View Full Version : Is cavalier fit or fat? How to bodyscore your dog

23rd January 2013, 11:29 PM
Here's a great article on how to make sure your dog is fit -- not fat -- so critical for cavalier health as any extra weight means their hearts work harder and contributes to faster onset of heart disease and other problems. As almost every single cavalier will get heart disease (MVD), keeping your dog FIT is the number one way to extend its life -- and overfeeding is the fast lane to an earlier death. Now who wants that for their dog? Not you! :thmbsup: You want that sweet cavalier in your life for as long as possible. So be sure to read this:


You can download a free body condition poster, too.

Does this sound familiar? Here is the opening of the article.

Every time I give a lecture on behavior modification, someone asks me, “But what if my dog’s not motivated for food?” This always makes me wonder if we live on the same planet. For one, if a dog were truly not motivated for food, he would dead. What the attendee really should be asking is “Why won’t my dog eat when I want to train him? Could it have anything to do with the fact that I leave his food out all day or give him table scraps and treats for free out of guilt whenever he looks at me?”

Secondly, no matter how puzzled these owners appear, a majority of the time I find that their dog is quite hefty, even obese! In other words, the reason the dog won’t eat when they want to use food for training is that he gets way too much to eat already and he’s often just full or content.

Keep in mind that it can be easier to judge body shape when you are bathing your cavalier. A fluffy or heavy coat can make a dog look heavier than it is. But almost all the cavaliers I meet are heavier than they should be and do not have a waist (and a waist really means a waist -- not a vague indent! see the chart) -- I think few cavalier owners will find they have a too-thin doglet under that lovely coat. :)

24th January 2013, 01:59 PM
Good advice, Karlin, on judging our dog's body shape in the bath. Someone once mentioned to me that Sophie looked overweight. She still had her winter coat, so I gently flattened her fur and the person could see that Sophie is more hair than dog.

24th January 2013, 03:03 PM
There is a brief discussion about body condition scoring, with a couple of other posters, at http://cavalierhealth.org/diets.htm#Body_Condition_Scoring

24th January 2013, 05:33 PM
It's easy for me to see body shape on Leo and Jaspar, but not so easy on Lily (fluffy coat) and Tansy (lots of coat) so they get their waist checks when they are soggy! :lol:

Thanks for the additional link, Rod.

I do think the best thing anyone can do to make sure they have as many years as possible with their cavalier is keep that dog lean rather than even slightly overweight. I know one study showed that a few extra pounds could cut a labrador's life by as much as a fourth or so because excess weight contributes and even causes so many serious health problems. With heart issues endemic in cavaliers I am sure even an extra pound or two cuts off a similar amount of time from a cavalier lifespan. It really is a case of people loving their dogs to (an early) death.