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According to a recent poll by the ASPCA, nearly 1 in 5 households acquired a cat or dog since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adopting a pet is exciting, but can come with a lot of questions. What's the best food for my pet? Should I have my pet spayed or neutered? What most pet owners don't realize is that these questions are actually very linked.
Spaying and neutering is an important first step in new pet ownership; these procedures are endorsed by the veterinary community because of their positive effects including medical and behavioral benefits as well as population management. What is important to remember, however, is that when pets are spayed or neutered, their reproductive organs are removed, which has a long-term impact on the pet's metabolism, as well as its appetite.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Nearly 90% of US pets are spayed or neutered which comes with many benefits including decreased risk for mammary and testicular cancers, and eliminating the risk of life-threatening uterine infections.
- Nutritional needs change significantly after a pet has been spayed or neutered. In fact, spayed and neutered dogs and cats are at 2-3x the risk of becoming obese vs. intact pets (dogs 2x, cats 3x).
- After being spayed or neutered, dogs and cats need less calories (up to 30% less), but they may feel like they need even more than they did pre-procedure (up to 60% increase).
- Decreased metabolism combined with increased appetite can lead pets to eat significantly more calories than their metabolic rate can support. This is a recipe for weight gain over time.
- Unfortunately, feeding less — a common solution to weight gain — can leave pets feeling hungry or even result in nutrient deficiencies (malnutrition).
- Virbac’s VETERINARY HPM Spay & Neuter Diets are lifelong diets that deliver the right balance of calories and nutrients to help pets feel full and support a healthy metabolism. The diets help pet owners take a proactive approach to keep pets at a healthy weight throughout their lives.
MORE ABOUT DR. STACI SCOLAVINO
Dr. Staci Scolavino graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Prior to veterinary school, she worked as a research technician at Harvard Medical School and co-authored three novel scientific publications. After graduation, Dr. Scolavino completed an internship at Oradell Animal Hospital and then practiced as an associate veterinarian at Red Bank Veterinary Hospital. To pursue her passion for nutrition and research, Dr. Scolavino joined Royal Canin as a Scientific Services Veterinarian. She worked primarily with their diet lines by developing scientific reasoning for veterinarians, stakeholders and the general public. Currently, she is working as Medical Communications Manager for Nutrition at Virbac US to help teach the veterinary community and pet owners about the positive impact tailored nutrition has on pet health.