The body condition (BC) is an index that evaluates the amount of fat that our dog or cat has.
There are different scales for such evaluation, created by different institutions and organizations (therefore there is no internationally accepted scale). According to AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association), ideally, they should be at a 2.5-3 (on the 5-point scale) and a 4-5 (on the 9-point scale).
But to simplify things, we will tell you that for your dog or cat to be in proper body condition they should:
- Have a thin look up to the waist, instead of a flabby and saggy abdomen, seen from the side.
- Have a well-defined waist (like an hourglass), seen from above.
- When feeling the animal pressuring lightly with your fingers, you should notice, under the fat layer, the ribs, the lumbar vertebrae and the bones of the hip and the scapula ( shoulder blade) and be able to appreciate a gradual narrowing of the body at waist level.
At Dingonatura we reiterate the importance of periodically checking their body condition, because overweight and obesity are very frequent problems that, in the long run, may lead to complications.
It is not unusual that, even though the dog has an adequate body condition, their owner perceives they are slim. On the contrary, it is also normal that the owner believes their dog to be in their ideal weight even though the animal is overweight. That is the reason why we insist in becoming educated in this sense, because we are the first people who can detect possible changes and the only ones that can help them.
Take advantage of the playing and petting moments with your pet to check their condition and be vigilant to the alterations that may appear. If you believe your dog has gained weight, assess the possibility of:
- Reduce the amount of daily food
- Change to a less caloric food
- Increase their physical activity with more games and walks
- Visit the veterinarian for a more thorough weight control (and rule out other problems that may also cause weight gain)