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Cat and dog food after sterilization: what to feed so as not to gain weight?

Cat and dog food after sterilization / castration

Every person who has a pet wants it to be healthy, live long and not cause too many health problems, and at the same time provide a lot of joy and benefits resulting from direct contact with it.

Such expectations are also directed at veterinarians caring for dogs and cats, who have the appropriate expertise to help achieve this noble goal.

Many medical procedures, once not very common, today have become almost routine and possible to be carried out in even the smallest veterinary office.

Of course, the overriding goal of them is to extend life and prevent certain, common diseases related to our feline and canine seniors.

Therefore, it seems understandable that the owners of dogs and cats are increasingly interested in treatments aimed at depriving their pets of reproductive capacity and the growing social awareness of the benefits obtained as a result of these interventions.

Permanent elimination of the ability to have children undoubtedly brings enormous benefits, but also, which we often forget, has "side effects ", which for obvious reasons we would prefer to avoid.

To some extent, of course, this is possible provided that you follow the recommendations of the attending physician.

By implementing simple, but unfortunately not all known methods of caring for an animal, we will avoid many later problems resulting from depriving the body of sex hormones.

An excellent example of this is proper nutrition in the period after sterilization and castration to prevent distant consequences such as obesity, i.e. the plague of the 21st century.

In this article, I will try to explain the issue of proper nutrition in a simple, clear and understandable way sterilized animals which will allow you to enjoy the benefits of the treatment without unnecessary side effects in the form of excessive body weight.

  • Why obesity can occur after castration / sterilization?
  • Castration and sterilization: not only deprivation of fertility
  • What to feed to prevent obesity?
  • Food for sterilized animals
    • Low fat food
    • Food with increased fiber content
  • Nutrition with home food
  • The right dose of exercise

Why obesity can occur after castration / sterilization?

Obesity and overweight are more and more common problems related to keeping pets in a domestic environment, resulting undeniably from living in highly developed Western societies and excessive caloric consumption.

Cautious estimates speak of 24-35% the total population of dogs exhibiting excess body weight.

Research conducted several years ago in our country shows that the number of obese companion animals is about 1/3 of the total.

So we can see exactly how the huge population is affected by the problem of obesity, hence it is worth making the owners aware of the methods of fighting it, and perhaps most of all about the methods of prevention, i.e. prophylaxis.

Obesity must be treated as a diet-dependent disease, i.e. a diet-dependent disease, which is undoubtedly one of the modern plagues or diseases of civilization.

We should remember carefully that this is not only a not very nice visual problem, but a condition conducive to a number of other diseases, medical complications, e.g.:

  • diabetes,
  • joint diseases,
  • spine diseases,
  • increased susceptibility to cancer,
  • skin diseases,
  • infections,
  • circulatory failure.

We all know how difficult it is to lose weight while following a diet that is often associated with numerous sacrifices.

That is why prophylaxis, i.e. actions aimed at maintaining proper body weight, seems to be very important so that you do not have to use specialized diets later.

Any obesity is preceded by overweight, hence regular monitoring of the animal's weight will allow you to recognize the developing problem at an early stage and take preventive measures early.

Briefly, the causes of overweight and obesity can be as follows:

  • positive energy balance, i.e. we eat more than we spend on energy purposes,
  • improper supply of nutrients in the diet,
  • lack of or inadequate physical activity,
  • incorrect eating habits consisting in snacking between meals,
  • racial predisposition (e.g. labradors),
  • some hormonal diseases (e.g. Hypothyroidism).

Why am I writing about all this in the context of proper nutrition after sterilization and castration?

Well, not everyone is aware that in the formation of obesity, hormonal disorders that arise after treatments that kill animals from reproduction have a significant role and a percentage share.

It is their consequence, as a result of the elimination of sex hormones from the body reducing the intensity of metabolism which translates into a reduced need for nutrients.

Otherwise, the sterilized animal is certainly at risk of obesity.

The universality of surgical castration, unfortunately, also translates into the number of animals with abnormal body weight, hence it seems to me the need to know why this is happening and what to do to prevent this unfavorable phenomenon.

If you have already become obese, I encourage you to read the articles "How to slim down a cat " and "How to slim down a dog ".

You can see what an obese dog looks like in the video below

Fat Dog
Watch this video on YouTube

Castration and sterilization: not only deprivation of fertility

Undoubtedly, the procedures of castration and sterilization serve to control the population of domestic animals by preventing the excessive number of their offspring.

