How heavy should my dog be - dog body condition score
It's important to know what a healthy body weight looks like for your dog from a young age. It's easy to check at home while you are petting your dog, and using a body condition score will help you identify early warning signs of weight gain or loss. This can make it easier for you to act in partnership with your veterinarian and help your dog achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
How to use a body condition score
Assessing your dog's body condition score
Step 1 - LookUsing our body condition score below, check which body shape best matches your dog. When assessing a body condition score, look at your dog from above and from the side. Compare their body shape against those highlighted under each score, from 1 to 9, to see which best matches your dog's physical appearance.
Step 2 - FeelUsing your fingers, gently apply small amounts of pressure around your dog's ribs. If you can clearly feel their ribs without pressure this could indicate they are underweight. However, if you are struggling to feel their ribs without applying a significant amount of pressure this could be a sign of excess weight gain.
Step 3 - WeighCheck your dog's weight on an appropriate scale. This along with their body condition score will help you assess their weight and condition. Your veterinarian will be able to address your dog's nutritional needs based on their current and ideal body condition.
Dog body condition score 1 - 9
A dog body condition scale ranges from 1 to 9, with 1 indicating a dog is severely underweight, to 9 meaning severely obese. A dog is considered to have an ideal body condition if they score between 4 and 5. Assessing your dog's body condition score is easy to do and can be carried out when petting your dog.
Underweight dog - body condition score 1 - 3
Why is my dog underweight?
Weight gain isn't the only weight problem your dog may experience throughout their life. If your dog is underweight this can also pose a serious risk to their health and wellbeing, so it's good to know how you can help get them back to their ideal weight. Your veterinarian will be able to carry out a physical examination of your dog and recommend appropriate management options.
Ideal dog weight - body condition score 4 - 5
My dog is a healthy weight
It's great news if your dog is already an ideal and healthy weight, but you should still maintain healthy feeding habits. Make sure you continue to feed your dog the correct portion sizes, avoid giving them too many treats and ensure they receive daily exercise as recommended by your veterinarian. Keeping on top of these factors will help your dog's weight remain stable.
As your dog ages remember that feeding and exercise habits will need to be adapted. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian will provide opportunities to discuss changes to your dog's diet and how their activity levels should be altered.
Overweight dog - body condition score 6 - 9
Is my dog overweight?
If you think your dog might be overweight, don't panic. First, speak to your veterinarian and understand what next steps you should take. But remember, the most effective weight loss programs for dogs result from the commitment and effort of the pet owner. So, work with your veterinarian to create a weight loss plan for your dog and also ask them if Royal Canin's Satiety Support diets would be suitable for your dog.
Still unsure about your dog's ideal weight?
If you're unsure how to use a dog body condition score or need help interpreting your dog's score, speak to your veterinarian for advice. They will be able to assess if your dog is underweight, overweight or at an ideal weight and will advise the most suitable next steps. They may suggest additional exercise, a targeted weight management diet, reducing treats or a combination of measures.Find a veterinarian