog needs for each stage of his/her life.

How is a body condition score achieved?

A body condition score will start by looking at and feeling the dog’s body. The ideal shape is seen as the centre of the body condition score chart. The vet will run their hands along the dog’s body to feel for shape (especially for the very furry ones!) and feel for the ribs. The ribs should not be visible but able to be felt. The coat should be shiny, and eyes should be bright. These are all features of a happy, healthy dog, no matter what the breed!

What are the scores?

There are two different scales used: 1-9 or 1-5. You should definitely ask your Vet to clarify which one he/she is using so you can let the pet insurance company know.

For the 1-9 scale, one is too thin while nine is obese. Ideally, your dog should be at a five.

For 1-5, one is too thin and five is obese. Three is perfect!







Why should my dog be assessed?

Having a body condition score makes it easy to note any changes. It gives Vets a starting point in finding any underlying circumstances that may be leading to ill health. Even if you are not doing it for insurance purposes, it is a good idea to have a body condition score record to keep track of whether they are starting to gain weight!. (remember there is nothing wrong with Barker & Barker treats as part of a balanced diet and exercise plan!) We have shown you the WSAVA chart, that the standard international reference for BCS. If you have any questions about your dog's weight, speak to your Vet or Veterinary nurse who will be more than happy to help.

Posted On: 07/08/2017

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