Why Do Dog Acting Weird After Anesthesia? [Possible Reasons]

Dogs may act weird after anaesthesia for a variety of reasons. One possible explanation is that they may still be feeling the effects of the anaesthesia, which can cause drowsiness and disorientation. Another reason could be that they are experiencing pain or discomfort from the surgical procedure.

In some cases, dogs may also experience side effects from the medications used during the anaesthesia. It is essential to closely monitor your dog after surgery and contact your veterinarian if you notice any unusual behaviours or symptoms. Your vet can assess your dog’s condition and provide any necessary treatment or support to help them recover comfortably and safely.

We have covered why do dog acting weird after anesthesia. It’s uncommon for an animal to behave strangely following anaesthesia, such as whimpering, napping excessively, or forgetting house training skills. Let’s dive deep into the detail.

Why Do Dog Acting Weird After Anesthesia

What Effects Do Anesthetics Have On Dogs?

What Effects Do Anesthetics Have On Dogs

When we speak about anaesthesia in veterinary medicine, we usually mean causing a loss of feeling (pain) and awareness at a given time. This enables us to perform major or minor surgery and other unpleasant and scary treatments on the puppy without putting them under excessive stress.

Many dogs are treated with multiple medicines to induce global anaesthesia. Your veterinarian may get the appropriate effects from each treatment by administering a tiny quantity of a few different ingredients.

This balanced anaesthetic regimen minimizes undesirable side effects in your dog, which may arise when administering a large dosage of just one medication. The activities of anaesthetic medicines vary, but overall, they have the following effects on pets:

  • It renders them asleep
  • It relieves discomfort
  • Relaxes the muscles

All of this needs to be accomplished while the dog remains alive. Throughout a procedure, vets and vet technician anaesthetists closely check each pet’s degree of anaesthetic. Carbon dioxide levels, blood oxygen, pulse quality, body temperature, eye position, heart rhythm/rate, gum colour, and blood pressure are monitored using personal gaze and equipment.

Anaesthetists provide the required modifications to ensure the patient’s body functions optimally while preventing discomfort and movement. Various medications are available for safe local anaesthesia, but not every treatment is right for each dog.

How Longer Does A Dog Need To Heal From Anesthesia?

How Longer Does A Dog Need To Heal From Anesthesia

The majority of healthy pets will have fully healed from anaesthesia. Over time you pick them up from the vet in the late afternoon or early evening. The medicine’s effects will not completely disappear for up to 24 hours.

Anaesthesia, it’s a lack of feeling that may or may not link to a lack of memory. The same painkillers may make a dog behave a bit wacky for many hours following his operation. After anaesthesia, most animals must return to usual in 12-18 hrs.

You’ll most likely notice that their facial posture is a bit funny at this point. Additionally, it is typical for them to feel more tired than usual. However, you must be able to bring your pup back to consciousness.

Appetite Changes

Dog Appetite Changes

Some pets refuse to eat for the surgery at night but must eat the following morning. Give something simple to digest and delicious, such as mushy white rice and boiling chicken breast. Notify your veterinarian if your dog does not eat within 24hrs after the treatment.

Additionally, it’s important to keep your pet as comfortable as possible after surgery. Ensure they have a quiet and warm place to rest, away from other pets and children. It’s also important to monitor their behavior and any unusual symptoms, such as excessive lethargy or difficulty breathing.

Change in Drinking Habits

Changing Dog Drinking Habits

After undergoing anaesthesia, it is not uncommon for dogs to experience changes in their drinking habits. This can be due to several tours, including the effects of the anaesthesia on their digestive system and recovery process. Some dogs may drink less than usual or avoid drinking altogether, while others drink more frequently.

It is essential to monitor your dog’s drinking habits closely during this time and provide plenty of fresh water to encourage them to stay hydrated. If you notice any significant changes in their behaviour or health, it is best to consult with your veterinarian for further guidance and treatment. Most dogs will return to their drinking habits after anaesthesia with proper care and attention.

Bowel Movement Changes

It is common for dogs to experience changes in their bowel movements after anaesthesia. Anaesthesia can affect the digestive system, leading to constipation or diarrhoea. In addition, the stress of the procedure and recovery period can also cause changes in bowel habits.

