If your dog or cat is scheduled for surgery, you need to take a few steps to prepare.

Fasting before anesthesia:
Any time your pet is scheduled for anesthesia, fasting will be required. Why is that? Tranquilizers and anesthesia drugs decrease the swallowing reflex. If your groggy pet vomits from the drugs, there is risk of aspirating, or inhaling, the vomit into the lungs. This can cause a type of pneumonia called aspiration pneumonia, which can be fatal.

There are a few exceptions to the fasting rule: Puppies and kittens have little energy in reserve, so your veterinarian will likely instruct you to give them a small meal in the morning.

Pets with diabetes may also need a small meal in the morning, along with insulin, so please discuss this with your family vet.
Your pet can drink water overnight, until you leave home, to prevent dehydration.

Preparing for surgery
Before the procedure, ask your veterinarian if you can give medications in the morning ? some may be​needed, but some can be skipped. Also ask if you should drop off your pet?s medications or food the day of surgery. It’s always better for your pet to eat his normal food, whether it?s generic food or a special diet.

You may have been told how much confinement your pet will need after surgery, and what that entails; please make sure you have a room, a play pen or a crate prepared for the day your pet comes home.

The morning of surgery
You will need to drop your pet off early in the morning, even though surgery may not occur until late morning or the afternoon. Why is that? There are multiple reasons, depending on your pet?s specific situation. Your veterinarian may wish to:

Run a physical exam
Run blood work
Place an IV catheter
Administer IV fluids
Start specific medications
Take X-rays
Perform an EKG
Calculate anesthesia drug doses

This list offers only a few examples; even more may be necessary before surgery is performed.

Your pet’s veterinarian and technicians will have to fill in several documents, regarding the physical exam, the anesthesia plan and the care needed for your pet. In addition, surgery may actually occur earlier than expected if there is a schedule change.

What to expect at the clinic
Once you arrive at the hospital, you will need to read and sign an estimate and a consent form to make sure everybody is on the same page. It’s important to review them and ask the technician or the receptionist to explain anything that’s unclear.