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Feeding a sterilized dog, key to avoid being overweight

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Castration reduces some behavioral problems in dogs, such as aggressiveness, although it can increase the risk of being overweight

  • Author: By EVA SAN MARTÍN
  • Publication date: April 19, 2013

The dog tries to ride almost any dog ​​he finds during his walks. And rubs insistently with stuffed animals and other clothes at home. What to do? Sterilization slows these sexual behaviors of the dog but, also, reduce other behavioral problems, such as aggressiveness, experts say. This article explains how the character of a sterilized dog changes. As well why some dogs lose the desire to play and how to avoid it.

"Help! My dog ​​tries to ride all the dogs, females and males, which he finds during outdoor walks." "He even rubbed with towels, stuffed animals and forgotten clothes that wanders around the house." These complaints are frequent among owners of non-sterilized dogs. What to do?

Sterilization slows the sexual instinct of dogs and other problems, such as barking, escaping and aggressiveness

Sterilization is the most effective way to curb the sexual instinct of dogs and bitches. When the dog is male, this simple surgery involves removing your testicles. In females the intervention is somewhat more complicated, since it involves removing the uterus. In both cases, however, sterilization must be performed by a trusted veterinarian.

Castration is also the most effective way to stop the abandonment of animals - more than 110,000 dogs each year in Spain, according to a study by the Affinity Foundation - as it avoids raising unwanted litters.

However, many questions arise before the operation. Between them, How will sterilization affect the character of the furry friend?

Sterilization reduces behavioral problems in the dog

A sterilized dog does not have to become more lazy or serious

The confusions and doubts about the possible changes of character that follow the sterilization of the dog are numerous. Some owners of dogs fear that, after castration, their furry friends will become lazy, more serious and suddenly lose their desire to play.

However, experts point out that this not only does not usually occur but also sterilization can help reduce more or less serious dog behavior problems. Among them, the constant barking, the escapes in the park that end up astray and some destruction at home.

"Many behavioral problems are reduced and even disappear after sterilization," said scientists Heidenberger and Unshelm, from the University of Ludwig-Maximilians, in "Changes in dog behavior after sterilization."

Behavioral disturbances are usually, however, more pronounced in males (three out of four dogs experience them) than in females (just over half).

The most striking change of behavior of the dog is usually the control of his sexual instinct, since castration usually loses the desire to run after the dogs in heat in the park.

The aggressiveness is reduced after the castration of the dog

The aggressiveness of dogs has many different causes. Animal abuse is one of them. In addition, a dog that suffers pain, for some disease, it is not strange that it is unfriendly.

61% of male dogs are friendlier to other congeners after castration

Another frequent cause of aggressiveness in dogs is the competition for a sexual partner. The rivalry between dogs and bitches for achieving the attention of other congeners is markedly reduced with the sterilization of the dog. And, with her, also fights and aggressiveness.

The reduction of the sexual instinct of the dog implies that the furry companion no longer needs to compete to capture the interest of other dogs and bitches. So you can relax, and enjoy the company of other four-legged friends without so much stress.

61% of male dogs are friendlier to other congeners after castration. And the same happens to 51% of females.

Sterilization, however, does not work miracles: a canine educator is essential when there are conflicts of behavior, and can be of great help, especially in the most complicated cases.

Sterilized dogs that gain weight and play less

Dog obesity is a chronic disease that affects between 20 and 40% of dogs, according to the World Association of Small Animal Veterinarians (WSAVA).

The risk of being overweight, however, grows for sterilized dogs and dogs. 42% of male dogs, as well as 30% of females increase food intake once neutered, according to the research of Heidenberger and Unshelm.

This increase in the amount of food requested by the furry friend leads to an almost inevitable increase in weight. In addition, as occurs in people, dog obesity implies a decreasing physical activity: the overweight dog gets tired before and reduces his desire to play.

Therefore, we must prevent obesity of the dog with adequate food and exercise that requires. Although, once it appears, it is essential to learn how to feed an overweight dog, to reduce as soon as possible this condition that significantly damages their quality of life.

Losing weight with the right diet and motivating the furry companion with stimulating dog games is the best way for the sterilized dog to regain its size. And, with her, her desire to play.

Feed a sterilized dog to be healthy

Sterilized dog foods should be less caloric and more satiating, because they tend to get fat

Sterilization provides dogs with health benefits, as it prevents diseases, such as mammary tumors in the case of females or pathologies related to the prostate in males.

Information about the changes experienced by the body of a castrated dog is key to understanding the importance of a proper diet. The food market offers specific varieties for sterilized dogs with the following characteristics: low in calories and satiating properties that help maintain a balanced diet that prevents your obesity.

