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When checking your pet’s weight, your veterinarian will not only weigh your pet on a scale but also assess the appearance of your pet’s body condition. Body condition is usually evaluated on a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 being too thin, 9 being obese, and 5 representing the ideal weight. A similar body condition scoring system uses a 1-to-5 scale, with 1 being too thin, 3 being ideal, and 5 indicating obesity.
When your pet is the ideal weight, you should be able to feel (but not see) the ribs, with a minimal fat covering. When observing your pet from above, your pet’s waist should be visible behind the rib cage. In dogs, the abdomen should “tuck up” behind the ribcage when viewed from the side.
Visible ribs, spinal vertebrae, and hip bones are usually signs that the pet is too thin. When pets are overweight, it is difficult to feel the ribs, and the waist is not visible when viewed from above.
Unexplained weight changes in your pet may be the first sign of a health problem. Regular weight checks enable your veterinarian to investigate these problems early. Excessive weight gain by itself may lead to other health problems, including:
Regular weight checks can help you keep your pet at the ideal weight, which can help him or her have a longer, healthier life.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
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