Opening Hours

  • Open 7 Days
  • Most Days: 9am - 5pm
  • Wednesdays: 10am - 5pm
  • Viewing of Animals - Daily: 9am - 4pm      
  • Public Holidays: CLOSED

Body conditioning system

On average our small but dedicated team of Inspectors and Rescue Officers attend to 5000 reports and rescues each year – that’s more than a dozen a day.

Many of these calls relate to the concerns of the condition of an animal and we’re often asked how we make a judgment in these circumstances.

In addition to every Inspector’s vast experience and training, we rely on a standardised scoring body conditioning system (examples for dogs and cats below). This assists us in making sure our assessments are relatively consistent across the organisation.

Weather, time of year, breed, environment and personal circumstances can all have an impact on an animal’s wellbeing so it’s not always easy to make a judgement. Our first preference is always to work together with the owner in the hope of rectifying the situation quickly and with minimal added stress to the animal, however if there is any doubt we will always take some form of action in the best interests of the animal’s welfare.

Every year we see countless animals that range from one end of the system to the other. We hope that our commitment to educating the public in responsible pet ownership and best practice in taking care of animals will help reduce this number significantly in coming years.

Cat Body Conditioning System

Score 1 – Emaciated

Ribs visible on short haired cats, no palpable fat, severe abdominal tuck, lumbar vertebrae and wing of ilia easily palpated

Score 2 - Very Thin
Shared characteristics of 1 and 3

Score 3 – Thin
Ribs easily palpable with minimal fat covering, lumbar vertebrae obvious, obvious waist behind ribs, minimal abdominal fat

Score 4 – Underweight
Shared characteristics of 3 and 5

Score 5 – Ideal
Well proportioned, observe waist behind ribs, ribs palpable with slight fat covering, abdominal fat pad minimal

Score 6 – Overweight
Shared characteristics of 5 and 7

Score 7 – Heavy
Ribs not easily palpated with moderate fat covering, waist poorly discernable, obvious rounding of abdomen, moderate abdominal fat pad

Score 8 – Obese
Shared characteristics of 7 and 9

Score 9 - Grossly obese
Ribs not palpable under heavy fat cover, heavy fat deposits over lumbar area, face and limbs, distention of abdomen with no waist, extensive abdominal fat deposits.

Dog Body Condition System

Score 1 – Emaciated
Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance. No discernable body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.

Score 2 - Very thin
Ribs, lumbar vertebrae and pelvic bones easily visible. No palpable fat. Some evidence of other bony prominence. Minimal loss of muscle mass.

Score 3 – Thin
Ribs easily palpated and may be visible with no palpable fat. Tops of lumbar vertebrae visible. Pelvic bones becoming prominent. Obvious waist and abdominal tuck.

Score 4 – Underweight
Ribs easily palpable with minimal fat covering. Waist easily noted when viewed from above. Abdominal tuck evident.

Score 5 – Ideal
Ribs palpable without excess fat covering. Waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed from the side.

Score 6 – Overweight
Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering. Waist is discernable viewed from above but is not prominent. Abdominal tuck apparent.

Score 7 – Heavy
Ribs palpable with difficulty, heavy fat cover. Noticeable fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent or barely visible. Abdominal tuck may be absent.

Score 8 – Obese
Ribs no palpable under very heavy fat cover, or palpable only with significant pressure. Heavy fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent. No abdominal tuck. Obvious abdominal distention may be present.

Score 9 - Grossly obese
Massive fat deposits over thorax, spine and base of tail. Waist and abdominal tuck absent. Fat deposits on neck and limbs. Obvious abdominal distention.