Nutrition toolkit


Global Nutrition Toolkit

Following on from the launch of the WSAVA’s Global Nutrition Guidelines in 2011, its Global Nutrition Committee (GNC) has developed a suite of tools. These include practical aids for the veterinary healthcare team to make nutritional assessment and recommendations more efficient, such as a diet history form, hospitalized patient feeding guide, body condition score charts, and calorie recommendations for dogs and cats. In addition, educational materials for pet owners have been developed. More tools are in development and will be added to this site. These tools are designed to help the veterinary healthcare team address nutrition at every patient visit and to advance the central role of the veterinary healthcare team as the expert source of nutrition information.

Please also read the SOP for use of WSAVA GNC Toolkits and Guidelines

Nutritional Assessment Tools for the Healthcare Team


As the 5th vital assessment - after temperature, pulse, respiration, and pain assessment – nutritional assessment should be performed on every patient at every visit. These tools have been developed to help to effectively incorporated into every visit.

       Body Condition Score Video 

       Pet nutrition assessment video. Coutesy of Canadian Veterinary Medical Association


  • Muscle condition score chart. Compared to the body condition score, which assesses fat stores, the muscle condition score assesses the animal's muscle, which can be affected by disease or aging.

       Muscle condition score chart for Dogs (ES, CH)

        Muscle condition score chart for Cats (ES, CH


  • Quick one-page charts listing starting points for calorie needs of the healthy dog and cat.

  • The Short Diet History Form is a quick questionnaire for owners to collect critical information on their pets' diet.
        Short Diet History Form (ES, CH)
  • This Nutritional Assessment Checklist is a tool to help ensure that all parts of the nutritional assessment are performed – the quick nutritional screening on every patient at every visit, and the extended evaluation for patients in which risk factors are identified.

       Nutritional Assessment Checklist (ES, CH)

  • A 2-page summary of the WSAVA Nutrition Guidelines – what do they say, how can nutritional assessment be incorporated into the standard physical exam, and quick tips for implementing the Guidelines in your practice.

       Quick Tips on Implementing the WSAVA Nutrition Guidelines (ES, CH)

  • This resources provides ideas for incorporating the Nutrition Guidelines into practice, including communication tips, ideas for using the guidelines effectively, and other ways to ensure that every patient gets a nutritional assessment at every visit.


For dogs and cats in the hospital, providing optimal nutrition and careful monitoring is key to recovery.

  • The Feeding Guide for Hospitalized Dogs and Cats can help the veterinary healthcare team select the appropriate patients that require nutritional support, the optimal route, and to quickly determine calorie goals.

       Feeding Guide for Hospitalized Dogs and Cats  (ES, CH)

  • The Feeding Instructions and Monitoring Chart provides a step-by-step approach to determining appropriate calorie needs and writing effective feeding instructions, as well as a comprehensive nutrition monitoring chart for hospitalized patients.

      Feeding Instructions and Monitoring Chart for Hospitalized Patients (ES, CH)

  • Special considerations that we need to make for critical care patients can be found in the following resource. (This article was first published in the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care 2015 dol:10.1111/vec.12277)

        New tools for the nutritional assessment and management of critical care patients 


Tools for Pet Owners

  • Information on the Internet can be confusing and there is lots of myth and misinformation on the topic of pet nutrition. These guides (one for cat owners and one for dog owners) provide tips on effectively and objectively using the Internet. In addition, both include a list of useful and accurate Internet resources on pet nutrition.

  • Nutrition on the Internet dogs Most pet owners consider the ingredient list to be the most important factor in choosing a pet food. However, the ingredient list gives no information on the quality of the ingredients and can be very misleading on the overall quality of the food. The WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee tool provides owners with recommendations on how to use more important information from the label to select the best food for pets.

      Selecting the Best Food for your Pet (ES, CH)

  • How many calories does a healthy dog or cat need each day? These charts provide information on the calorie needs of healthy dog and cats.

       Calorie Needs for Healthy Adult Cats (ESCH)

       Calorie Needs for Healthy Adult Dogs (ESCH)