If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, monitoring their bowel movements and consulting with your veterinarian if necessary is essential. They may recommend a special diet or medication to help regulate your dog’s digestion and prevent discomfort or further complications. With proper care and attention, your dog should return to everyday bowel habits in no time.

In The House Peeing / Pooping

Dog In The House Peeing Pooping

If your dog is acting weird after anaesthesia and is peeing or pooping in the house, it could be due to several reasons. Anaesthesia can cause temporary bladder and bowel dysfunction, leading to accidents in the house. Some dogs may experience anxiety or confusion after waking up from anaesthesia, which can also contribute to accidents.

It is essential to monitor your dog closely and provide ample opportunities for them to go outside to relieve themselves. If the behaviour persists or worsens, it is best to consult your veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical issues or complications from the anaesthesia.

Hiding Or Adopting A Clingy Attitude

Dog Hiding Or Adopting A Clingy Attitude

If your dog is acting weird after anaesthesia, it’s not uncommon for them to exhibit behavioural changes such as hiding or adopting a clingy attitude. This can be due to the effects of anaesthesia on their body and brain, which may cause disorientation and confusion. Hiding behaviour may indicate that your dog is seeking comfort and security in a tight and enclosed space.

At the same time, clinginess may mean they seek reassurance from their owner. It’s essential to monitor your dog’s behaviour closely and provide them with the necessary care and attention to help them recover. If you notice any concerning changes in their behaviour or health, contact your veterinarian immediately for further guidance.


Dog Crying

When recovering from anaesthesia, excessive vocalization is quite typical. For a pet owner, it may be distressing, but it typically passes in several hours. Inadequate pain management causes some animals to moan and howl.

Other symptoms to look for include hesitancy to move, a drooping head, heavy breathing, weeping more when the pet’s incision is gently touched, licking an incision site, and so on. If you assume your dog is in severe pain despite taking the recommended medication, contact your veterinarian or go to an emergency hospital.


Dog Confusion

After being severely sedated, dogs have zero way of knowing what has occurred to them. It’s, Alright, you’ll feel fine within a few hours,” a dog owner can’t reassure them. They may be perplexed and worried, unsure whether things will ever return to normal or if anything is wrong.

It’s pretty unusual to find oneself dazed and wondering about the house. Just ensure they don’t tumble or find themselves in a dangerous position. Please keep your dog in one place and monitor their progress.

Staring Into The Void

Dog Staring Into The Void

It’s not uncommon for dogs to seem “half-asleep” or “high” following anaesthesia. Anaesthetic drugs may have a good or bad impact, and it’s difficult to anticipate how each dog will respond. In the early aftermath of surgery, looking into space is OK, but it should wear off by the following day unless your dog is still on heavy pain treatment.

Walking Wobbly

Dog Walking Wobbly

If you notice that you are dog walking awkwardly after 24hrs or behaving strangely days after anaesthesia, you must see your vet. Following some stumbling, sedation, swaying and swerving should be anticipated. Your pet may be anxious after an anaesthetic as well. The majority of the time, this lasts just short hours.

What To Do If It’s Having A Hard Time Recovering

Having A Hard Time Recovering Dog

If your dog is acting weird after anaesthesia, it can be concerning, and you may wonder what to do. First and foremost, following any post-operative care instructions your veterinarian provides, including medications and activity restrictions, is essential. If your dog is still having a hard time recovering despite following these instructions, there are several things you can do:

  • Keep him out of harm’s path.
  • Bring him food and water where he’s sleeping.
  • Keep him away from other dogs and children in a peaceful location.
  • Help and relax by massaging the top of his head over the acupressure point GV 24.
  • Provide a special meal, such as rice and chicken, with additional water if required.
  • When he has to go pee, go outside and keep an eye on him.
  • Keep him heated (or cold in hot climates)—if in doubt, check his temperature rectally.
  • Check to see if he’s licking any surgery wounds.
  • Massage the acupressure point Liver 3 to the top of the rear foot to relieve discomfort.
  • If you can’t convince him to take medications, contact your veterinarian.
  • Consult your veterinarian; you may need different pain medications or sedatives.
  • Play relaxing music, such as “Through a Dog’s Ear.”
  • Ask your veterinarian about using an ice pack or cold compress on the surgery region.
  • Allow him to rest until he heals—no walks or visits to the dog park until he fully recovers.
  • Dim the lights if possible.
  • Keep a cheerful attitude and try not to exhibit your worry since dogs feed off their owners’ emotions.

