Your dog's body condition score (BCS) is a grading system used by veterinarians and pet nutritionists to gauge a dog's body size, similar to the human body mass index. It's a tool to help vets quantitatively determine the health of a dog's body weight.
A body conditioning score typically ranges from 1 - 5, 1 being very thin to 5 being obese. While there isn't a machine or equation to determine BCS, BCS is self identified by the dog owner or the vet. BCS is a key component of your pet's food portion calculator, so it is incredibly important to be honest about your pet, look and feel them at all angles to properly assess and select their BCS.
If your dog has a lot of fur or a dog that is naturally built skinny (greyhounds, etc), the visual BCS descriptions might not be the best way to assess your pet's BCS. Follow the descriptions and feel your dog's ribs to best assess their body condition score.
BCS 1 - Very Thin
Ribs and pelvis are visually prominent and easily felt with no padding.
BCS 2 - Underweight
Ribs and pelvis are visible and have very minimal padding.
BCS 3 - Ideal
Ribs easy to feel with modest padding. Visible waist form top view. Belly tucks up between ribs and hind legs when viewed from the side.
BCS 4 - Overweight
Difficult to feel ribs through fat cover. No waist when viewed from above. Belly appears rounded when viewed from the side. (No tuck between ribs and hind legs).
BCS 5 - Obese
Fat deposit over chest, back and tail/hindquarters. No waistline felt or visible from above. Chest might look or feel swollen, broad back