What is body condition score?
Body condition score (BCS) is an easy way to evaluate the amount of body fat and muscle mass in your pet dog! It is typically assessed using a numerical scale ranging from 1 to 9, with lower scores indicating an underweight or emaciated animal, and higher scores indicating an overweight or obese animal. A healthy BCS is around 4-5.
How is body condition score measured?
In most cases, BCS is determined by assessing the amount of fat deposited in certain areas of your dog’s body, such as the ribs and spine, as well as the overall muscle tone and appearance. To determine your pet’s BCS, have a feel of these three areas of your dog:
- Ribs - Run your hands over your dog’s ribs. You should be able to feel them easily without pressing too hard, but they should not be visible or protruding.
- Waist - Look at your dog from above. You should ideally be able to see their waist, and their body should taper slightly toward their backside.
- Tummy tuck - Look at your dog from the side. You should ideally be able to see an abdominal tuck behind your dog’s ribcage. The abdominal tuck should be visible but not overly prominent.
For more detailed information visit:
Why is body condition score important?
BCS is important as a a tool to monitor your dog’s health and nutritional status.
Obesity can lead to various problems in dogs, e.g.
- Increased risk of health problems: Obesity can increase a dog's risk of developing a range of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, respiratory problems, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.
- Reduced lifespan: Obesity can shorten a dog's lifespan, as it can lead to a range of health problems that can be life-threatening.
- Reduced mobility: Excess weight can put strain on a dog's joints and make it more difficult for them to move around comfortably. This can impact their overall mobility and quality of life.
- Reduced energy and stamina: Dogs that are overweight or obese may have less energy and stamina, which can impact their ability to exercise and play.
- Increased risk during surgery: Obese dogs are at a higher risk of complications during surgery, as excess weight can make it more difficult for the veterinarian to administer anesthesia and perform the surgery.
Similarly, malnutrition can also lead to various issues, e.g.
- Reduced immunity: Malnutrition can weaken a dog's immune system, making them more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
- Growth and developmental problems: Puppies that are malnourished may not grow and develop properly, which can lead to developmental problems and delays.
- Poor coat and skin condition: A diet that is deficient in essential nutrients can lead to a dull coat, dry skin, and other skin problems.
- Organ damage: Malnutrition can cause damage to a dog's internal organs, including the liver and kidneys, leading to long-term health problems.
As such, it is important to provide your dog with a balanced diet that includes all the essential nutrients they need to maintain good health (Puphaven kibbles!), as well as an appropriate amount of exercise daily. If you have concerns about your dog’s weight or suspect that he/she may be malnourished, please also speak to your vet for further advice!
Author: Dr. Ng