Surgical removal of the reproductive organs solves the problem once and for all, simultaneously eliminating all behavioral behavior related to reproduction and characteristic of a given species and prevents many diseases of the reproductive system.

At the same time, however, it causes significant changes in the hormonal balance of the dog or cat, which can be a consequence excess body weight.

After sterilization or castration, changes in the eating habits of animals may occur, which will manifest itself excessive appetite.

Increased appetite results, among other things, from greater secretion ghrelin that is the hormone responsible for short-term hunger. Under physiological conditions, the concentration of ghrelin increases during fasting and decreases after eating.

In animals subjected to sterilization, its level may be even higher by twenty-something percent which will, of course, translate into increased appetite and obesity.

Remember that obesity in the natural environment in wild animals is practically non-existent (these animals are not sterilized) and, in addition, the obese animal would not survive long (it would not be able to hunt or be an easy prey for other predators).

Generally, sterilized animals are 3-4 times more likely to be obese than non-disabled animals with the entire reproductive system.

This is a direct result of the decrease in the energy demand of animals, and to a significant extent.

If, on the other hand, we want to maintain an optimal body weight, we must reduce the amount of energy provided in meals by about 28% for males and o 33% in females after sterilization.

So we can clearly see that on average, the amount of calories supplied should be reduced by nearly 1/3 compared to the nutrition before the treatment.

Surgical contraception treatments also cause, as I wrote, a drastic increase in the appetite of animals.

This is so as a consequence decrease in estrogen levels that is, the hormones responsible for regulating food intake.

A clinically significant increase in appetite has already been observed 3 days after surgery and within a month there was an increase in consumption by as much as 25%!

It is an extremely large amount and must, for understandable reasons, translate into an incorrect body weight.

A sudden drop in estrogen following surgery it resembles the hormonal balance we have during pregnancy.

For example, a pregnant kitten must gain about 40% in order to safely give birth, raise, and feed the born litter.

The dependence of excessive appetite on the lack of estrogens in the body is confirmed by scientific studies, in which supplementation after the estrogen sterilization procedure resulted in a return to the amount of food consumed before the procedure already within Two days.

So we remove the ovaries (a source of estrogens) so as not to have offspring, but at the same time strongly interfere with the regulation of food intake and the feeling of hunger by the animal.

A huge mistake, often made by the guardians of cats and dogs, is eating ad libidum, which will always translate into excessive body weight (on average by 1/3).

Feeding at will is a big mistake

In most cases, the animal will eat as much as we give it to the bowl, and we are guided by the misconception that if it is hungry, we often add an additional portion of food.

There are also other theories trying to explain the mechanism of obesity in sterilized animals.

The pituitary hormones, i.e gonadoliberin (GnRH) resulting in an increase in energy storage.

It is after sterilization that the level of this hormone remains high and is therefore a consequence of obesity.

In sterilized kittens, the level increases insulin and may appear insulin resistance no glucose intolerance.

The process increases gluconeogenesis and pancreatic cell activity, which they have an inhibitory effect on estrogens.

In male castrated males, the level increases leptin, which is inversely proportional to the level testosterone.

In turn, sterilized bitches are twice as likely to be obese as compared to the entire population.

Regardless of the existing mechanisms that cause obesity, we must remember that sterilization or castration disrupts the hormonal balance of the body and forces us to change our diet and adapt it to the reduced energy needs of animals, which we must not forget.

What to feed to prevent obesity?

Low calorie food

Animals under the care of their owners will eat only what they will get on the bowl, so it is up to us to properly feed them in terms of quantity and quality.

The basic rule is that we should provide enough energy in the food to cover the animal's energy needs without unnecessary accumulation of ingredients in the form of fat.

But how to determine exactly how much a given animal needs to eat in order not to gain weight?

In practice, it is extremely difficult because it requires knowledge not only of the calorific value of the food served, but also knowledge of energy expenditure, for example in the form of exercise.

So what can we do practically?

We should, first of all regularly monitor the patient's weight to know exactly if you are gaining too much weight.

Ordinary weighing taking a moment of time will allow you to catch early the moment when the mentee starts to gain weight dangerously.

At the same time, it will cause a relatively quick change of nutrition, which will avoid subsequent weight loss.

Remember that the beginnings of excess weight can often escape our attention because you simply cannot see them.

