How to properly prepare a dog or cat for surgery?

Each procedure under general anesthesia is a great event in the life of the animal and its owner. Did you know that anesthesia is a multi-stage process that starts at home? It includes, among other things, following recommendations regarding fasting or administering medications prescribed by a veterinarian. How to properly prepare a dog/cat for surgery?

Anesthesiology consultation

Before anaesthesia, there should always be a qualifying visit, during which the anesthesiologist will conduct a thorough interview with the owner, assess the animal’s health condition, order additional tests, and will initially plan the entire procedure, including determining the anesthetic risk according to the so-called ASA classification. During the visit, the owner also receives an anesthesia questionnaire – with questions about the animal’s general health condition and the history of previous anesthesia – the information obtained on its basis allows to select the optimal and the safest anesthesia protocol.

Additional tests

In the vast majority of cases, it is necessary to perform additional tests before qualifying the patient for the procedure. The minimum required are current blood tests (morphology, basic biochemistry +/- other parameters ordered by the doctor). Breeds predisposed to cardiac diseases and older pets should additionally undergo echocardiography. In some cases, other tests are necessary, e.g. ultrasound/X-ray.


Preparing an animal for surgery also involves following dietary recommendations. Before the procedure, cats should routinely be fasted for 4-6 hours and dogs for 6-8 hours. The last meal should be small – no more than 1/3 of the usual portion, and the food itself should be easily digestible and delicate on the digestive tract – preferably wet food in mushed form.


If your veterinarian recommends pharmacological treatment before the procedure, you must be strictly compliant recommended doses, hours and routes of drug administration.

On the day of the procedure

On the day of the procedure, you must arrive at the clinic for at least 10-15 minutes before the planned reception time. We encourage dog owners to weigh their dogs in the waiting room. We remind you to take the completed anesthetic questionnaire with you!