Reducing the risk and severity of joint problems
Just as little as 6-8% body weight reduction has a direct influence on reducing lameness in dogs with osteoarthritis. Weight loss in overweight cats and dogs is now seen as one of the most important factors in helping pets with OA to decrease pain and improve joint mobility.
The first step to better weight management to evaluate your pets body condition. In human healthcare, they often refer to the Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a calculation to estimate body fat based on the human’s height and weight. There are also other measurements including skin fold thickness and scanners to estimate body fat percentage.
But dogs come in many different breeds and sizes, so instead, we use Body Condition Score (BCS) charts which are based on feeling (palpation) the fat level over the ribs and a visual assessment. It is scored from 1 to 9 on a scale of 9. Where 1/9 is extremely thin, 5/9 is ideal, 7/9 is overweight and scores of 8/9 or 9/9 are considered obese. There are various charts available for small, medium, large and giant breeds.