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How to assess your cat or dog’s weight using body condition scoring

Eve Bestwick

Is your cat or dog overweight? It’s not always easy to tell by simply looking at them. The first thing to establish is how to correctly identify your pet’s body condition as this can then determine whether they need to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain their weight.

Although the number on the weighing scales is important, it can be very difficult to use this alone as a guide for pets’ weight as each animal is different including their breed, age, and conformation. Therefore, most veterinary practices will use the body condition score chart as a generic guide for assessing your pet’s weight.

The body condition score system seen below is commonly used, however, there are various different charts that provide similar information. The main premise of body condition scoring is that, whether it be a cat or a dog, your pet should have a score of 4 or 5 to be deemed an “ideal” weight. This can be described as:

“Ribs (easily) palpable with minimal fat covering. Waist clearly visible when viewed from above. Abdominal tuck evident – particularly when viewed from the side.”

Below are Royal Canin’s Body Condition Scoring Charts for Cats and medium-sized Dogs. You can find more body condition scoring charts for x-small, small, large, and giant breed dogs on their website.


Learn how to assess if your cat is overweight with the body condition score
Learn how to assess if your medium dog is overweight with the body condition score


If you feel your pet is not an ideal weight, please seek veterinary advice as they can provide individual guidance and information for your pet.

Contact us by email for pet weight advice.

Read the next blog post in this series on Pet Weight & Health:

How extra weight affects your pet’s mobility


Other blog posts in this series:


Eve bestwick is a fully qualified pet physiotherapist in Bromsgrove


The Author: Eve Bestwick is a fully qualified pet physiotherapist at our Pet Fitness & Rehabilitation Centre in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Eve enjoys working with a variety of animals and has a special interest in canine arthritis and rehabilitation.




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