Neutering And Your Pet's Diet: Preventing Obesity From Taking Over

Neutering a pet is often linked to an increase in the pet's weight, and if it's not controlled, the pet can become obese. This isn't a set path, however, and you can help your pet avoid obesity and a lot of weight gain by revamping the pet's diet and activity levels. Neutering (and spaying, for female animals) is necessary to prevent unwanted pregnancies and a host of behavioral issues, so don't let the fear of pet weight gain stop you from having the procedure done.

Re-evaluate Calories

Look at what your pet has been eating and consider switching to a lower-calorie food. For example, if your pet was very active before the surgery and eating a lot of high-calorie food, as well as a lot of treats or human food, ease up. If your pet doesn't seem as active after the surgery, you need to cut back on the caloric intake. But don't eliminate a category cold turkey, as that will make the pet beg all the time. Start by switching to a lower-calorie pet food and then gradually reduce the treats and human food.

Look for Opportunities to Exercise

You should also look for ways for your pet to become more active. For dogs, these can range from just playing with the dog more to enrolling the dog in agility classes that allow the dog to run around. Keep an eye on the dog's activity level, because if the dog becomes very active again, you'll have to readjust the diet again to include more calories so the dog has sufficient energy. It can be a trial-and-error situation.

For cats, it's a little harder to increase activity. Kittens will still want to play, but as the cat gets older, or if you've just neutered an adult cat, you might not be able to force the cat to do a whole lot more activity. Your vet may have ideas, however.  

Avoid Temptations

Try not to eat human food around the pet so the pet won't try to steal any. Ensure family and friends don't give the pet treats that haven't been okayed by you. You may also want to break the pet's feeding times into smaller increments (so instead of feeding a cat in the morning and evening, for example, you may want to take the same amount of food and feed the cat in the morning, afternoon, and evening, assuming you'll be home to do so). Clear something like that with your vet first, though, to ensure you aren't depriving the pet of needed nutrients too early in the day.

Work with your vet to monitor your pet's weight over the next few years. By establishing better eating and activity habits for your pet now, you help it stay trim over time instead of letting it fall victim to the neutering-obesity problem.

For more information on how neutering can affect your pet's health, contact a neutering service, such as Mt. Hermon Veterinary Clinic.

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