By Sunday, January 22, 2017 5 No tags Permalink

Body Condition Scores (or BCS) is a wonderful way to monitor your dogs body weight…


Harley is now a senior doodle, my plan is to help him keep his doodleish youthful figure…


To aid me with that plan, I use BCS as my measuring tool in between regular vet visits.


It is estimated that 24% to 44% of all dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, as are 50% of dogs between the ages of 5 and 10 years. Dogs that are 10% to 20% above ideal body weight are considered overweight. Obesity occurs when dogs are > 20% above ideal body weight, It is the most common nutritional disorder detected in dogs. Source: Clinicians Brief

Frightening statistics? Yes, but your dog doesn’t have to become one of them. BCS is a good way to visually evaluate your dog’s body composition using a numerical scale.

There are two commonly used scales. I chose the one that rates from 1-9.

  • 1 to 3indicates a very thin dog
  • 4 to 5is ideal
  • 6 to 9is considered overweight

To access a dogs body condition score, you need to perform a visual examination from the side and from above.


Here’s a chart I found easy to read and very helpful…


I also found an article – that “made it plain” on what to look for and feel to get the correct BCS (check out the last paragraph).


Being “obsessed” with what they eat, along with as much exercise as I can handle #exhausteddoodlemom

There’s a chapter in The Honest Kitchen’s “Dog Obsessed” book where Lucy talks about overweight dogs. She offers four fixes for fat dogs –

  • Cut down on treatsI am a huge advocate for praise, hugs and wrestling as a reward for positive reinforcement. When they are “treated” I make sure it is as healthy as the food they receive at meal time.
  • RationingFor me – using THK dehydrated food makes measuring fail-proof. 
  • Beware of the too-big bowl I can’t speak to this one. I’ve never been drawn to matching the quantity of food to the size of the bowl. 
  • Work it outExercise has always been a huge part of our regiment. Nothing stops us from getting our walks. Doodle Dad and I both are committed to daily adventures with plenty of fresh air, and a couple of balls.


Do you think your dog is overweight?  Don’t panic. Give your dog the visual BCS exam.  Keep in mind there can be “exceptions” in scoring based on –

  • the breed
  • hair types
  • percentage of lean muscle mass on some breeds (i.e. Greyhounds)
  • body fat for difference breeds (i.e. Huskies, Rottweillers)
  • age

Still unsure? See your vet. Ask him/her to help you determine if your dogs weight needs adjusting. Together you can determine a course of action (a change in diet and increased exercise) to reach the dogs ideal weight.


A healthy “balanced” nutritious meal plan is a great start. Both Harley and Jaxson consistently maintain the ideal score of 5.

I am still A-mazed after 5 years that Harley’s weight while eating The Honest Kitchen food remains between 51-54 lbs. #Iwishitwereme …


Over the years, I’ve learned how to “treat” with fresh fruits and veggies, and now I’m confident enough to “cook” healthy treats also.

Stop back by later this week when I make Beef, Pumpkin and Quinoa burgers for the Boys.

Remember – Monday’s are for fresh starts ❤️

Signature DISCLAIMERI am not a veterinarian nor a scientist. I’m a pet parent always interested in understanding more about my dogs.

Groovy Goldendoodles™ is in a partnership with The Honest Kitchen®. GGD is being compensated for helping spread the word about The Honest Kitchen®, but Groovy Goldendoodles™ will only share information about a product we feel is relevant to our readers. The Honest Kitchen® is not responsible for the content of this article. I look to Harley and Jaxson for tail wagging approval.

  • Emma
    January 23, 2017

    We are also very into being fit. We eat a good diet, enjoy our treats, mainly healthy ones, but exercise is also a key part of our health and weight strategy and we do it every day! It’s great you are keeping the boys in great shape too!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 23, 2017

      I know! Emma it’s blogs like yours and so many others that have taught me to search for the very best when it comes to nutrition and health for my Boys. Can’t wait to meet you at BP2017!

  • Kimberly Gauthier
    January 23, 2017

    This is what’s happening in my house. Scout is the only dog that is perfect. Rodrigo needs to gain weight and the girls need to lose. It hasn’t been fun trying to figure out what everyone needs, however, I think I’m on the right path.

    Thanks for the graph, it’s a perfect reminder of what I’m doing and why I need to stick to the plan.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 24, 2017

      The chart works well for me. Happy to know it will help you too. Keep me informed about the girls. They’re so sweet looking – I wish we lived closer!

  • Jan K
    January 27, 2017

    We are hyper aware of our dogs’ weight, always have been. I know keeping them at a healthy weight is just as important as it is for us humans.
    I like that chart, I’ve always used something like that to judge (it was tougher with Sheba and all that long fur!).
    I get so used to keeping an eye on them, I quickly notice if anyone is starting to gain. We keep Luke very lean because of his knee issues. He and Cricket were eating more when we were trying so hard to get Sheba to eat, so I think that’s why recently he looks a little heavier. So we’ve cut back on everything accordingly.
    We’ll adjust again when we start doing more training too!