Understanding Dog Body Condition

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Health and Nutrition

Understanding Your Dog's Body Condition

Because there are so many breeds, it might not be immediately apparent that your dog is under- or overweight. But using the guidelines here, a quick evaluation of your dog’s shape can tell you whether he’s at a healthy weight.

If you have any concerns, a veterinarian should examine your dog and set a proper diet plan for him.

Pet Obesity:
A Growing Problem.
52.5%
of dogs
=
36.7
million
dogs overweight
or obese
Source: 2012 Pet Obesity Study for the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
The Purina Body Condition System:
Too Thin
1
underweight top view underweight side view
1
underweight top view underweight side view
1
Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance. No discernible body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.
1
Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominence. Minimal loss of muscle mass.
1
Ribs easily palpated and may be visible with no palpable fat. Tops of lumbar vertebrae visible. Pelvic bones becoming prominent. Obvious waist and abdominal tuck.
Ideal
1
healthy weight top view healthy weight side view
1
Ribs easily palpable, with minimal fat covering. Waist easily noted, viewed from above. Abdominal tuck evident.
1
Ribs palpable without excess fat covering. Waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed from side.
Too Heavy
1
overweight top view overweight side view
1
overweight top view overweight side view
1
Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering. Waist is discernible viewed from above but is not prominent. Abdominal tuck apparent.
1
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 present.
1
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 distention may be present.
1
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 distention may be present.
Download the Dog Body Condition Chart
The BODY CONDITION SYSTEM was developed at the Nestlé Purina Pet Care Center and has been validated as documented in the following publications: Mawby D, Bartges JW, Moyers T, et. al. Comparison of body fat estimates by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and deuterium oxide dilution in client owned dogs. Compendium 2001; 23 (9A): 70 Laflamme DP. Development and Validation of a Body Condition Score System for Dogs. Canine Practice July/August 1997; 22:10-15 Kealy, et. al. Effects of Diet Restriction on Life Span and Age-Related Changes in Dogs. JAVMA 2002;
220:1315-1320
Learn more about our dog food ingredients and AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles.