Body Condition Score for Dogs
To measure Body Condition using this 9 point scale, you will need to examine your dog's body for fat deposits and bony landmarks.
You'll need to do these three checks:
Rib Check: Place both of your thumbs on your dog's backbone and spread both hands across his rib cage. You want to be able to feel his ribs. Actually feeling your dog is important, as the coat of many dogs will make a visual check difficult.
Profile Check: Examine your dog's profile. It is best if you are level with the dog. Look for the abdomen to be tucked up behind the rib cage.
Overhead Check: Looking at your dog from overhead, see if you can see a waist behind the ribs. Most dogs at a healthy weight should have an hourglass figure.
BCS of 1 to 3 is Too Thin
BCS 1: Emaciated. Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance. No discernible body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.
BCS 2: Very Thin. Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominence. Minimal loss of muscle mass.
BCS 3: Underweight. 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.
BCS 4: Ideal, slim. Ribs easily palpable, with minimal fat covering. Waist easily noted, viewed from above. Abdominal tuck evident.
BCS 5: Ideal. Ribs palpable without excess fat covering. Waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed from side.
BCS 6: Overweight. Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering. Waist is discernible viewed from above but is not prominent. Abdominal tuck apparent.
BCS 7: Heavy. 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.
BCS 8: Obese. 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 distension may be present.
BCS 9: Grossly Obese. Massive fat deposits over thorax, spine and base of tail. Waist and abdominal tuck absent. Fat deposits on neck and limbs. Obvious abdominal distention.
This Body Condition System was developed and tested at the Purina Pet Care Center. Purina and Nestle are the owners of all trademarked information on this body condition scoring system and are the sources of both the text definitions of body condition and the corresponding images. We acknowledge and thank Purina and Nestle for creating and sharing this valuable tool.