But to get it, you have to complement it with other guidelines like the ones detailed below.

Control the sterilized dog's body weight

Weight control should be done through periodic measurements, to verify that you have the right kilos according to your size and age.

"A can sterilized can increase your body weight by 30%, if you eat uncontrollably and do not have enough physical activity, "explains José Luis Blázquez, veterinarian and advisor to the Official College of Veterinarians of Madrid.

Rationing the dog's feed

"It is advisable to follow the instructions of the canine feed packages on the recommended rations according to their weight", advises Ignacio Arija, expert in animal nutrition and professor of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid.

The vet is very helpful to the owners of sterilized dogs at the time of orienting on the amounts of food that their pet should eat in order to avoid being overweight or obese.

"The feed can be weighed on a small scale or use a food meter to fit as much as possible to the right portions that the sterilized can eat daily, "says Arija.

Sometimes it may be more advisable. distribute the amount of feed daily in more portions, so that the dog keeps his appetite better controlled. If he ate three times a day before sterilization, the distribution can now be increased to five servings.

However, one of the greatest dangers for a castrated dog to increase his body weight above what is convenient is the pecking. "There are owners who, in the consultation, claim to ignore the reason why their dog is obese if they eat the amount of feed indicated by the veterinarian, but forget that the pieces of cheese, bread or meat between hours add up to many calories throughout of the week, "says Arija.

The sterilized dog with proper activity

"Sterilized dogs are still as active as before, but their appetite increases and their metabolic rate is reduced," explains José Luis Blázquez, veterinarian. Thus, It is advisable that these animals maintain their physical activity or even increase it in a moderate way to avoid excess kilos.

When a dog is sterilized, the additional energy expenditure that occurs when the male is nervous and loses his appetite ceases because he senses a female in heat. The same happens to the female: she spends extra energy, due to the hormonal change she experiences and that causes her anxiety and restlessness. "All that extra energy that sterilized dogs no longer spend is what can cause overweight, if it is not compensated with an adequate and well rationed food, as well as with a sufficient amount of physical activity, "says Arija.

Decrease aggression and territorial behavior

After sterilization, dogs mark their territory less since they do not feel that desire. This is very favorable if your dog continues to mark the territory inside the house. In addition, a dog that has been sterilized also shows less aggressiveness, since this is closely linked to the increase in testosterone. By not having to compete for the attention of females, their aggressiveness decreases greatly.

Dogs run less

Non-sterilized dogs have a much more marked sexual instinct, which means they can escape to go see a female dog who is in heat. Thanks to the sterilization of dogs, the animal is less likely to decide to leave home. Instinct decreases with intervention.

Behavior change

Having no sexual competitors, dogs are more sociable, especially males. They do not have to mark their territory or impose themselves, so the relationship with the other dogs in the neighborhood will also benefit.

Isn't it the same to castrate than to sterilize?

We refer to castration and sterilization interchangeably, but is not the same. Sterilizing means leaving the animal without the possibility of procreating, but that can be achieved with the techniques used in human medicine called "tubal ligation" in females, or with "vasectomy" in males.

The gonads would still be there and if these techniques were used in dogs they would continue to produce hormones and making the animal respond to its instinct to reproduce. And that is precisely what we want to avoid, as well as the action of sex hormones that eventually cause many diseases in female dogs (breast tumors, uterine infections.), And in dogs (prostate hyperplasia), in addition to marking, aggressiveness or tendency to escape.

Therefore, even if we talk about care in freshly sterilized dogs, and use that term as a synonym for castrates on a regular basis, we must remember that it is not the same, and that what brings benefits for our dog is castration.

To remove the ovaries and the uterus you must access the abdominal cavity, so our dog will return home with one or several incisions in the abdomen. The surgery can be performed:

  • By laparoscopy: We will see two small incisions above and below the navel, which we must monitor the days after the intervention. They will tell us to clean the incisions with serum every day, until the stitches are removed. Sometimes the points will be reabsorbed alone without the need to remove them.
  • Conventional approach in midline of abdomen: We will observe a small incision a few centimeters below the navel. The size will depend on the size of the dog, whether she has been jealous or not, whether she is thin or obese.
  • Flank Approach: We will observe the incisions behind the ribs.

In any case, regardless of the technique, they will ask us that our dog does not access the points the following days, wearing Elizabethan collar or cotton shirts To avoid licking. We will also be prescribed postoperative analgesics (meloxicam, carprofen.), And according to the veterinarian's criteria, you can indicate an antibiotic for the following days.

