Thursday, December 13, 2012

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Fat

Is your dog fat? Obesity in dogs is a serious problem that many dog parents aren't aware of. Some owners remain in denial that their pup has a weight issue. There are so many overweight dogs out there today that to many people this appearance just seems normal. So how can you tell if your dog is fat?

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
The ideal body weight score is a 4 or 5. A dog whose body weight and condition is ideal will have ribs that are easily felt with just a slight amount of fat covering them. When the dog is viewed from above, they will have an "hourglass" appearance or a waist that goes inwards after the ribcage. Their belly does not hang down when they are standing.

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.

21 comments:

  1. Phew, mom says I'm probably 4 or 4.5 :)
    Cotton

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  2. OH man, don't put ideas in Mommies head, she will have me on a diet. The Vet said I am very fit though, so I think that is good.

    Loveys Sasha

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    1. You look like you have a lovely figure Miss Sasha!

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  3. We agree with Sasha, don't go giving the peeps ideas. Ha ha I am lucky as I chase squirrels so I can eat anything after all that running. Have a terrific Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. Another good reason why Santa should bring you some squirrels. Maybe he should take up squirrel chasing too!

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  4. Our Bailey was overweight, but I wouldn't call him fat. Anyway, the vet put him on a diet and he went from 134 lbs to 110 lbs. He's still a big dog, but much more lean and happy. Meet Bailey at http://www.FamilyDogTips.com

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    1. That's great that he was able to lose so much weight!

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  5. Yikes, Ray might be flirting on that line between 5 and 6. When he was having his stitches removed, the vet mentioned that its getting harder to feel his ribs. While Ray's tagline at home has been "Ribs are overrated" and we cut back on the food, we might need to exercise a bit more...

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    1. Ray does look like he's right on the line. No offense Ray! I still think you're adorable! ;)

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    2. None taken, I'm sure! lol, he's used to being called a little pink piggy!

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  6. My friends dog is as fat as a pig.( excuse the pun ) He cannot run or hardly walk. They think over feeding is showing him love..Get real. Mollie is the right weight, I don't stuff her with treats and I stand out in the freezing cold for an hour, running the pants off her..lol xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

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  7. Sorry, I seemed a meanie there but they are cutting this dogs life down, he has a full English breakfast every morning. I'm going now, before I bore the pants off everyone..lol xx

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    1. I don't think it's mean lol. There are a lot of people who feed their dog all kinds of food and then don't believe us when we tell them their dog is fat. It can be very difficult to persuade them sometimes. And Molly looks like she has a perfect figure!

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  8. Grammie thinks Lee is too thin, so she is on an increase of food! Too much humping I think!

    Given that 50% of the population is over weight it isn't a surprise the dogs are!

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  9. Fred and Gloria are probably around a 5 but Freddie could loose some weight to help his hips. :)

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  10. Chart is great and mum says I'm starting to look more 6 that 5...So we are going to start working on me getting back to my trim beagle body!
    Maggie

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  11. That's a great chart! I'd say Sage is easily a 4, which is perfect for the agility and running she loves to do.

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  12. Mummy was worried that I was fat, till I was shaved BOL.

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  13. I have a lot of fur so it's really hard to see my condition. But like Misaki, when I was shaved (a few years back, because we had a cat with ringworm), you could see my svelte figure. Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrs.

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  14. If your dog is looking fatty or lazy then don’t worry just put him on a perfect diet and then the result will surely positive. Great information about dog’s obesity has given here.

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