Anesthesia in Dogs
Taking the necessary precautions is critical

Anesthesia in dogs will never be without potential risks, but it is much safer today than just a few years ago.

One of the most important factors before actually making the decision to place your dog under using this procedure is taking the necessary precautions.

Discussing it in depth with your veterinarian, and understanding the process.

There are several medical situations that may require anesthesia, and the more understanding an owner has about it, the better prepared they will be for it.

Anesthesia in dogs is a process where there is a total loss of both feeling and sensation, and is primarily associated with the loss of painful sensations.

Because of this, it allows for surgery or certain procedures to be performed without pain in your dog.

There are two basic types of anesthesia; local and general.

Local anesthesia is where a certain area of your dog’s body or tissues is treated so they are totally insensitive to both pain and sensation.

Wrinkles in dogsThere are several steps to prepare for

General anesthesia affects your dog’s entire body and places them in a state of complete relaxation by rendering them unconsciousness.

It also causes a complete loss of any painful sensations.

Preparing both the owner and the dog for this procedure has several steps.


Anesthesia in dogs has several potential risks, but with today’s advances and the proper pre-screening, most, but not all, risks can be prevented.

your dog undergoes either sedation or anesthesia, is will be extremely important for them to have a complete physical.

This will help to determine your dog’s overall health, but this is just the first step.

Some types of anesthesia that may be used are eliminated through your dog’s organs, and because of this, they should also be tested prior to the procedure.

To test for this, your veterinarian will also recommend blood tests as well as chemistry panels to check the overall health of your dog’s kidneys and liver.

These are usually the two most affected organs in the procedure.

An EKG of your dog’s heart should also be done to make sure that it is functioning and beating in normal electrical rhythms to be on the safe side.

These tests are absolutely critical and if they are not offered, you should request them.

If any type of problem is uncovered, it is in the best interest of your dog to wait until they are resolved, or a different type of anesthesia may be used.

These tests will also help to predict both the length as well as the smoothness of your dog’s recovery.

If your dog has had a previous use of anesthesia, your veterinarian will need to know this as well.

By completing this pre-screening process, it will make the procedure much safer for your dog.


Anesthesia in dogs, once the pre-screening has been completed, will now have several stages.

The first stage is the preparation stage or the per-medicated stage.

There are generally several types of pre- medications that are given to your dog prior to the actual general anesthetic.

Your dog is usually given a tranquilizer or a sedative to help them relax, and this is very helpful as by now your dog is most likely very nervous.

Next, your dog may be given a medication to help maintain their heart rate during the anesthesia but it also serves another very important function; decreasing saliva.

Excessive saliva can cause your dog to gag or vomit, both of which can be very dangerous during this procedure.

Pain medications such as morphine are also given in this stage to help with a smoother and much less painful recovery period.

An intravenous catheter is than placed in your dog’s vein to administer inject able anesthetics as well as any needed fluids.

It will also be used if any type of emergency develops.

Anesthesia in dogsFollow yor vets instructions precisely

The next stage of anesthesia in dogs is called the induction stage, and this is where the anesthesia is given rendering your dog unconscious.

Once this is completed, a tube is placed in your dog’s windpipe to allow both oxygen and gas to be given.

If your dog does not receive an injectable anesthetic, the inhalant or gas form will be given with a mask over their face.

Once this is completed, the tube is than placed.

The following stage is called the maintenance stage and this is where the actual surgery is preformed.

Inhalant anesthesia is something all owners should consider, as it allows for more control over the level of anesthesia than does inject able forms, and as such, it is considered safer.

The final stage of anesthesia in dogs is the recovery stage and a good recovery is considered one that has no events.

During this stage your dog’s vital signs will be closely monitored until your dog is awake and is able to stand on their own.

The best method of recovery occurs when your dog is warm and in a very quiet environment.

It is not uncommon that during this stage your dog may vomit or urinate, as well as start to shiver.

Shivering is a good sign and is quite common as your dog’s body is returning to its normal temperature.

The actual rate of recovery will be different in every dog and it all depends on their overall health.

For simple procedures your dog should be fully recovered within 8 hours, while more complicated procedures may take slightly longer.


Anesthesia in dogs will be much more successful if you follow your veterinarians instructions precisely.

Your dog will typically be required to fast from both food and water at least for 6 hours but it is much safer if for 12 hours.

This allows their stomach to empty and helps to prevent both vomiting as well as aspiration. This is a situation where vomit enters into your dog’s lungs which can be extremely dangerous.

The risks

Anesthesia in dogs, even with the best of preparation, will still have some potential risks involved.

The per-examination should uncover most of the potential risks, but it is impossible to know if your dog may have any allergic reaction.

Some of the other potential risks include apnea which is where your dog stops breathing.

This used to be a major concern, but it is very rare today because of the pretesting.

If it does occur, this is why the tubes are placed to very quickly start breathing again.

Low blood pressures as well as a slow heart rate are also potential problems, but they too should be fully detected during per-exam.


Anesthesia in dogs will never be without risk, but unlike several years ago, it is almost always without major incidents.

However, the more you understand the process and then do your part and insist on fasting your dog, the safer it will.

If you or your veterinarian has any major concerns from the testing, simply wait if possible until the underlying situation improves.

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