Is Anesthesia Really That Dangerous For Dogs? The Answer May Surprise You

Is Anesthesia Really That Dangerous For Dogs? The Answer May Surprise You

Anesthesia can be a frightening procedure for humans and dogs alike, and that’s because of the risks associated with it. But is it really that dangerous? Or is the fear justified? Here’s what you need to know.


Minor surgeries or treatments will usually be very quick and your dog won’t be under for long, but more complex procedures will take up more time. Your pup should be intubated – a breathing tube inserted into their windpipe through their mouth – so they get enough oxygen.

Most of the time, a veterinarian administers anesthesia, but ask anyway who is performing it. Vet offices also have emergency materials at the ready in the event that things go south.

Questions To Ask A Vet

Before the procedure, you should ask your vet the following questions:

  • Will your dog be receiving IV fluids?
  • Will any blood work be necessary? When?
  • How will your dog be monitored?
  • Who is monitoring your dog while they are in the procedure? What are their credentials and training?
  • During recovery, how will your dog be observed?

Anesthesia Facts and Figures

Approximately 0.15% of dogs average eight years of age who undergo anesthesia will pass away due to it. Factors that affect the risks include:

  • Emergency anesthesia increases risk by 3
  • Dogs over the age of 12 face increased risks by 7
  • Already ill dogs face increased risks by 7
  • Brachycephalic breeds face increased risks by 8
  • Complex surgeries increase risk by 5
  • Dogs weighing 10 pounds or less face increased risks by 8

Most dogs pass away after the procedure, not while under anesthesia. More than 50% of recorded anesthesia deaths happen within the first 3 recovery hours, and the rest occur within 48 hours.

Feature Image Source: Pixabay

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