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.
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.