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Spayed & Neutered Pet Care

Spayed & Neutered Pet Care

Getting ready to spay or neuter your pet? Here are some guidelines on what to expect.

Preparing for Spay or Neuter

B2C_4.0_Section1_250x250.pngMost veterinary healthcare teams begin discussing spay and neuter with their clients during the puppy and kitten visits.

These are just a few things to consider.

When to Spay or Neuter

One question that is frequently asked is "When do I spay or neuter my pet?".  This decision can vary a lot  based on the type of pet.  While general guidance is available, ask your veterinarian what is right for your pet.



General Guidance

  • Small dogs before 6 months of age
  • Large dogs after growth stops, dependent on veterinary recommendation
  • Cats by 5 months of age

Did you know? Spaying or neutering your dog or cat reduces their risk for uterine infections, mammary cancer, testicular cancer and prostate disease.1 It also minimizes many potential behavioral issues, from fighting to marking their territory.1-3


What to Expect When You Schedule the Procedure

Your veterinarian will give you detailed instructions about your pet’s upcoming spay or neuter procedure, including pre-procedure recommendations. Most veterinarians advise not letting your adult pet have any food after midnight before the procedure, although they may permit a certain amount of food for a puppy or kitten.1

What to Expect After Spaying or Neutering Your Dog or Cat

B2C_4.0_Section2_250x250.pngPets generally go home the same day as being spayed or neutered, or sometimes the morning after the procedure. You should receive post-procedure care instructions for your pet from your veterinary healthcare team.

Basic Post-Procedure Care

Make sure your dog or cat has a quiet, comfortable indoor spot, just for them. Try to keep your pet from licking or pawing at the surgical site; if your dog or cat persists in licking, use an Elizabethan collar. Keep an eye on your pet’s incision to ensure there is no discharge, redness or excessive swelling. If you do notice any of these signs, or if your pet seems overly uncomfortable or lethargic, contact your veterinarian immediately.1

What Your Pet Experiences: Changes in Metabolism, Appetite & Energy Levels

Having your pet spayed or neutered provides many medical and behavioral benefits for your pet and your life together.1–3 But your pet’s metabolism also slows down after the spay or neuter procedure. This means your pet requires fewer calories per day than they did before the procedure. And that can be hard to balance, since the procedure also causes an increase in appetite. These changes can begin as early as three days after the spay or neuter procedure.4

After being spayed or neutered, your pet's risk of becoming obese increases, either doubling for dogs5 and tripling for cats.6

Of course your pet’s weight doesn’t change how much you love them. But obesity in dogs and cats can lead to diseases and conditions that reduce a pet’s quality of life and can even shorten their life span, such as:

  • Certain cancers7-9
  • Cardiorespiratory disorders7–10
  • Chronic inflammation7–9
  • Diabetes mellitus7–10
  • Insulin resistance7–9
  • Joint and ligament disease7–9
  • Renal disease7–9
Caring for Spayed & Neutered Pets

B2C_4.0_Section3_250x250.pngPart of caring for your pet after spay or neuter means making sure their diet meets their needs. After your pet is spayed or neutered, their needs change significantly. To avoid placing extra stress on your pet, wait until your pet has fully healed from surgery before making a change to their diet (generally 10–14 days post-procedure).


Choose a Diet Tailor-Made for Spayed & Neutered Pets

Your pet needs nutritional support designed to satisfy their appetite and support a healthy metabolism.

VETERINARY HPM® Pet Food does exactly that by:

  • Prioritizing animal protein, which helps support appetite control
  • Incorporating a careful blend of fibers to help your pet feel full for a longer time and (in adult dogs and cats) maintain an optimal weight
  • Including the appropriate number of calories for spayed and neutered pets
  • Supporting a healthy metabolism and healthy digestion

Need help selecting the right diet for your pet? Take our quiz »

Did you know? An increase in protein can naturally cause your pet to drink more water. Always make sure your dog or cat has plenty of fresh drinking water.

How to Switch to VETERINARY HPM® Pet Food

When beginning a new food, it is recommended to make the switch gradually. Start by introducing the new food as a small part of your pet’s regularly scheduled meals. You may increase the ratio of new to old food over a period of five consecutive days, until your dog or cat is fully transitioned to VETERINARY HPM® Pet Food.


Diet Transition Chart Green (1).png

  1. Spay/neuter your pet. ASPCA. Accessed July 27, 2021.
  2. Bukowski JA, Aiello S. Routine Health Care of Dogs. In: Merck Veterinary Manual. Accessed July 29, 2021.
  3. Bukowski JA, Aiello S. Routine Health Care of Cats. In: Merck Veterinary Manual. Accessed July 27, 2021.
  4. Jeusette I, Detilleux J, Cuvelier C, Istasse L, Diaz M. Ad libitum feeding following ovariectomy in female Beagle dogs: effect on maintenance energy requirement and on blood metabolites. J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2004;88(3-4):117-121. Accessed July 7, 2021.
  5. Lefebvre SL, Yang M, Wang M, Elliott DA, Buff PR, Lund EM. Effect of age at gonadectomy on the probability of dogs becoming overweight. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2013;243(2):236-243. Accessed July 8, 2021.
  6. Nguyen PG, Dumon HJ, Siliart BS, Martin LJ, Sergheraert R, Biourge VC. Effects of dietary fat and energy on body weight and composition after gonadectomy in cats. Am J Vet Res. 2004;65(12):1708-1713. Accessed July 7, 2021.
  7. Phungviwatnikul T, Valentine H, de Godoy MRC, Swanson KS. Effects of diet on body weight, body composition, metabolic status, and physical activity levels of adult female dogs after spay surgery. J Anim Sci. 2020;98(3):skaa057. Accessed July 7, 2021.
  8. German A. The growing problem of obesity in dogs and cats. J Nutr. 2006;136(7 Suppl):1940S-1946S. Accessed July 7, 2021.
  9. Toll PW, Yamka RM, Schoenherr WD, Hand MS. Obesity. In: Hand MS, Thatcher CD, Remillard RL, et al., eds. Small Animal Clinical Nutrition. 5th ed. Mark Morris Institute; 2010:501-542. Accessed July 6, 2021.
  10. Wernimont SM, Radosevich J, Jackson MI, et al. The effects of nutrition on the gastrointestinal microbiome of cats and dogs: Impact on health and disease. Front Microbiol. 2020;11:1266. Accessed July 5, 2021.