A way to measure the body condition of a dog. A dog’s body condition score is evaluated by observing and sometimes touching his body, and then comparing him to examples in five categories, labeled 1-5.
- Emaciated: Many bones visible from a distance. No visible body fat and an obvious lack of muscle mass.
- Thin: Ribs, pelvis and spine can be easily felt. The tops of the lumbar vetebrae will be visible, as will a waist with an obvious abdominal tuck from both the side angle and the top view.
- Moderate: The ribs will be easily felt. Abdominal tuck able to be seen from the side. No excess fat.
- Stout: Ribs can be felt, but not easily. Noticeable fat deposits over the back and base of the tail. Abdominal tuck may be absent.
- Obese: Large amount of fat deposits over most of the body, including the neck and limbs. No waist or abdominal tuck; stomach may appear distended.
Healthy dogs can range between 2 and 4, depending on the breed and level of activity. 1 and 5 are both cause for concern, as they can lead to medical complications.
University of Ohio Veterinary Medical Center website.