The dogs should recover in a quiet, warm and comfortable place for a few days, where the appearance of the incisions can be checked daily (if there is suppuration, if inflammation, redness, heat appears.) And where we can observe the possible appearance of abnormalities after surgery If it's a dog that lives on a farm, they'll ask us to take her to our house for at least a week.

If the incision has been very large, despite the pain relievers, it can cost you to have a bowel movement, so sometimes they can indicate a soft diet and some oral lubricant, such as olive oil in the food. They will emphasize the need for report any adverse reactions to the drugs that guide us (vomiting, diarrhea.), and to avoid too abrupt games, jumps or uncontrolled races for at least a week, since no matter how small the incision, a hernia can always appear.

Won't the males chase her anymore?

Be very careful the first days. If the dog was close to her next heat, or in the days after it, she will continue to officially smell a "female available" for some time and the males will continue to harass her. It is best to give some 7-10 days before joining it with the rest of canine friends in the park or recreation areas.

Sometimes, the special hormonal cycle of bitches plays tricks and breast milk may appear after surgery, and / or maternal behavior, known as pseudogestation or psychological pregnancy. Our veterinarian will tell us how to proceed in both cases, which although infrequent, can be quite annoying for our dog.

In the case of males the testicles are removed by a incision in front of the scrotum (leather bag that covers them). Other veterinarians choose to perform it on the scrotum, but it is not such a popular technique. Since it is not necessary to access the abdominal cavity, dogs generally recover faster, but the recommendation to recover in a warm and quiet environment and control physical activity a few days, it is the same for males and females.

We will be scheduled a post-surgical analgesic type meloxicam a few days (some less than in females), and monitor the incision for at least a week. Oral antibiotics are not usually rewritten to take at home, but each specific case depends. The stitches can be removed after 7-9 days, or can be absorbed (they disappear on their own after a longer or shorter period of time).

The monitoring of the appearance of vomiting and / or diarrhea in the days after surgery are the same for both sexes. In the case of the male, the surgery is shorter and usually has less post-surgical medication, so the risks of these symptoms diminish, but do not disappear.

They will recommend us monitor the appearance of bruises in the scrotum, because of the pressure exerted on it to extract the testicles, as well as the appearance of rashes or irritation in the area of ​​the scrotum and surroundings (it is the most sensitive skin of our dog's body, and it is necessary to depilate it for surgery) .

Should males wear Elizabethan collar?

Of course, it is necessary for the dog to wear an Elizabethan collar the days after surgery, or the itching that arises after shaving the hair and being reborn, will drive them to lick Taking the stitches away. And by "drying out," the stitches may pull the skin slightly and make them somewhat annoying.

And if bruises or irritations appear?

Creams for irritations similar to those of babies can help us if irritation appears in the scrotum, but should never be applied to the points or near the area of ​​the incision. Some ointments for bruises that contain a product that releases clots (pentosan) may be advisable if a scrotal hematoma appears.

Won't you chase females after castration?

The days after surgery, male dogs still fertile, so it is recommended to exercise caution and avoid going to areas with females without neutering the week after the intervention. In addition, it will take a few weeks to remove all hormones from the blood, and it should not be stirred after a general anesthetic when smelling females in heat.

As always, every dog ​​is a world. These basic cares that we propose from Expert Animal can complement those that your veterinarian indicates, do not hesitate to consult with the specialist any abnormal situation What happens after the sterilization of your dog.

This article is purely informative, at ExpertAnimal.com we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Care of freshly sterilized dogs, we recommend that you enter our Prevention section.

Care in the first 24 hours after the sterilization operation

Dog sterilization is something that entails many advantages and it supposes very few inconveniences, to say none. Of course, sterilization, like any other operation, requires a series of care so that the dog recovers quickly and there are no complications. In this post you can learn all about care after dog sterilization, from the postoperative period until its full recovery.

Avoid making efforts

First of all, you should remember that your dog has undergone a strong anesthetic so that the operation does not cause any pain. For this reason, you should not be alarmed when you see your dog after the operation. The anesthesia will still take effect until some time later. So at first you will be sleepy, with clumsy movements. Don't be scared, just keep it well observed until it spreads. Avoid making extra efforts. Take him home and let him rest.

Light feeding

For these days, try eat little and something that is not too heavy. It will be some time without much appetite. You may even vomit sometime. Don't worry, it's totally normal. He will recover his appetite when the anesthesia effect has completely passed. That is, the day after the operation you will eat again as before. However, it is also possible that the dog does not defecate in two or three days. Nothing to worry about.

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