None of the ingredients present in the diet is the direct cause of abnormal body weight and each is needed, necessary for the nutrition to be balanced, but too much of them causes overweight and obesity.

Those who say that the excess of carbohydrates and fats mainly causes obesity will be right.

As a reminder, fats providing about 8.5 kcal / 1 g are the most important energy carriers, hence their excessive consumption will undoubtedly translate into obesity.

For comparison, carbohydrates are a source of 3.5 kcal in 1 g. so they are significantly less energetic than fats.

Complex fats are digested extremely efficiently in a dog or cat, thus being an excellent carrier of vitamins and energy.cation

Often, the owners themselves supplement the traditional diet with fats from fish or plants, which undoubtedly translates into the calorific value of the food consumed and requires strict control.

High-energy ingredients are, as we mentioned, also carbohydrates.

Those from the group of simple ones are quickly metabolized, which unfortunately translates into a faster appearance of hunger and may result in snacking.

Carbohydrates with glucose at the forefront can be processed in triglycerides, which are then deposited in the body in the form of excess body fat.

The situation is further complicated by the appearance of the phenomenon insulin resistance of adipose tissue, which makes it insensitive to the digestion of fats, and if it lasts longer, it can lead to diet-dependent insulin resistant diabetes type II, a medical condition that requires treatment.

Food for sterilized animals

Animal feed after castration / sterilization

As indicated by all the statistics, the sterilized animals are alive definitely longer than untreated ones.

This is because we eliminate the risk of many diseases the reproductive system and the mammary gland, and at the same time we prevent behavioral behaviors related to reproduction (e.g. fights between males, vagrancy, gender-based aggression).

This has its advantages, of course, but unfortunately, along with a longer period of life, the risk of old age diseases increases and kidney diseases are more common.

Therefore, good commercial feeds, apart from the obvious prevention of overweight and obesity, should also eliminate and reduce the risk of the above-mentioned diseases.

We have a choice of a wide range of ready-made, low-calorie foods intended for slimming or maintaining a proper body weight in the case of animals after sterilization.

This gives you a great opportunity to choose the composition of the food that will be eagerly eaten by the animal.

From a practical point of view, I suggest purchasing the smallest commercially available packaging of products to check whether the animal will be willing to eat this particular food.

These foods, developed by dietitian specialists, provide our animals with all the necessary nutrients in the right amount, showing a reduced caloric value.

Therefore, animals consuming it should not gain weight.

Some carers sometimes ask if it is better to serve what's now or to cook yourself at home, but to administer appropriately reduced doses.

The answer is obvious:

reducing the amount of maintenance food may unfortunately be associated with deficiencies in nutrients (e.g. micronutrients, proteins, vitamins) as the animal receiving smaller portions does not have fully satisfied needs.

In many cases, doing so will actually lead to weight loss, but it will undoubtedly affect your health, especially in the long run.

Therefore, it is definitely better to use professional food than to experiment with the one that has been administered so far and readily accepted by the animal.

Generally, food dedicated to animals after sterilization or castration (or for weight reduction) can be classified into two groups:

  1. Low fat food.
  2. Foods with increased fiber content.

Low fat food

Reduced fat diets occupy a major place in the market for weight loss.

As I already wrote, it is fat that carries the most energy and calories (8.5 kcal / 1 g of fat), hence its restriction in the diet reduces its calorific value.

Instead of fat, such foods contain properly selected carbohydrates, which, as we remember, are much lower in calories.

Thanks to this "replacement ", it is easy to significantly reduce the amount of available energy (twice as much energy).

Carbohydrates undergo changes (combustion) generate a large amount of heat, which is called thermogenic effect.

The best sources of digestible carbohydrates seem to be:

  • rice,
  • pasta,
  • corn.

Such nutrition does not cause an increased amount of stool or the number of bowel movements, which is also extremely important from a practical point of view for the owner.

We must, of course, remember about the right amount of dosed food, because giving too large doses, even low-calorie food, may translate into excessive body weight of the animal.

We can give such food for a long time, which many owners sometimes find difficult to accept due to the monotony of nutrition.

Food with increased fiber content

The second group of diets used in the nutrition of sterilized animals are food with increased content of dietary fiber.

The addition of more indigestible fiber, with a lower fat content, it reduces the caloric density and thus does not pose a risk of obesity.

