My Dog Ate A Treat Before Surgery What Should I Do?

By Tom •  Updated: 09/17/22 •  3 min read
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Dog Ate A Treat Before Surgery

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When your dog needs to have surgery, it can be scary. There’s no question about it. Most pet parents are concerned about the anesthesia their dog will receive during the procedure.

Before the surgery, your vet will provide instructions that should be followed. These are meant to get your dog’s body ready for the operation and are meant to keep him safe. One of the most common instructions is not to allow your dog to eat before a procedure.

Has your dog eaten a treat before surgery? Are you worried the treat will make your dog sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand this can be scary when your fur baby’s going to have an operation.

We’ve put together some information about why a dog shouldn’t eat before surgery and what you can do to help your dog. Let’s get started!

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Why Can’t Dogs Eat Before Surgery?

A dog’s stomach needs to be empty before he has anesthesia. Anesthetic medications can cause vomiting in some dogs, leading to pneumonia. That may sound strange but read on.

When a dog is under anesthesia, he relaxes. This includes body functions; however, the brain keeps your fur baby’s heart and lungs working.

When the larynx relaxes, this can allow anything from your dog’s digestive system (vomit) to come back up and go into his windpipe. He is then inhaling vomit into his lungs. This process is called aspiration. Vomit in the lungs is extremely dangerous. This is why the vet tells you not to let your dog eat before surgery.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Before Surgery

Accidents can happen, and someone may accidentally feed your fur baby a treat before surgery. It’s also possible your dog could help himself to his snacks!

If this happens, be sure to call the vet right away. The vet will decide whether it’s safe to proceed with the procedure or not. It’s essential to follow the vet’s direction on this, even if it means rescheduling the surgery.

This way, your dog will have a much safer surgery if he’s not eaten anything beforehand. And his recovery will be faster and safer if he doesn’t have to fight off a life-threatening infection like pneumonia.

And if your dog likes to help himself to his treats, you may want to make sure to store these out of his reach. We always say prevention is the best medicine!

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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