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Practical information about the nutritional needs of cats and dogs at each life stage, including growth, maintenance, reproduction and aging.

Kitten & Puppy

Decreased Energy Needs in Pets After Spaying or Neutering

Neutering may increase a pet’s risk for becoming overweight. The age when a dog or cat is neutered often corresponds with a natural decrease in the pet’s growth rate and energy needs. Neutered animals also tend to consume more food and have a reduced basal metabolic rate — meaning they require less energy to keep the body functioning at rest. 

White dog eating from bowl

Key Messages

  • It is important to reduce the pet’s caloric intake after spaying/neutering because: 
    • Overweight or obese dogs are at an increased risk of developing a range of chronic illnesses and a decreased length and quality of life.   
    • Overweight cats are more likely to suffer from diabetes mellitus, constipation, orthopedic disease, urinary tract disease and skin disease. 
  • Caloric intake should be reduced by around 30% to account for lower energy needs after spaying/neutering. Thereafter, adjustments should be made to maintain a lean, healthy body condition. 
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"Now that your [dog/cat] has been neutered, you should feed [him/her] a little less. Neutered pets tend to need less energy, but want to eat more, so cutting down on their food intake helps to ensure that they stay lean and healthy."

To Share With Pet Owner:

Evaluating Your Dog’s Body Condition

Assess your dog's Body Condition in just 3 simple steps.​

View Video 1 min to 5 min

Evaluating Your Cat’s Body Condition

Assess your cat's Body Condition in just 3 simple steps.​

View Video 1 min to 5 min

Additional Resources

Salt, C., Morris, P. J., Wilson, D., Lund, E. M., & German, A. J. (2019). Association between life span and body condition in neutered client-owned dogs. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, 33, 89–99.  

Eirmann, L. A. (2014). The challenge of providing feeding recommendations for puppies after neutering. Proceedings of the Purina Companion Animal Nutrition Summit: Nutrition for Life, Austin, Texas, 25–31. 

Larsen, J. A. (2017). Risk of obesity in the neutered cat. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 19(8), 779–783.