How can I Prevent Weight Gain in my Pet After Neuter or Spay Surgery?


My cat was just neutered. I want to make sure that I’m taking good care of him so that he can heal properly. Could you give me some tips? For example, should I feed him a special diet for awhile? How long does it take for him to heal? Also, how soon can he take a bath?

Los Angeles

I realize that the title of this post is only tangentially related to Nikki’s questions. I will answer all of the questions in this post, but Nikki’s e-mail reminded me of an article that appeared in the November, 2008 NAVC Clinician’s Brief.

The article discussed the tendency of pets to gain wait after they are spayed or neutered. The authors of the article reached a conclusion that is relevant to Nikki and to anyone whose pet has recently been spayed or neutered: the key to preventing obesity in spayed and neutered pets appears to be keeping them slim in the time period immediately after surgery.

Nikki, your cat does not need a special diet as he is recovering from surgery. However, be careful not to over feed him for the next several months. Monitor his weight, and cut back his food if his body fat increases.

There are several other steps you can take to help prevent complications during your cat’s recovery. All pets should be kept quiet for at least a week after undergoing spay or neuter surgery (cats should be kept indoors and dogs should be kept on leash). Prevent your cat from licking the incision excessively–in some cases, an Elizabethan collar is necessary. Unless a pet is thoroughly soiled, it should not be bathed until the incision has completely healed. This can take up to two weeks.

Finally, be sure to follow any post-operative instructions that your veterinarian may have provided.

Photo: Tiger is looking sharp in her Elizabethan collar.

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