Dog Acting Strange After Grooming

Dog Acting

After grooming, dogs may behave abnormally for various reasons, but most are just nervous and trying to adjust to something new. There is no need to worry; typically, this behaviour lasts a few hours. The most common reasons your dog may be acting strange are:

  • Nervousness due to being groomed is entirely normal, and they will often recover in a few hours.
  • Adjusting to the grooming table or being handled by someone unfamiliar can cause more stress than usual and fear of other dogs.
  • Getting too much air or just a general panting – they usually calm down within a few minutes, but this is entirely normal again.

Why Do Dog Acting Weird After Anesthesia?

My Dog Is Acting Weird After Being Under Anesthesia

Behavioural abnormalities are frequent after general anaesthesia and usually resolve within a few days. An animal that has become agitated, depressed, or aggressive after general anaesthesia. These pets should be observed for a few days, and if the behaviour does not resolve spontaneously, then veterinary consultation is warranted. But why do dog acting weird after anesthesia?

Many reasons can cause the animal to not return to normal: including the drugs used, anxiety from being in unfamiliar surroundings and petting by strangers, or even experiencing painful post-operative pain. In such cases, the veterinarian must assess whether the problem is due to drugs.

The dog will be feeling pain at a greater level than usual. This can cause some symptoms: whining, excessive licking, salivation, and defecation. The dog’s emotional state will also be affected, with anxiety, aggressiveness, and depression observed. The animal may also develop learned fears and phobias after surgery under anaesthesia.

How Do Dogs Get Better After Local Anesthesia?

How Do Dogs Get Better After Local Anesthesia

Drugs digest in a variety of ways. The liver, lungs, and kidneys all play a role in some main routes. During breathing, gas anaesthetics expel from the lungs. Gas absorption and elimination may change in sick lungs. The liver cells in a pet’s body break down medicines and remove the breakdown products via the blood or the gastrointestinal system.

Due to a lack of cellular metabolic ability, drugs cannot break down in ill livers. Even sound livers may have an unfavourable or allergic response, causing harm to the liver in rare instances. Toxins and medicines remove from the body via the kidneys’ cells, which filter the blood.

These cells store the body’s required water and blood components, allowing poisons and medicines to flow to the urinary bladder. Because diseased kidneys have a reduced filtering ability and cannot remove drugs, they remain active in the body for extended periods.

All of these organs rely on healthy circulation to function effectively in their role of medication clearance. Poor blood circulation to organs exacerbates by dehydration, hypotension, and heart failure. This may cause medicines to have a longer duration of effect.

Effects of Anesthesia and Gastric Traction On The Dog’s Body

Effects of Anesthesia and Gastric Traction On The Dog's Body

The effects of general anaesthesia might last for some time in dogs. Your dog may seem somewhat wasted or tired due to these effects. Don’t worry; feeling disoriented and a little unsteady on his feet should pass relatively fast. Here are the Effects of anaesthesia and gastric traction on the dog’s body-

The Dog Can Feel Nausea: This is a typical concern after anaesthesia, and it can be managed effectively using anti-nausea medications.

The Dog Can Have Drowsiness: This is another typical concern after anaesthesia, and it is a typically short-lived concern, as well. Usually, your dog will be average within no more than six to eight hours after the procedure.

Behavioural Changes: Your dog will look and act differently after anaesthesia than on a regular day. Your dog might not be able to recognize who you are, and he might be disoriented. It would be best to keep your dog’s attention as much as possible.

Chilling Effect: Anaesthesia of any type may cause your dog to feel uncomfortable. This is an average effect for the dog, and he usually returns to his usual self after about half an hour to an hour.

