How to identify an overweight or obese dog
Last week I discussed the measurement of food going into our pet’s dish, and how as little as a few extra pieces of kibble can make a difference in our pet’s waistline.
How can we identify an overweight or obese dog?
- Can we tell if a pet is overweight just by looking at it?
- What about the number on the scales?
- Can you “feel” if your dog is overweight?
The simple answer to the above questions is yes.
Visual of your dog’s size and shape
Let’s start with looking at our dog’s shape, or maybe their lack of shape;) We need to view our dog from above and from the side.
Standing above your dog look down over their back, what do you see?
Is your dog one continuous shape from head to tail?
Does your dog have a waist?
Now view your dog from the side.
Does your dog’s belly hang down, or is it tucked up?
The Number on the Scale
Can we say that a dog should weigh x number of pounds? Of course there is an ideal weight range for each dog and dog breed. I’ll take the pug for example, according to the breed standard for a pug, their weight should range from 18-20 pounds. This was not always the case for my pug Edie, so when she stood on the scales and weighed in at 25,30, yes, even her highest at 31.68 pounds, there was no question that she was indeed obese and I had to face the facts that her weight had to be addressed.
Can you “feel” if your dog is overweight?
This is known as our dog’s (or cat’s) body condition score or BCS.
A pet’s BCS score is given a number, some use the BCS score from 1-5, were a score of 1 is considered severely underweight, a score of 3 is optimal, and a BCS score of 5 is considered obese. Others may use a BCS scale based on the 1-9 scale, once again, 1 being severely underweight, 5 being optimal weight and 9 being obese.
If you are unsure about the exact way to conduct a BCS on your dog, or want confirmation that the score you came up with is correct, be sure to ask your veterinarian for assistance. You can also view a BCS chart here from the Association of Pet Obesity.
Edie’s body condition score (BCS) based on the 1-9 scale, is a 5, which is optimal.
Has your vet ever done a BCS on your dog or cat? If so, what was the result?
If you conducted a body condition score on your dog or cat, what would their score be?