Dog Shaking After Anesthesia

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

Shaking is a very common side effect or reaction after your friend has been given anesthesia and it indicates that the anesthesia is wearing off. As your dog recovers from surgery it is important to remember that your pet has no idea that it just had surgery so be sure to keep them close.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Dog Shaking After Anesthesia“.

Both humans and our four-legged furry friends undergo anesthesia prior to surgery which essentially puts them to sleep.

Anesthesia is vital to the surgery process and of course to ensure everything is as stable as a table no matter how unpleasant it may be. Some pet owners (including us) have been concerned about their dogs shaking after successful surgery.

You might wonder: “Is this normal?” “Is my dog alright?” or “How long will the shaking last?”

No worries we have you covered with everything you need to know about anesthesia and its effects on dogs. Lets dive right in. 

Why is my dog shaking after anesthesia? 

Shaking is a very common side effect or reaction after your friend has been given anesthesia and it indicates that the anesthesia is wearing off. As your dog recovers from surgery it is important to remember that your pet has no idea that they just had surgery so be sure to keep them close.

Shaking may also be caused by anxiety a condition we have all experienced. In order to avoid amplifying your furry companions anxiety we recommend that you avoid hovering over them.

What should I do? 

As well as giving your dog the prescribed medications from your vet there are a few things you can do at home to make your dog more comfortable post-surgery. 

Environmental shifting

When your loyal companions surroundings change their recovery process is boosted.

You may be able to make simple changes such as placing extra padding on your pals sleeping area elevating their food dishes (for easier access) and providing anti-slip surfaces to keep them balanced.

Suppose your home has hardwood or tile floors; we recommend getting some inexpensive rugs or rubber matting online or in a local hardware store to help your pet move around. 

Restrictions on activities

Although you’d love to take them on a stroll to the local park on the weekend that will have to wait until their goodness sake. In spite of how frustrating this is for the two of you resting greatly speeds up your pals recovery especially in the first few days after surgery.  

How does anesthesia work on a dog? How does it put them to sleep? 

A general anesthetic puts you to sleep as we all know.

Although that is true there is more to it. As soon as medical drugs are administered anesthesia begins to take effect (or depress nerve function to use a fancier term). 

You should now know there are two types of anesthesia: local anesthesia and general anesthesia. In both cases there is a difference in the type of medical procedure done.

The nerves in a small area of the skin or tooth will be knocked to numbness using local anesthesia if your furry friend needs minor surgery.

Major surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. It puts your dog in a completely unconscious state causing their muscles to relax and their sense of pain to disappear. 

What are the other side effects of anesthesia? 

Dogs may experience other side effects besides shaking or shivering especially within the first few days after surgery. These may include behavioral changes and impaired ability to regulate body temperature. 

Anesthesia can cause behavioral changes which usually resolve on their own after a few short days.

The place people or even their other friends may seem unfamiliar even after your pal has walked for a long time and memorized where everything is.

No matter how trustworthy your dog is and always has been without anesthesia it is crucial that you do not leave small children or other loved ones unattended during this period.

Before he can return to his old happy and tail-wagging self please and pretty please be patient with him. 

Your pals ability to regulate his or her body temperature may be affected by their recovery process. What affects it? Lets find out.

Your pals blood vessels near the skin may dilate as a result of anesthetics causing a few tweaks in their temperature set point resulting in heat loss. General anesthesia may also slow your dogs response to increasing environmental temperatures as it affects its body-cooling mechanism.

If you have a dog we can recommend keeping it in a mildly warm room for most breeds or a slightly cooler room for certain breeds such as Huskies. 

How should I comfort or care for my dog after having anesthesia? 

Whether its the first day at school or the first day after surgery the first day is always the most difficult for both owners and pets.

Ensure that your pup has the day booked in for complete rest during this period. Below are a few ways to care for your dog after anesthesia. 

Their body temperature regulation may temporarily affect the following surgery so keep them in a warm spot on the floor.

Try your best to prevent your dog from actively moving around no matter how irresistible it may be. As they still have anesthesia in their system this prevents them from suffering any unwanted injuries. 

As far as what your dog consumes and drinks it is crucial that he drinks enough water. It is important to keep in mind that your dog may still feel flustered post-surgery and may require supervision when they drink especially because they may unintentionally fall asleep on the water bowl. 

How long before the effects of anesthesia wear off completely? 

Modern medicine has developed safer and reversible anesthetics so most of the negative effects of anesthesia should have worn off by the time of discharge typically 12 to 24  hours after anesthesia.

Your friend may seem more tired or sleepy during this period; rest assured this is perfectly normal.

Additionally be sure to keep in touch with your veterinarian for your next checkup to monitor your dogs condition and proceed from there until he is fully recovered. 

Note: If your dog shows any signs such as unusual lethargy or difficulty waking up please contact your vet immediately for professional help and instructions.

What are the most common types of surgeries that require anesthesia? 

There is nothing scarier than hearing the vet tell you that your pet needs surgery but it is for their long-term health well-being and happiness.

One of the most common medical drugs is anesthesia which is used for a variety of common types of surgery. As a matter of fact you have reached the right section of this article! Following are some procedures associated with both elective and urgent care: 

Elective Surgeries 

  • (Not pretty) Dental extractions 
  • Benign growth of the skin (usually an indication is a harmless lump under the skin) 

Urgent Care Surgeries (usually more serious) 

  • Lacerations or abscesses on the skin 
  • Internal bleeding 
  • Torn ACL 
  • Bladder stones 
  • Repair of fractures 

The type and dosage of anesthesia will also vary depending on the type of surgery your dog needs. It should be clear to you now what to do and how to take care of your furry friend after their hard-fought battle (aka the surgery). 

Why do dogs shake? Common causes of shaking aside from anesthesia 

In addition to anesthesia being one of the most common reasons for your dog to shake there are other possible causes as well. As a result here are a few other reasons why dogs shake: 


Because puppies and teenagers are not fully vaccinated they are more likely to contract a viral infection. Additionally fever and coughing are symptoms of a viral infection.. 

Generalized Tremor Syndrome

Breeds such as Maltesers and West Highland white terriers are commonly affected by white shaker dog syndrome. Although dogs of other breeds can still be affected by GTS its cause remains unknown to this very day. Donot worry your veterinarian can treat this with corticosteroids. 


In addition to humans dogs also suffer from this whether after long drives having too many treats or taking medication. Shaking is one indicator of nausea which can often be accompanied by vomiting and yawning among others. 


It is true that the surgery is hard on its own but it is only half of the road to tip-top health and the other half is the long restful recovery period. Shaking dogs can be alarming and frightening when you do not know why they shake or if its normal for them to shake.

Yet you are the one in possession of wisdom and a guide to figuring out what causes dogs to shake after anesthesia. Though you may need to pay close attention and provide careful care to your furry best friend for the first few days it will all be worth it in the end (we promise)!

If you want to read more about dog health tips read here: Dog Health Tips and Tricks.

Dog Shaking After Anesthesia (Watch Video)

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