Neutering is widely believed to cause dogs to become overweight, but recent research throws some doubt on this theory.
In a study, 2,000 neutered dogs were enrolled and categorised into three age of neutering groups namely – less than six months, between six months and one year and over one year.
A total of 1,669 sexually intact dogs were used as a comparison.
The dog’s records were examined up to the point when they were at least 10 years old or until they were diagnosed as overweight.
Age of neutering had no effect on the risk of being overweight but overall neutered dogs were more likely to be overweight than entire dogs.
However this risk was only increased for the first two years after neutering.
Entire male dogs were less likely to be overweight than entire females, but there was no difference in risk between the two sexes in neutered dogs.
It is estimated that as many as 40 per cent of dogs and cats are overweight.
In most cases the underlying cause is a mismatch between the energy intake and energy expenditure.
In other words, too much of the wrong food and too little exercise.
Owners find it very difficult to resist the demand for food but some animals will gorge on food and we end up killing them with kindness.
A study of dogs has shown that only a moderate increase in weight increases the risk of diseases such as osteoarthritis and shortens life span by up to two years.
The management of obesity usually combines a weight loss diet with increasing the daily exercise routine and reducing the number of treats.
Veterinary diets are ideal for the management of obesity because of:
*a higher protein to calorie ratio
*helps to preserve lean body mass
*helps to promote acceptance
*minimises the development of bladder stones in overweight cats
*suitable to prevent the risk of rebound weight gain