Body Condition Scoring - What is right for your pet?

One of the biggest challenges many owners face when talking about the weight of their pet, is working out what is the 'right' weight for your pet is. There is so much variation based on breeds and even lines and types within those breeds. So instead of focusing on an ideal 'weight' we aim for your pet to have a body condition score of 4 to 5 which you can see in the charts below. This is particularly important for animals that are predisposed to arthritis and young pups to keep them healthy and comfortable throughout life.

Although there are calorie charts and recommendations for food consumption with each type of food, this is at best a guess at the requirements of your pet.  Your pet's age, natural activity level, breed and feeding schedule all change your pets ideal calorie intake. Its also important to remember to count treats as part of their daily intake, and adjust formal meals accordingly.

Dogs and cats at the correct body condition score will have minimal fat over their ribs and if short coated the last 1-2 ribs are visible. Below are charts with pictures to help you work out what your pets body condition score is, designed by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association. Use these as a guide to know whether where you pet is at and adjust their meals accordingly.

Dr Jaime Jackson