Dogs Food

My Dog Ate Before Neutering

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In this article, you will know the answer to the query “My Dog Ate Before Neutering“.

The process of preparing your dog for neutering can be a very stressful one. 

It’s not just the pre-surgery instructions you must follow to the letter, but also the feeling that you must somehow make him up. 

When you know what kind of surgery your beloved pet will have the next day, how can you refuse him a small treat? 

What can happen if your dog eats something before surgery? Is it bad? Should it be rescheduled? 

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As you can see, there is no simple answer to this question, and if you check out what various experts say, you’ll find that their opinions and recommendations differ.

Hopefully, we can shed some light on this question that so many pet parents have.

What Can Happen if a Dog Eats Before Surgery?

When dogs are under general anaesthesia, vets will instruct owners to keep food and water away from them before surgery (not just neutering, but any type of surgery). This will prevent the animal from vomiting.

Various types of anaesthetics are used by doctors, but they all work the same way. 

The problem is that the brain does not maintain all of the dog’s vital functions, such as breathing and heartbeat, while the dog is under anaesthesia. 

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These include the gag reflex, which is suppressed. If the dog vomits during surgery, there is a risk that the stomach’s contents will be inhaled into the lungs by the anaesthetic. 

There is the possibility that your dog will get aspiration pneumonia, which is bad enough but treatable. 

The worst thing is when the stomach content gets into the lungs and the dog chokes to death.

In summary, the vet advised you to remove your dog’s food and water the night before surgery so that he goes into surgery on an empty stomach.

He won’t suffocate even if he vomits if there isn’t anything to regurgitate.

How long should a dog be starved before going into surgery?

The reason why a dog shouldn’t eat before surgery is easy to understand, but deciding how long to let him starve is a bit more complicated. 

It isn’t uncommon for vets to say no food (or water) after 6 pm, others to set an 8-9 pm deadline, while others extend the time limit to midnight.

You as a pet owner are not only confused, but also frustrated by this situation. 

At the end of the day, you have to take away the dog’s food at 6 pm, refuse him any water, and then take him to the vet the next day, again without giving him a bite to eat or a drop of water.

How reasonable is it? Let’s find out!

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In its ‘What to Expect’ handout, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) recommends practitioners decide for themselves how long dogs should be without food and water.

You will be instructed to withhold food for a certain period of time to reduce the risk of regurgitation and aspiration. 

Additionally, depending on the veterinarian, you might be instructed to keep your pet from drinking.

There is no official guidance offered by them. 

The choice is up to the vet, which is why some tell you to starve your dog starting at 6 pm and others recommend midnight. 

Yes, those six hours do make a huge difference for you and especially for your dog. 

How does the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) view the issue? 

In their clinics, they also perform spaying and neutering and are definitely more humane. 

It is told to you that you do not have to starve your dog before scheduling a procedure with them. 

You can give him something to eat in the morning, before you leave for the clinic. Your dog can drink water all the way up to the time of surgery.

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How long should you starve a puppy before neutering? 

If you look at the AAHA client handout mentioned above they clearly admit that young dogs don’t need to fast as long as older ones before surgery. 

The reason is that older pets have a slower metabolism and it takes them longer to digest food. 

Besides, their energy reserves are greater than those of younger animals. 

Now most dogs undergoing neutering or spaying are young and healthy with a good metabolism. 

A small dog shouldn’t be made to fast from 6 pm if he’s going to have surgery at noon the next day.

According to the ASPCA, puppies four months of age or younger should be given half their usual breakfast on the day of their surgery, while dogs five months or older should receive a quarter of their usual meal. 

As far as the ASPCA is concerned, there are no restrictions on water, and this makes sense, especially when it comes to young pups who are at a greater risk for dehydration. 

What to do if your dog eats before surgery?

ASPCA guidelines may look good, but you might put your veterinarian in trouble by following them. 

It’s important that you tell your doctor about offering your pet a quick treat way past the deadline set by your veterinarian if you cannot resist the pleading eyes. 

You can’t let that happen to your dog!

Most of the time, the vet will decide whether or not surgery can be performed. 

As the one who disobeyed their order, he will give you the stink eye. 

In reality, a dog can be anesthetized even if he ate something, but that will require a lot of effort on the part of the doctor. 

They will need to keep an eye on the dog in case he vomits and make sure he doesn’t choke.

Even if the dog ate a large meal an hour before, a vet will perform emergency surgery if the animal needs it. 

When doctors are very strict and insist a dog should not eat anything from 6 p.m. the previous day onward, they just want to make sure they won’t have any problems with the dog vomiting during the procedure. 

If your vet won’t perform the surgery because you didn’t starve your dog, you can only reschedule or find another more understanding vet.

Should I give my dog his meds before surgery?

Your veterinarian should be consulted about this. In the event that your dog has a condition that requires daily medication, the vet will review the medications your pet is taking. 

The veterinarian might tell you to skip one or two doses, but in other cases, they will tell you to administer the drugs as prescribed. 

At the same time, if your dog has diabetes, you should speak to your veterinarian about how starving might affect him and how to adjust his insulin levels. 

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Should I bathe my dog before surgery?

That would indeed be an excellent idea. 

You should first make sure that your dog is as clean as possible to prevent infection. 

It will take a few days for the wound to heal and you will not want it to come in contact with dirty fur. The vet will shave and disinfect the surgical area. 

Meanwhile, you won’t be able to give your dog a bath until the wound is completely healed, so it will probably be at least a week before you can bathe him. 

The dog’s bedding should also be cleaned and disinfected for the same reasonsYou should let him rest in a nice clean bed once he gets home from surgery. 

I suggest letting him rest in a clean bed when he gets home from surgery.

Should I take the dog out before surgery?

The day before surgery, many vets recommend that the dog be restrained. 

It’s meant to prevent him from getting sore muscles after surgery, which would only make things worse for him.

Take the dog out the night before surgery on a leash so he doesn’t eat anything he might find on the street. 

The same is true for the morning of the procedure, especially if he hasn’t eaten since sunset the night before.

You could also consider crate training your dog for a few days or sectioning off part of your house. 

To allow the wound to heal properly, the vet will probably recommend that the dog limit their physical activity. 

Can I feed the dog after neutering surgery?

You may find that your pet is not interested in food after the procedure since he will still be confused from the anaesthetic. 

However, there are dogs that are ravenous when they get home.

Even if you know your dog is famished, avoid giving him a large meal. 

Feed him small portions of his normal meal at regular intervals, like every hour or so. 

Make sure the food will be easily digestible and won’t cause any problems. 

It’s not the time to give your dog treats that could make him sick, or foods that he hasn’t had before.

Continue to feed him his normal chow for the time being.

Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with giving your dog something to eat past the time indicated by your vet.

When your veterinarian told you to take your pet’s food and water away at 6 pm, remember that other doctors say 9 pm is fine, while others see no issue with a treat right before midnight. 

Please note that these instructions are not definitive. 

You should inform the vet if you don’t follow the instructions to the letter. 

During surgery, they are responsible for your dog, so they need to know if there is a risk that the dog might vomit. 

If you want to read more about dog food tips, read here: Dog Food Tips and Tricks.

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