What is a Body Condition Score for Cats and Dogs?

By Species, By Topic, Care & Wellness, Cats, Dogs

When veterinarians examine your pet, they use a scale called the Body Condition system to evaluate the animal’s overall weight in comparison to its body structure. You will often see a BCS or Body Condition Score written with your pet’s physical exam. It is a system that has a Scoring Chart from 1 to 9.

The System rates the Body Score as 1, 2 or 3, being too Thin. Scores of 4, 5 and 6 are in the “Ideal” range for most pets, and 7-9 are pets that are too Heavy!

There are often pictures that are correlated to the Score number so that you can “see” the Score of your pet.

If your pet is too thin (Score 1-3), typically there is no palpable fat on your pet’s body, the ribs are easily visible or palpable and it has a very obvious taper around its waist. In the Ideal Range (4-6), the ribs will still be palpable but with a minimal fat covering. When looking at your pet from above, there should still be an easily observed, but not dramatic, waist behind the ribs.

The last category, (Scores 7-9) is where far too many pets end up. These animals are overweight. As pets age and their metabolism slows, and if the same amount calories are still being fed, the weight increases but more significantly the Body Score increases, This is NOT healthy for any pet but worse for our seniors. Added risks of kidney, liver and heart disease, as well as the development of osteoarthritis in older pets, make the maintenance of a healthy Body Score even more important.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic can help get your pet back to its ideal Body Score. Call 540-943-7577 to make an appointment.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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