How To Know Your Dog’s Body Condition Score?

BY | November 06 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY

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Just as how we have body mass index (BMI) to assess whether we are underweight, ideal weight, or overweight, canines have body condition score (BCS). It is common knowledge that factors which determine our overall health are body weight, body fat, and muscle mass. Although it is important to keep weighing your canine on a regular basis, it is also vital to know its body condition score.To know your canine’s body condition score, you just need to inspect your dog both visually and with your hands. The body condition score starts from one and ends at nine, which stand of very underweight and very overweight respectively. The ideal score for any canine is four or five, which is what you should be aiming for at all times.

How To Conduct The Body Condition Score? 

To know the body condition score of your canine, follow these steps:

Overhead Check 

First, you need to stand next to your canine in such a way that you can look down on it to assess its overall profile.

Profile Check 

Next, you need to look at your canine from different angles so that you can get a proper assessment of different profiles.

Rib Check 

Last but not the least, use your hands to feel its ribcage as you run them along the sides of your canine. Note down how the ribcage feels as you perform this procedure on your canine.

Ideal Body Condition Score 

When you run your hands along the sides of your canine, you should be able to feel the ribcage beneath a small layer of fat. When you are looking at your canine from the overhead view, the shape of its body should look like an hourglass.  You should be able to view its waist without any problems. When you look at your canine from different profiles, there should be an inward tuck in its abdomen, which is towards its pelvis.

Underweight Body Condition Score 

If you can easily feel the ribcage, then your canine may not have any muscle mass near that area. Also, if the pelvic bones and lumbar vertebrae are visible from all profiles, then your canine is underweight. Also, if the layer of fat is minimal and you can still see all the bones of your canine, then it is underweight.

Overweight Body Condition Score 

If you are finding it challenging to get a feel of your canine’s rib cage or if you have to apply pressure, there are chances it is overweight. To confirm, take a look at its overhead profile to get a better idea. If your canine’s waist is barely visible or absent, and there is a lack of abdominal tuck, then your canine is overweight.Use these simple steps to assess the body condition score of your canine at home. If you are finding it challenging, contact your vet for more information. If you have any questions regarding this topic, feel free to leave a comment below!

How to Keep a Dog Mentally Active

Dogs make great companions. Leaving them for too long can get them bored out of their minds.

Unfortunately, a bored dog is a destructive dog. Suddenly, most of your property starts looking very appetizing to them. At this point, don’t even be surprised when you get home and find your couch chewed up.

What’s worse? There’s only so much “bad dog” can do here. You’re better off engaging them mentally so they’re less likely to get bored.

Why is mental stimulation important for dogs?

Taking care of your dog’s health goes beyond ensuring it’s physically fit. Most people know that it’s important to take their dogs out for a walk or run frequently. That’s great.

In that same vein, their brain needs to be stimulated too.

Mental health isn’t just important in humans, it’s important in dogs too. And by mentally stimulating your dog, you can rest assured of their overall good health.

Below are a few benefits of mentally stimulating your dog –

 

ü  It results in lowered stress levels for your dogs.

ü  This is a good way to handle their anxiety, especially when you’re gone.

ü  It provides a healthy outlet for them to use their minds – unless you’d rather they destroy your house for fun.

ü  It’s a great way for dogs to release all that extra energy they seem to have buried in them. [1]

Ideas you can use to keep your dog mentally active –

 

ü  Give your dog a job to do

This sounds rather tedious, doesn’t it? Perhaps, but by giving them a job, you’re engaging them positively. It doesn’t even have to be something complicated.

Whatever you can come up with that they can do for a reward will suffice.

 

Great job options include finding stuff with their nose, chasing squirrels or rodents, putting their toys away, or even the usual obedience exercises.

 

The goal is to engage your dog in activities that will help to sharpen its mind and boost its mental intelligence.

 

As for salaries, they come cheap. Extra treats or a "good boy” will suffice.

 

ü  Introduce your dog to new tricks

Turns out even old dogs can learn new tricks. This is often such an adventure for them. Plus, it can help stimulate them mentally. Dogs are curious animals. Use this to your advantage.

 

The trick could be teaching them to figure out a puzzle. Who knows? You might even have a performance dog on your hands.

 

If you have some space in your backyard, set up some hurdles and train them to figure them out. Otherwise, smaller tricks such as backing up, shaking paws, waving, or spinning work great.

 

ü  Play interactive games with your dog

Doing this not only helps to strengthen the bond between you and your dog but also keeps their minds sharp.

 

The American Kennel Club agrees that most of these cognitive training games do make your dog smarter.

 

A few recommendations here include teaching your dog to make eye contact or switching up your walking routine to build their attention span.

 

Other great brain game ideas for dogs include dog puzzles, hide & seek, treasure hunts, jump rope, and even teaching them how to solve a problem. [2]

 

ü  Introduce your dog to new faces

Dogs tend to become aggressive when they meet a new face or a stranger. Sometimes, it’s not even aggression, its fear or shyness.

 

However, to boost your dog's mental intelligence, they must be exposed to other people and dogs.

 

The best way to do this is via a “slow process” to avoid overwhelming them.

Here’s the right way to do this –

 

Ø  Keep them in a separate room till everyone settles in

Ø  Allow them to make the first move when they’re ready

Ø  Let the new person offer them some treats

Ø  Be patient and encourage them kindly. [3]

 

ü  Get some new toys

Most dog owners have to go to work without their dogs. This leaves them bored while you are not around. Fortunately, you can still engage your dog while you’re not around by getting it some toys.

 

A new toy can be a new source of fun and adventure for it. But don’t just buy one and throw at it. You need to choose the right toy for your dog and introduce them to it.

 

Quiet toys that they can chew often end up being just that – chew toys. This isn’t interesting to them.

 

Go for interactive toys. Once you bring it home, spend some time introducing them to it and teaching them how to use it.

 

ü  Get it a playmate

This can be a bit dicey at first. Dogs like to think you’re enough for them. So, they may not entertain the idea of a new dog coming to steal all the attention from you.

 

A great alternative would be to set up a playdate for them at the park or a friend’s place. They’d have their fill of fun and still go home with you alone. This might be better for your sanity.

 

But, if you decide to go ahead and get a new dog, just know that the first few weeks will be the hardest. Eventually, they should get along.

 

A few things you should consider here include –

 

Your dog’s attitude – if your dog is super aggressive, best believe this process will be harder. Consider chaining both dogs on opposite sides of a fence and allowing them to check each other out.

 

One will likely establish dominance, then they can run off into the sunset happily…or something less dramatic, but you get the point.

 

The new dog’s size – smaller dogs can get hurt by larger dogs – intentionally or not. If you choose to get a smaller dog or if your dog is the small dog in this scenario, always keep an eye out to ensure they’re safe.

 

However, you're better off choosing a dog that's the same size as yours. That way, they're equally matched.

 

Play styles – this is an often overlooked consideration. However, all dogs have distinct personalities.

 

For instance, while collies enjoy chasing and running around, most pit bulls would rather wrestle and even play fight. Putting these two dogs together would be more trouble than fun.

 

Conclusion

 

If you’d like your dog to be a well-rounded, well-adjusted member of both the human and canine societies, then make their mental health a priority.

 

It's great that most of these activities are also physically stimulating. Beyond that, doing these things with your dog provides an excellent opportunity for you to bond with them.

 

At the end of the day, the benefits are numerous and we recommend you give these a try.

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