Whilst we are highly aware of the growing epidemic of human obesity, did you know that obesity in pets is a similarly alarming problem? In fact, nearly 60% of dogs and cats in the US are either overweight or obese. While a chubby puppy might be cute, overweight and obese pets can face a range of health problems; these include joint disease, respiratory disease, diabetes, cancers, and heart problems and ultimately shorter lifespans and low quality of life.
Factors such as breed build and fur type means it’s not always easy to tell if your pet is overweight. So what can you do to determine if your dog has a weight issue and what can you do about it?
How to tell if your dog is overweight or obese It can be difficult to tell if your dog is overweight by just looking at them. Giving them a quick check over at home is a good way to see if there could be a weight problem and the easiest way to do this is with a Body Condition Score (BCS).
The Body Condition Score This is a hands on assessment of your dog’s physical condition. It considers how easily you can feel your dog’s ribs and shoulder bones, if you can feel your dog’s spine and hip bones but not see them, if you can see your dog’s last rib, if your dog has an hourglass figure, and if your dog has a defined waist when you view them from the side. From this, you can then assign a score of 1 through 9 to your dog as follows:
1 – 3: Underweight → Ribs, spine and hip bones easily visible, little fat, very obvious waist
4 – 5: Ideal Weight → Ribs, spine and hip bones not visible but can feel easily, well proportioned, can see a waist line 6 – 9: Overweight to Obese → Ribs, spine and hip bones not easily visible or felt, diminished waist or can’t see waist at all, excess of fat deposits on waist, face and limbs