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Our veterinary nutritionist who led the development of the nine-point Purina Body Condition System will tell you how to evaluate your dog’s body condition. Ideal body condition should be the goal. This tool will help you be successful.

Dogs maintained in a lean, or ideal, body condition are less likely to develop weight-related conditions that can be painful and possibly life-shortening. A dog’s health and well-being throughout life are impacted by body condition.

“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 appropriate weight, which contributes 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

It is easier to keep a dog in a lean body condition than to help one lose weight. After all, it can take months for most dogs to transition from obese to a healthy, ideal condition.

Once you know your dog's body condition score, find a food that can help achieve and maintain ideal body condition.