A dog's weight is measured on a scale of 1-9 or 1-5. For the purposes of this article, we'll stick with the 1-9 body condition scoring system. A score of 1 is extremely thin, while a score of 9 is obese. This chart is commonly seen in veterinary hospitals and I remember referring to it many times.
|Body Condition Score Chart for Dogs by Nestle Purina|
A dog with a score of 1 is probably very sickly and considered to be emaciated. They have no body fat and obvious loss of muscle mass. A dog with a body condition score between 1 and 3 is considered too thin and has characteristics such as protuding ribs and vertebrae, and a very narrow waistline.
Dogs whose body condition score is between 6 and 9 are considered to be overweight. Their ribcage may be difficult to feel through their fat layers. These dogs have little to no waist. They may even have a pooch hanging down when they stand up.
A dog that scores a 9 on the body condition scoring system is characterized by extreme fat deposits all over the body. Their belly obviously hangs down when they stand. Basically, this is the point you never want your dog to get to.
|Photo: Jeremy Vandel|
So what's the big deal? A little extra padding never hurt anyone, right? Wrong. Overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from a number of health problems. These problems include arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing difficulty, and decreased overall quality of life. Keep your dog fit and healthy. You could even increase your friend's length of life.