Time to read: 8 mins
Whilst it is always useful to know how much your pet weighs, it is not so easy to know what a good body weight for your pet is. We can use body condition scoring to help assess and achieve an ideal body weight for your pet.
By looking at the shape of your pet from the side and from above and by feeling areas such as the ribs, spine, and hip bones we can use a scoring system to see if they are underweight, overweight, or just right.
We use a score out of 9, aiming for an ideal score of 4-5, a score below this means your pet is underweight and a score above this means your pet is increasingly overweight leading to very obese at a score of 9.
- Score of 1. Pet is very thin and severely underweight. Ribs, spine, and hip bones all sticking out and easily seen from a distance, little muscle mass, waist very tucked up and in, looks very underweight.
- Score of 2. Pet is thin and underweight. Ribs, spine, and hip bones can be seen, no obvious body fat, some muscle mass but still looking thin and waist tucked up and in.
- Score of 3. Pet is a little on the thin side. Ribs, spine, and hip bones may be slightly visible but not as obvious but very easily felt, waist still tucked up and in.
- Score of 4. Perfect weight, nice and slim. Ribs, spine, and hip bones can be felt but are nicely covered, good muscle mass and a nice defined waist.
- Score of 5. Good weight, nice and trim. Ribs, spine, and hip bones can be felt without too much of a fat covering, good muscle mass and still a nice defined waist.
- Score of 6. Getting a little on the heavy side, would benefit from watching those calories. Ribs, spine, and hip bones can be felt with a more obvious fat covering, good muscle mass and waistline starting to lose some definition.
- Score of 7. Oops getting a bit overweight, may be time to consider a diet. Ribs, spine, and hip bones can be felt with difficulty, too much of a fat covering, waistline is lost and starting to see fat deposits in other areas such as back and tail base.
- Score of 8. Significantly overweight, oh dear things are getting a bit out of hand, time to get some help with the diet. Ribs, spine, and hip bones can no longer be felt, very heavy fat covering, no waistline and starting to look ‘potbellied’ fat deposits in other areas such as back and tail base.
- Score of 9. Pet is clinically obese and there is an increased risk to pets’ health. Unable to feel ribs etc, rounded abdomen and further fat deposits to neck, chest, and limbs.
If you think your pet is in category 1, 2, 8 or 9 then it is really important that you contact your vet as soon as possible.