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Does Spaying or Neutering Your Cat or Dog Make Them Fat?

Updated on October 17, 2016
Susan May Gudge profile image

Educated at the Montreal School of Dog Grooming and became a certified Esthetician for dogs and cats in 1988.

NOTE:

This article in no way is meant to replace the advice of your own personal veterinarian on the feeding, nutrition or health of your dog and/or cat.

Spaying and neutering your cats and dogs will not make them fat and lazy. Proper nutrition and exercise will keep them the same.
Spaying and neutering your cats and dogs will not make them fat and lazy. Proper nutrition and exercise will keep them the same.
Spaying a cat or dog removes the whole uterine chain
Spaying a cat or dog removes the whole uterine chain
Neutering a cat or dog, they make a small incision at base of penis and pull the ligament to remove each testicle one by one, then cut the ligaments.
Neutering a cat or dog, they make a small incision at base of penis and pull the ligament to remove each testicle one by one, then cut the ligaments.

Reasons to Operate

There are a few reasons why we, as pet owners, should ensure that our pets live long and healthy lives. They give us love and companionship. They are our friends and our responsibilities. Spaying or neutering them when young not only ensures there is less over-population of unwanted puppies and kittens, it also has basis in medical reasoning. There are a few forms of cancer that will attack a pet, due to the animal not being spayed or neutered. Ovarian cysts, breast cancer and testicular cancer are just three. Having a pet spayed or neutered reduces such risks.

Additionally, the urine of an un-operated male cat or dog is extremely strong smelling. It is made that way for a reason. It is the animals' way of marking territory and also attracting a mate to breed with. One male cat spraying is bad enough but when there is one, there will be more, trying to overpower his scent with one of their own. In the case of indoor cats, just the smell in the litter box of an un-operated male is enough to change your mind on the do's and don'ts of whether to operate or not. That odor, unfortunately, is strong enough to enter the weaving of your garments. Like a skunk smell, visitors will smell it and visiting a friend, you bring that smell with you. It is inevitable. As for dogs, well, they will burn the grass of your backyard, smell strongly and might do some nasty things to visitor's legs.

When all is said and done, spaying or neutering your dog or cat is a must. I only ask one thing. Once it is done, do NOT call our pet an it. There is nothing that gets my gall more than that. Removing the sexual organs from your dog or cat does not make them become a table or a chair. They are alive, breathing and part of your life. Do not insult them by calling them an it. They are he and she....boys and girls....males and females....not an inanimate object. Believe me, they feel your words and insults.

For most cats, refill the bowl when it is completely empty.
For most cats, refill the bowl when it is completely empty.

Fat or Thin

So often I have heard that operating a cat or dog causes them to get fat and lazy. I have had three dogs and four cats over the years. All of them had been operated when they were approximately seven to nine months of age. Not one of them got fat with age. In my job as a groomer, I many times discussed this with clients and found that mostly it is the pet owner and not the spaying or neutering that caused obesity in their pets. A little common sense and a good diet of quality food usually fixed the problem.

It is the human owner that causes the weight gain. Feel sorry for them? Maybe a bit guilty? Give them treats. Wrong move. Their diet should be regulated. Their weight kept within norms. Extra treats and cookies and home cooking is more for our benefit than theirs. An adult dog will be happy enough getting one meal of dry high quality dog food per day. No more than that. They do not need treats and extra cookies and who knows what. Killing them with kindness, is what comes to my mind. Treats and cookies are big business. Do not be fooled by all that advertising hype.

For cats, I keep the bowl of dry kibble full. Put the food and water bowls on a counter or top of washing machine, instead of on the floor, making them exercise to eat. I fill it to the brim and they have enough for a few days. They eat when they are hungry. The trick is, do not fill the bowl until every single crumb is gone. If there is even one grain left, it means they are not really hungry. When they are hungry enough, they will eat that last tiny crumb and then call for more. It is the way of all wild cats, the ancestors of our domestics, to eat when hungry and to be able to go days without food if need be. Again, treats and goodies are for our benefit. Cats don't need them and most times they are not really good for them. A good brand of high quality dry food is all they need to stay healthy.

Unless prescribed by a veterinarian for a specific health reason, canned food is the worst. You are paying a lot of money for eighty percent water and around twenty percent meat. You say they won't eat anything else? False. A normal, healthy cat has too high a survival instinct to starve to death. Put down the kibble and when that cat is hungry enough, after burning off the excess useless fat, he or she will eat. It could take a couple of days to change their mind (do not continue if the cat refuses to eat after 4 days. Feed a canned meal and then try again). As for dogs, they should never have been started on canned food. It causes the worst kind of trouble for their teeth and gums, as well as fattening them up. Avoid cans. You are doing them no favours giving them wet food.

Always supply clean water.... daily.


My dog, Ice, is always ready for a walk and with the proper safety face harness, can trot along beside the scooter. Proper nutrition habits, good quality food and plenty of exercise are key to a healthy, active pet.
My dog, Ice, is always ready for a walk and with the proper safety face harness, can trot along beside the scooter. Proper nutrition habits, good quality food and plenty of exercise are key to a healthy, active pet.

Exercise

Exercise is key. An active animal is a healthy animal. Once operated, don't think a pet wants to be left alone, no longer the cute little kitten or puppy they used to be. Even adult cats love a good chase of a string or feather.

Take that dog for a walk. Rain or shine. It will do the animal good as well as the owner. My dog loves to go trotting along beside my three wheel scooter. She can do hours of it. When you think how far and how long the wolves, foxes and coyotes can lope along in one day, your domestic dog is not much different. Operated or not, most dogs love a good long walk.

Go outside, leave the computer, and just play ball or throw a frisbee. Your dog will thank you.

Just remember that in the summer, dogs can overheat as much as we can. Some dogs will not quit until you do. Keep an eye on them. If there are high temperatures, keep water handy and do not push them too much. Early morning or after sunset is a good time on days like that of full summer heat. If you walk with them or run them during the hot summer months, always be aware of their mortality.

Halti Head Harness

The Company of Animals Halti Head Collar, Black
The Company of Animals Halti Head Collar, Black

I strongly recommend the Halti for dogs. I have used this product for many years for each dog that I have owned. It is a purely painless way of controling even the largest of dogs. Comfortable and well made, it works on the same idea as controlling a horse, but without the bit. A tiny nudge on the leash forces the dog to turn where you want it to turn, without any pain or fuss. Excellent product for any dog owner that wants to enjoy the whole exercise experience. Comes in different sizes (small, medium and large) for different sized dogs.

 

Any season, rain or shine. A dog is usually up for a good romp, whether on the street or in the backyard. Make it a daily experience, not a chore. Playing inside the house usually does not give a dog what he or she needs as space is somewhat limited and the hazards of furniture could cause bodily injury. If you play inside, keep safety in mind. Outside, be careful of trees. Many dogs, when chasing a ball or a frisbee, forget how hard a tree can be and can smash into them. Such accidents can cause injury and sometimes even death. Be careful, play safe. But....PLAY!

© 2016 Susan May Gudge

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