The feeling of satiety is ensured, which also does not matter because the animals simply do not feel hungry and eat more eagerly.

Insoluble fiber it slows down the course of the intestinal transit, which may also be the cause of unwanted constipation or other intestinal ailments.

So we must strictly adhere to the recommended amount of such food in order not to worsen the digestive system.

It is forbidden to provide additional energy in the form of supplementation or high-calorie energy delicacies if snacks .

Ready-made food for animals after sterilization they not only focus on maintaining an appropriate body weight, which is achieved, for example, by increasing the amount of protein but also contain ingredients that protect the kidneys.

"The silent enemy of nephrons " or kidney cells is phosphorus hence these foods contain a reduced amount of it (e.g. up to 0.6%).

Food dedicated to sterilized animals they also contain frequently L-carnitine i.e. a substance that accelerates the burning of fats and transforming them into energy, which additionally prevents obesity.

When buying the appropriate commercial food for our pet, we should choose a product dedicated to the appropriate size of the animal (eg. light food for dogs of small, medium and large breeds).

And there is really a lot to choose from because the market of sterilized pet food is really rich.

And finally, an extremely important issue as it is the right amount of feed.

Because what will we achieve if we even feed low-calorie food, if in the wrong, excessive amount?

The tables on the food packaging are helpful here, which define the correct amount - daily dose for a given dog.

In order not to overfeed the animal, we must strictly follow these standards while giving only drinking water.

Nutrition with home food

Homemade food

Some pet owners openly criticize ready-made, commercial foods, accusing them of a high degree of processing and not very natural appearance and chemical composition.

Therefore, supporters of home nutrition choose semi-finished products they buy and use them to prepare their own meals.

These methods, although not skilfully applied in many cases, cannot be considered unequivocally harmful.

Preparing meals on our own requires us to put not only more work, but also time.

We should also carefully control the quantity and quality of the ingredients used to get the desired effect. To sum up: in order to prepare an optimal home diet, we must have appropriate dietary knowledge and know the strict energy needs of our pupils.

The theory is that nutrition should be wholesome and therefore contain products that meet all the needs of our animals.

Protein and fat should come from high-quality types of meat, which is undoubtedly associated with higher costs (because we cannot choose the cheapest meats).

We should not use meat waste or cheaper offal.

Table scraps or dinner scraps are also not recommended.

We can reduce the energy content of the ration by adding ingredients with more fiber.

It turns out to be an excellent source vegetables being also rich in vitamins and microelements, e.g.:

  • carrot,
  • parsley,
  • beetroot,
  • Apple.

As a source of carbohydrates, we can use:

  • rice,
  • mashed warm potatoes containing starch,
  • groats.

When preparing a meal for your pupils, it is worth supplementing it with one of the vitamin and mineral supplements commonly available on our market.

We should also change some eating habits and rituals.

Well, let's absolutely forget about feeding the animals at will, so about the bowl that is still full, believing that when the animal becomes hungry, it will come up to it and eat it.

We give a strictly measured dose of food, whether it is a home diet or a ready-made commercial one, at specific times, and we take away the leftovers not eaten.

The right dose of exercise

Make sure your pet has enough exercise

Let's not forget that nutrition, although crucial and extremely important, must always go hand in hand with an appropriate dose of exercise, adjusted to the condition and age of the animal.

There is no need to convince anyone about the benefits of physical activity.

"Movement is health " as the saying goes, hence every animal, and especially the sterilized or neutered ones, should move every day and stay in the fresh air.

Only the combination of regular physical activity with proper low-calorie nutrition will allow you to maintain an optimal body weight and will not allow you to gain weight.

Physical activity ensures loss of calories, improves circulation or improves the functioning of the digestive system and intestinal peristalsis, and most importantly, it is "something" characteristic and natural for the species Canis familiaris.


Summing up, it must be stated that sterilization and castration of animals are routine, perhaps the most frequently performed, surgical operations in small animal veterinary medicine.

However, so that their effect is not wasted, they must go hand in hand with proper nutrition in the period after their implementation.

Very often, unfortunately, many people associate sterilization with obesity, which results from dietary mistakes made by them.

And it does not have to be this way and a lot depends on the proper selection of food and following simple well-known dietary rules.

We all know how difficult it is to lose weight and how easy it is to gain some extra weight.

Maybe it is worth knowing the general rules, through skilfully conducted prophylaxis, to prevent obesity and not to treat it later.

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