BARC: Body Assessment Rating For Canines

Dog on scaleThe American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has estimated that there are 41.2 million pet dogs in the United States. Sources estimate that 40 percent of these dogs, approximately 17 million, are overweight or obese. Pfizer Animal Health conducted a study that found vets consider 47% of their patients are overweight or obese while only 17% of their owners thought the same.

Here is a Body Assessment Rating for Canines (BARC) that Pfizer Animal Health has created to see if your dog is overweight or obese. (This most likely is just a marketing tool for pet owners who take this assessment to buy Slentrol, a diet pill for dogs. Guess who makes Slentrol? Pfizer.)

The Body Assessment Rating For Canines after the jump.


  • Is your dog of a breed that is prone to obesity, such as retrievers (Labrador and golden), beagles, basset hounds, cocker spaniels, dachshunds, shelties, and terriers?
  • Do you have a multi-dog house? (Dogs in multi-dog households tend to eat more and faster than those in one-dog households.)
  • Is your dog over 5 years old AND still being fed the same type and amount of food as when younger?
  • Feel your dog’s ribs. Do you find it difficult to determine where one rib ends and one begins?
  • Stand at your dog’s side and look at the tuck-up – the belly area between the ribcage and hindquarters. Is the body more “square-shaped” in this area?
  • Do you regularly feed your dog table scraps and/or multiple non-meal treats each day?
  • When you feed your dog, do you just pour the food into the bowl (rather than giving a specific measured amount each time)?
  • Does your dog have difficulty standing up or jumping on the couch?
  • Does your dog get less than 20 to 30 minutes per day of outside exercise/play time?
  • If you answered “yes” to seven or more out of the nine questions, Pfizer Animal Health says that your dog is at a very high risk for being overweight or obese and dog owners should consult with a vet.

    Where’s the assessment for humans?

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