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PURINA® Body Condition Tool

Many people are unaware that their dog might be a bit overweight and needs to shape up, or perhaps they don't think that a couple of extra pounds matters too much. But from a health point of view, size really does matter! So how do you know if your pet is in good condition? To check your dog's current body condition and ideal size, just follow these easy steps to a healthy pet. And then you can even print off a copy and stick it on your fridge for permanent reference. It's so easy!

Using the slider below, select the image that most closely matches that of your Dog. We'll then be able to tell you whether they're underweight, overweight - or just right!


How to tell if your dog is overweight

Created by experts in pet care, our Body Condition Tool is designed to help you determine if your pet is a healthy size. We try to avoid putting the emphasis on weight, as weight can be misleading. The tool encourages you to get hands on with your dog, feeling them to really judge their actual size without being distracted by the length of their coat! It also recommends looking at your dog from every angle to get an all round view before deciding if they are a healthy shape and size. Be patient and gentle – your dog may not be accustomed to being handled in this way, but will soon get used to it.

Click here to view a short video of Purina's resident vet Zara, demonstrate how to check your dog's body condition.

Why staying slim is so important

If your pet is overweight, the implications can be very serious. The actual effect of excess weight can result in reducing your dog’s life by up to two years*. It also means they are less able to enjoy themselves through pain-free exercise and play due to associated joint and health problems. Some specific concerns that can develop from and be exacerbated by weight problems include:

  • Arthritis, joint damage and joint pain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Reduced exercise endurance and stamina
  • Increased anaesthetic and surgical risks
  • Reduced liver function due to fatty liver

Ultimately you may end up visiting your vet more often and actually reducing your pet’s healthy lifespan

*Kealy RD.2002. JAVMA vol.220,p.1315-1320

Example of Body Condition Scoring

Not sure if you’re judging it correctly? Weight alone won’t tell you if your pet is in an ideal body condition - you will have to get hands on!

The ideal body condition is leaner. There is a dramatic misperception of healthy weight among pet owners. In a sample of 201 dogs pet owners deemed only 28% of dogs overweight, while experts judged 79% to be overweight. Each individual animal will require different food, a different feeding quantity and varying levels of exercise. Depending on body shape and size, two dogs could weigh the same but one could be overweight and one under. Here are some examples of pets that have been scored against the Body Condition Tool. You can see the variance here and that it’s not just about weight, it’s about the size and shape.

Age: 7
Food: Tinned
Lifestyle: He loves long runs through the woods. He’s still very bouncy when he wants to be, always up for a game.
Body Condition Score (owner): 6
Body Condition Score (vet): 7

Age: 2 1/2
Food: PRO PLAN Large Breed Adult Athletic
Lifestyle: He’s a family dog and leads an active lifestyle
Body Condition Score (owner): 4
Body Condition Score (vet): 4

Age: 9
Food: Bakers Senior
Lifestyle: He's extremely active, he loves swimming, playing with his friends and getting as much exercise as possible.
Body Condition Score (owner): 6
Body Condition Score (vet): 5

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