Each point on the 5-point scale represents an increase or decrease depending on direction of 20 to 30 percent in body fat above or below ideal (i.e., 1=very thin and 5=obese). The BCS chart is a helpful tool to increase awareness of pet guardians that their pet may be seriously underweight or overweight. Many serious health conditions can develop as a result of unmanaged weight; we strongly advise a veterinary exam and discussing with your veterinarian an appropriate weight management program tailored to your pet’s needs. Weight management in cats and dogs must be done carefully. If weight reduction is too rapid, conditions such as hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) or diabetes may occur, in which aggressive medical treatment is necessary.
The following BCS chart is only intended to be a guide. If you suspect your pet does not fall into the “ideal” range, make an appointment with your veterinarian for an exam, evaluation and assessment for a potential weight management protocol.
Click to enlarge (PDF).
Image courtesy Hill’s Pet Nutrition®. Additional text courtesy of CatHelp-Online.com
*Tail base evaluation primarily used in dogs.