A dog may get adverse reactions in the wake of general anesthesia that is used to ease a dental cleaning process. This article completely discusses the pros and cons of giving anesthesia to pets during teeth scaling or cleansing.

A canine needs to be unconscious when taking teeth washing service. General anesthesia is used for this purpose. Anesthesia (lack of feeling, sensation, or pain) makes dental cleaning easy for dogs and veterinarians.

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Before I start to tell you the moderate to severe (fatal) side effects of anesthesia in dogs, I want to clarify its three major types.

Anesthesia (extracted from a Greek word, means “lack of sensation“) has three types;

  • Local Anesthesia is used to numb a localized (or special) part of a body (i.e. tooth, finger, or eye, etc). In this condition, the patient remains awake (and conscious) during the operation.
  • General Anesthesia is used to senseless the whole body and makes a patient sleep for a calculated time period. Anesthetic gases and intravenous (I.V) fluids (medications) are used for this purpose.
  • Regional Anesthesia is commonly used to numb a large (regional) part of a body, for example, abdominal area, leg, arm, or chest area, etc. During this period, the patient remains (partially) conscious.

General anesthesia most commonly used for dental cleaning in dogs. In this condition, a canine completely remains unconscious (slept) and can’t feel pain, or perceive. Anesthesiologists do their job very carefully because a little mistake (that could be an overdose of anesthetic agents) may cause a dog to keep sleep forever.



A dog may feel some common effects in return for having a healthy smile. They include;

  • Drowsiness (that would disappear within few hours)
  • Lack of Appetite (a dog may feel a decrease in appetite that would also overgo within few hours)
  • Laziness (the lack of energy, activeness, and sleepiness are some common effects of general anesthesia in pets)
  • Vomiting & Nausea (if a dog is vomiting after a dental cleaning, you should consult a veterinarian immediately because it can be a sign of a very fatal condition. Dogs stomach should be empty prior to a dental work that has anesthesia, because if a dog has food in the stomach and after the dental work dog vomits there are strong possibilities of aspiration, food may enter in the lungs and cause aspiration pneumonia and other complications.)
  • Decrease in Hearing (a dog may feel sleepy and can neglect your commands because of anesthetic effects for a short period of time following a dental cleaning. You must take care of your friend during that time because it may fell down and get some kind of injury (head injury, nose injury, etc)
A pet may also face the following unwanted consequences in the wake of general anesthesia.

Anaphylaxis or Anaphylactic Shock

Anaphylactic shock could create a life-threatening situation (allergic reaction) for a pet in the wake of anesthesia. Although, it’s a very rare side effect of general anesthesia in dogs. However, 10 dogs out of one million (1,000,000) may get this kind of reaction.

A pet may face anaphylactic shock in response to anesthesia that may cause severe (chronic) swelling (inflammation) on a dog’s body part, especially on the skin or on the site where the I.V anesthesia was given.

According to their genetic makeup, all dogs are different from each other and they respond differently to a specific drug. So, a drug that is approved to treat a specific problem in dogs, could show side effects in few dogs (who have allergic to its components).

Therefore, most of the I.V drugs are given AFTER TEST DOSE (ATS). A veterinarian injects a small quantity of intravenous drug (anesthesia) and waits for some seconds to see the body’s response. If the body doesn’t respond as swelling or inflammation, that means the injected drug has been tolerated.


It is defined as the prolonged state of the unconscious in which an organism remains alive (can breathe) but cannot perceive. Large doses of intravenous anesthetic agents or sedative gases may damage the reticular activating system (in the brain) that controls the awareness.

This is a rare side effect of general anesthesia in dogs. But it happens because of extra-high doses of anesthetic agents (drugs).

If a dog is suffering from heart disease, kidneys problem, liver damage, blood disease, anemia, dehydration problem, etc prior to the general anesthesia, then the chances of developing severe kidney damage, heart or cardiac problems, impact liver functioning, visual disorders, hearing problems, allergies, or even death risks are high.

A blood and urine test prior to performing a dental cleaning process in dogs can help to minimize the side effects of general anesthesia.

In most cases, pets don’t get harmful effects after a dental cleaning. But in rare cases, anaphylaxis shock may occur that could be fatal and life-threatening for the pets. Immediately call your pet’s veterinarian if you observe any allergic reactions after dental scaling (i.e. swelling, vomiting, anorexia, or diarrhea, etc) in your pets.

Doctor Xeeshan

Doctor Xeeshan

I am Doctor Xeeshan, located in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan. In this blog, I am providing authentic information about dog breeds, diseases, medications, etc.


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