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The Purina® Body Condition System is a nine-point system that evaluates a dog’s body condition. It can tell you if your dog is at an ideal body condition, and is a good resource if you suspect your dog may too heavy or overweight– even before he steps on the scale.

Is My Dog Overweight?

Dogs maintained in a lean, or ideal, body condition are less likely to develop weight-related conditions. And because a dog’s health and well-being throughout life are impacted by body condition, it’s important to learn how to tell if your dog is overweight, so you can address the issue as quickly as possible. But you can’t always tell if your dog is overweight just by looking at him, you can assess his body condition with the Body Condition Score.

“Monitoring a dog’s body condition should consist of visual and hands-on evaluations,” says Dr. Dorothy P. Laflamme, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist who led the development of the nine-point Purina Body Condition System.

“A body condition score is an assessment of the proportion of fat and lean tissue or muscle. Regularly observing a dog’s body condition will help you assess whether your dog is getting the right amount of food to maintain an ideal body condition, which can contribute to overall health.”

Dogs with an ideal body condition score of 4 or 5 have:

  • An obvious waist behind the ribs when viewed from above
  • A tuck in the belly when viewed from the side
  • Ribs that are easily felt but not seen

Dogs with a body condition score of 6 or higher have:

  • A less obvious, or indiscernible waist
  • No tuck in the belly when viewed from the side
  • Ribs not easily felt

If you think your dog may be too heavy, you can use the SIMPLY FIT™ body condition score tool to get an idea of your dog’s baseline body condition. And of course, it’s a good idea to get a veterinarian’s evaluation if you suspect your dog is overweight.