The Body Condition Score chart, usually found hanging somewhere in the veterinary practice you visit with your dog, provides an overall view of the range of body types from very thin to obese. Veterinarians use this system—a scale from 1 – 9, with 1 being very underweight and 9 being very overweight—to help ensure that everyone who examines animals uses the same criteria to determine physical condition and assigns scores consistently.
 
The chart gives pet owners a starting point for discussing nutrition and wellness with their veterinarian who can explain the pet’s score and design an action plan.
 
“The first step toward reversing pet obesity is helping pet parents recognize how pets at a healthy weight should look. The Body Condition Score chart helps our veterinarians communicate that information,” said Dr. Laura Weis, co-owner of Doylestown Veterinary Hospital.
 

Body Condition Score Chart and Descriptions
What’s your pet’s score? Consult with your veterinarian to better understand your pet’s body condition and how professional nutritional counseling and exercise for your pet can help reach an ideal condition.
 

VERY THIN
RIBS: Easily felt
TAIL BASE: Bones are raised
SIDE VIEW: Severe abdominal tuck
OVERHEAD VIEW: Accentuated hourglass shape
UNDERWEIGHT
RIBS: Easily felt
TAIL BASE: Bones are raised with slight fat cover
SIDE VIEW: Abdominal tuck
OVERHEAD VIEW: Marked hourglass shape
IDEAL
RIBS: Easily felt with slight fat cover
TAIL BASE: Smooth contour with slight fat cover
SIDE VIEW: Abdominal tuck
OVERHEAD VIEW: Well-proportioned waist 
OVERWEIGHT
RIBS: Difficult to feel under moderate fat cover
TAIL BASE: Some thickening, bones palpable under moderate fat cover
SIDE VIEW: No abdominal tuck
OVERHEAD VIEW: Back is slightly broadened at waist
OBESE
RIBS: Difficult to feel under thick fat cover
TAIL BASE: Thickened and difficult to feel under thick fat cover
SIDE VIEW: No waist, fat hangs from abdomen
OVERHEAD VIEW: Back is markedly broadened