What Can You Do To Prepare Your Pet For Surgery?

Jun 07, 2018

What Can You Do To Prepare Your Pet For Surgery?

Pet surgery can be scary for owners, but preparing a pet for his or her upcoming surgery can help keep pet owners calm. AESC wants pet owners to know how to prepare their pets for surgery to put all parties at ease throughout the process.


When you find out that your pet needs surgery, you will want to make sure you fully understand everything that is involved before the operation takes place. Your veterinary surgeon can explain the process and tell you everything that will be involved in that particular procedure.

Most surgical procedures will require some form of anesthesia. General anesthesia is best used on animals with an empty stomach, so your veterinarian will probably tell you to withhold food from your pet for at least 12 hours leading up to the pet surgery. The reason that veterinarians tell you to fast your dog or cat is because anesthesia decreases the swallowing reflex, which increases the risk of your pet vomiting during or after the procedure.

Your veterinarian will also be able to tell you whether or not your dog or cat can take existing medications before the surgery. Ask your veterinarian if you need to bring your pet’s medication to the appointment.

Before the surgery, you will want to know about any post-surgical restrictions that your pet will need so that you are prepared when the surgery is over. Some operations will require that pet be confined to a small room or pen to prevent too much movement. Your pet may also need additional bedding to stay comfortable during their recovery time.

The morning of the surgery, your vet may ask you to drop your pet off fairly early in the day regardless of the surgery time. During this time, your veterinarian may do a number of tests, such as a physical exam, a blood test, and x-rays. Your pet is likely to get an IV catheter and IV fluids. Veterinarians will also need to properly calculate the amount of anesthesia that will be required for the pet surgery. There may even be more things that your veterinarian wants to take care of before the surgery.

Be sure to leave a phone number that you will be available at before you leave the clinic the morning of the surgery. Your veterinarian may need to be able to reach you during the procedure, and they will want to call to let you know when you can pick up your pet.



When your pet arrives at the veterinary clinic for surgery, the veterinarian will run any tests that they deem necessary, and then prepare your dog or cat for surgery. Sometimes, pets are given a sedative to calm them before the surgery. Often, the surgeon will need to shave a small patch of fur on one of your pet’s legs to place an IV and the surgery site will be shaved or trimmed, as well as sanitized. The veterinarian will place an IV catheter and then start anesthesia. A nurse will monitor your pet’s vitals throughout the surgery and recovery.

When your pet starts to wake up, veterinary nurses will stay with him or her to make sure that they are comforted and pain-free. Your pet will stay here while they wait to be picked up.



After surgery, your pet is taken into a dry, warm area where they are monitored while they recover from the anesthesia. You will be updated post-surgery, so you know how the surgery went and how your pet is recovering.

When you pick up your pet, a veterinarian will go over the post-operative home care with you again. In most cases, you won’t be required to stay home all day with your pet. It is likely that you will have to administer medications, as all pets are given pain medication and some an antibiotic if needed after surgery.

AESC, located in Parker, Colorado, has a staff of dedicated surgical professionals that would love to help your pet throughout the surgery process. Our team will give your pet exceptional care before, during, and after the surgery. We also offer an anesthesia recovery suite where your pet can recover comfortably from anesthetics while being accompanied and closely monitored by our experienced team. Call us today if your pet is in need of surgery at 720-842-5050.