The neutering of dogs can have far-reaching consequences, which is why it must be carefully considered. There are also some changes in nutrition after castration. Read here what you should consider when feeding after castration.
Castration is one of the most common surgical procedures in a small animal practice today. The operation, which is performed under general anesthesia, removes the ovaries or ovaries and uterus from a female dog and the testicles from a male dog. This has far-reaching consequences. Not all of them are desired by the dog owner. The decision to castrate must therefore be well considered. In every good veterinary practice, thorough information is provided prior to the operation. The dog’s diet is also affected by castration and must be adjusted afterwards.
Feed properly before and after surgery
The dog must be sober for the operation, which means that there is usually no evening meal on the day before the operation. The dog is allowed to drink water until shortly before the operation.
After the operation, there are a few things to consider when feeding:
- possible impairment of the swallowing reflex on the day of the procedure
- Nausea and vomiting possible if fed too quickly
- Provide supervised fresh water when the dog is fully conscious
- first feeding depends on the individual case: discuss with the veterinarian!
- usually begin feeding with small portions the day after surgery
Diet change after castration
After the procedure, a change in diet is necessary because castration reduces a dog’s energy requirements by an average of 30 percent. This means that even if the dog owner has previously done everything correctly when it comes to feeding and the dog has always been of normal weight, if the dog continues to eat the type and amount of food it is used to, it will most likely gain weight.
If the food is freely available, the problem is exacerbated because many neutered dogs have an increased appetite while at the same time spontaneous physical activity tends to decrease. Under these conditions, it is particularly easy to become overweight. Since dogs rarely manage to eat only as much food as they actually need in a day, unrestricted access to food should generally be avoided.
This is how the feed change works
Feeding less of the old food is often not the best solution. As a dog owner, you can usually make the necessary change in diet better if this is combined with a change to a lower-energy food. There is special food for neutered dogs in specialist shops or at the vet.
Thanks to this food with reduced energy and fat content, the food portions are similar or even larger than before and you don’t have the feeling that you are feeding your dog too little. It is also important for the dog that it is not “fobbed off” with very small portions of food after the castration, because the intervention leads to an increase in appetite in many dogs.
Special fiber mixtures of roughage (insoluble fibers with a high water-binding capacity) and prebiotic fibers (soluble fibers that can be used by the colon bacteria as food) ensure a better satiety effect and help to keep the dog’s begging behavior within limits.
Dog food after neutering
Well suited for castrated dogs are complete foods with the following properties:
- reduced calorie content and adjusted recommendations for the daily amount of food
- Mixture of different dietary fibers (roughage such as feed cellulose and soluble fibers such as
- psyllium or fructo-oligosaccharides) to achieve a good feeling of satiety
- high-quality proteins in sufficient quantity to maintain the muscles
- L-carnitine to increase fat burning
Time of diet change
Depending on its size, a dog can already gain several kilos in the first few months after castration if the diet is not adjusted. In order to maintain the dog’s normal weight and thus its long-term health, the diet should be changed immediately after castration. If you don’t want to ask your dog to change the food immediately after the procedure, you can start with a gradual change from the old to the new food 14 days beforehand.
Regular dog weighing
It is advisable to weigh the dog after castration and the associated change in diet, initially every two weeks and then once a month to determine whether there is a tendency to gain weight and to be able to take appropriate countermeasures. Because preventing obesity is better (and easier) than having to shed the extra pounds. Getting enough exercise is also important. Encourage your dog to calm down after castration.
Postpone neutering of the dog
If the dog is already overweight before the procedure, neutering should be postponed. Because of the reduced energy requirement, weight loss after castration is more difficult to achieve than before. In addition, being overweight increases the general risk of anesthesia and surgery. The correct order is therefore: first reach normal weight, then castrate.
Of course, this only applies if the procedure is not to be carried out for important medical reasons, for example an inflammation of the uterus in the bitch or a prostate disease in the male. Such diseases can speak for an immediate castration. Your veterinarian will advise you individually.