What to Do Before Pet Surgery: A Straightforward Guide

Bringing pets in for surgery can be difficult. Here is a thorough guide on what to do before having surgery on your pet.

What should pet owners be aware of before the procedure?

You transport your pet for surgery. What does that feel like to you? Even if your pet is having routine surgery, being “emotional” probably best describes how you think because leaving the clinic without your pet is the worst. However, knowing that your pet receives the best care  possible from a reputable veterianry surgery clinic is comforting.

What kinds of surgery are there?

One of three types of surgery may be necessary for your pet at some point in his life. Depending on the procedure you select for your pet, spaying or neutering may be included. The surgical procedure recommended by the vet for your pet’s health and well-being, such as removing a tumor, is not elective but can be planned.

Emergency surgery is an option if your pet suffers an injury or conflicts with another animal. In the worst-case scenario, you need more time to get your pet ready for surgery, but you still need to know how to look after it while it is recovering.

How should you prepare your pet for surgery?

First, assist your vet by giving your pet the best possible pre-op care. Even though the surgery is sterile, you would be surprised how many dogs are brought in for it in filthy conditions. Naturally, the pet is cleaned, clipped, and prepared before shaving.

But if its level of hygiene is “muddy,” your pet will need to undergo unnecessary anesthesia to get clean enough to scrub up. Here is where the mature person comes into play. Believe it or not, what you do (or do not do) 24 hours before an operation can affect how safely your pet’s procedure goes.

Preventive care for your pet is crucial to keep health problems from developing. Check this link for more information on preventive care, or talk to your veterinarian.

The pet must fast for the procedure.

You have control over a situation that could result in death. Never feed your pet the morning of surgery unless the veterinarian specifically instructs you. Cats and dogs are both subject to this rule. (For instance, guinea pigs or rabbits should never be starved before surgery.)

Due to the loss of their ability to swallow during anesthesia, dogs and cats must be empty before receiving anesthesia. The dog or cat cannot eat vomit if the stomach contracts and forces it into the mouth. They risk breathing vomit into their lungs if they do not have a tube.

Inhaled vomits result in two problems:

  • The patient suffocates as a result of the obstruction of their airway.
  • Pneumonia can be fatal when stomach acid enters the lungs.

You can easily prevent this if you deprive your pet of food for the night. 

  • The usual advice is to eat your last meal of the day before, preferably before 10 p.m.
  • Water can be used overnight, but remove the bowl around 7 a.m.
  • No breakfast or snacks. 
  • No treats in the morning.

Consult your veterinarian for detailed instructions if your pet has a medical condition that makes restricting food challenging (such as diabetes). Starved animals can still experience gastric reflux while under anesthesia, but there is less chance of severe side effects when the stomach is empty.

The valves that seal off the stomach also relax while under anesthesia. While the animal is sleeping, it is not unusual for some stomach acid to leak into the gullet. The natural esophageal defenses keep the acid from the delicate tissue if the procedure is done quickly.

The pet could, however, experience heartburn-like symptoms for longer procedures. Drooling, vomiting after eating, and loss of appetite are some post-surgery symptoms. It’s typically successfully treated with antacid medication.

You can ask your local veterinarian for recommendations if you’re looking for services and treatments for hard-working horses.


Before surgery, you might want to starve your pet. Remember that your veterinarian has your back because they have procedures to foresee issues like gastric reflux, reducing the possibility of harm. But let us not add any unnecessary stress or difficulty to life.

Related posts