Common Behaviors Of Dogs After Surgery

Common Behaviours Of Dogs After Surgery

It is not uncommon for dogs to exhibit strange behaviours after undergoing anaesthesia and surgery. You may notice common behaviours include lethargy, disorientation, and loss of appetite. This is often due to the effects of the anaesthesia wearing off and the dog’s body adjusting to the trauma of surgery.

Additionally, some dogs may experience pain or discomfort as they recover from their procedure, leading to changes in behaviour or mood. To help your dog adjust to these changes, providing them with a comfortable and quiet space to rest, plenty of water and food (if they can eat), and lots of love and attention is essential. Contact your veterinarian for guidance and support if you have concerns about your dog’s post-surgery behaviour.

  • Depression – Loss of the dog’s ability to play and exercise, making the dog less likely to tolerate physical or social stimulation.
  • Panting – The dog is uncomfortable, which indicates that the dog is in pain.
  • Shivering – Also known as tremors or shakes, this results from the dog shaking due to discomfort or pain after surgery.
  • Opened mouth breathing – This condition also occurs due to surgery.
  • No interest in playing – When dogs get operated on, they lose interest in games and physical exercises.
  • Lethargy or sluggishness- Dogs are less likely to have the same energy levels before and after surgical procedures.
  • No poop – After surgery, the dog will have difficulty moving its bowels. Always try to keep your dog’s poop in the kennel for at least 24 hours after the operation.
  • Loss or change in need is expected due to the stress dogs undergo when undergoing medical procedures.
  • Emotional swings – Some dogs exhibit behavioural changes after surgery. These might include aggression, hyperactivity, and other odd behaviours that humans might consider frightening.

Final Word

After a dog undergoes anaesthesia, it is common for them to act weird or exhibit unusual behaviour. This can be due to various reasons, such as the type and amount of anaesthesia used, the length of the procedure, or underlying health issues. Pet owners must monitor their dogs closely after surgery and report any concerning behaviour to their veterinarian.

In most cases, the weird behaviour will subside within a few days as the effects of anaesthesia wear off. If you are concerned about your dog’s post-anaesthesia behaviour or want to learn how to care for them during recovery, consult your veterinarian for professional advice and guidance.  We don’t anticipate breathing difficulties, severe discomfort, or persistent diarrhoea.

If your pet is still behaving strangely or exhibiting unusual symptoms the next day after receiving anaesthesia, contact your vet to let them know what is happening. We hope our information helps you understand why do dog acting weird after anesthesia.


1. Why Is My Dog Crying After Surgery?

The anaesthetic medications used before surgery are the source of the crying since they might confuse and disorient your dog. They may also be in pain. The general anaesthesia will wear off in 24 hours, and the sedative should wear off within 12-24 hours.

2. Why Is My Dog Acting Weird After Anesthesia?

Due to the effects of anaesthetic drugs, some dogs act weird. The pills affect their brain and nervous system, so that some dogs may shake or shiver after surgery. This shaking is often due to low blood sugar levels due to anaesthesia. Some dogs may seem disoriented, have trouble walking straight, or cannot move their limbs.

3. How Long Does Anesthesia Stay In A Dog’ System?

Usually, anaesthesia stays in a dog’s system for between 24 and 48 hours. Then, the anaesthetics start to wear off. Monitoring your dog for any potential signs of complications during anaesthesia is essential.

4. What Can I Do To Help My Anxious Dog?

Here are some ways to calm your pup down-

  1. Ensure you give your dog ample space in his environment – If he likes to cuddle up next to you on the couch, ensure he has a designated area where he can feel safe when you’re not home.
  2. Go outside – If your dog is anxious in your home, take him out for a bit. Some dogs are calmer on a walk.
  3. Be patient – If your dog is anxious in his crate or bedroom, reward him for being calm by having fun with him, giving treats, playing, etc.

5. How Will My Dog Act After Anesthesia?

Your pet may feel drowsy and worn out even hours after the procedure. Being sleepy is natural, so do not worry. After surgery, an animal may first seem completely aware before falling asleep. Reactions that are delayed are frequent.

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