Dog Whining After Anesthesia

The most common question dog owners ask after taking the dog home from surgery is “Why is my dog whining after surgery?” When your dog undergoes any kind of surgery or a minor medical procedure, doctors induce it with anesthesia in order to reduce the pain. As the anesthesia is warded off, dogs tend to whine.

dog whining after anesthesia


Whining is the crying of dogs; more like a form of communication for the canines. After the anesthesia, the dogs whine as they get confused and can not understand what is happening around them. So, they express these feelings through whining. Some dogs have longer after-effects of anesthesia as compared to others.


The main concern is why dogs whine after surgery. There might be several reasons and some of these are as follows:


Whenever dogs wake up after any kind of surgery, they get confused and puzzled. They feel groggy and might not know where they are and are even unable to recognize you.

Humans also do the weird and funniest things when they wake up from surgery but they are able to express their feelings verbally. But as dogs can not express these feelings, it causes anxiety in them.

They can not understand how to express these feelings, other than whining. This condition is called ‘Dysphoria’. This situation can be stressful for the dog owners as well as the owner. But the good news is that these circumstances can be handled easily.

Whenever the dog is experiencing dysphoria, the owner should sit beside their pet and call their names politely. Dysphoria can go on its own after a good night’s sleep.


The other reason that causes whining in pets is pain after surgery. If you are sure your dog is in pain, you should consult your pet’s vet doctor immediately. He will prescribe some pain killers so that your dog gets some relief.

These pain killers can relieve post-surgery pain. The doctor may prescribe 2-3 pain medications to soothe your dog.


Some young or old dogs are intelligent enough to learn that if they whine, the owner will pay attention to them. It is true in many cases because of the love you have for your pets. In this kind of situation, you should stop doing whatever you are doing and pay full attention to your beloved fur baby.

You should sit with them and use funny voices or give them any kind of a treat. This kind of behavior in dogs is a learned behavior and this behavior is more encouraged when you ‘Give in’.

Other Reasons:

After waking up from surgery, they don’t understand what they have been through. With a cap around their head and a bandage on the site of surgery, it’s natural for your dog to feel frustrated and anxious.

Moreover, they are bound in a bed or crate which creates even more agony. Sometimes due to the effect of anesthesia, they feel nauseous, uneasy, and cold.

Since they don’t know how to express their anger, they start whining. Some dogs are smart as they know if they whine, the owner can take them out for a walk. So, they use it as a tactic to get their way.


Every dog or pet has a different reaction to anesthesia administration. Same is the risk of anesthesia is different in every patient. It is estimated that 1 in 100,000 animals have some sort of reaction to anesthesia, ranging from mild to severe.

Some might experience various symptoms like swelling, anaphylactic shock, or even death. These alarming situations need utmost attention before going into any medical surgery or procedure.

The best way to avoid any kind of risk is fasting your pee for several hours before the surgery. Veterinarian doctors always recommend fasting before surgery, depending on the type and condition of the dog.

In case you have not let your dog fast prior to anesthesia, they could vomit and aspirate fluid into their lungs even when intubated. This could lead to a condition called aspiration pneumonia that could be fatal and dangerous for your beloved pets.


It is very compulsory to have a complete history of your pets for the owners. Likewise, their doctor should also have a complete record of their medical history. Records must include the dog’s vaccination history, lifestyle, and any medication that it is taking regularly.

All this history might influence the reaction a dog can have when given anesthesia. A good veterinarian doctor must recommend certain pre-surgical examinations and tests that can identify any sort of underlying


Most recommended diagnostic tests are as follows:

  • Evaluation test for kidneys, liver, pancreatic function, and sugar levels.
  • A complete CBC.
  • An electrolyte test to make sure the dog is not suffering from any dehydration problem or electrolyte imbalance.

All these tests and care are important to minimize any risk of anesthesia for your dogs. Owners should follow whatever the doctor is prescribing and try to fully cooperate with them.


As your dog just had surgery and they can not stop whining, you should take the following steps to make them comfortable and help them to settle down.

Regular Walks 

If your dog is still unsettled, it would be beneficial to take them outside the house and have more toilet breaks. During the recovery time from surgery, your dog’s toileting routine might get upset. It is the owner’s responsibility to take them for more and more walks so that their toileting routine gets back to normal. This largely helps in reducing whining also.

Warm Bedding

After surgery, you should keep your pet warm enough so that it can sleep comfortably. Because of anesthesia, pets feel cooler and need extra cozy bedding.

Water Intake

Because of anesthesia, dogs feel more thirsty, so owners should make sure that water is in easy access to their pet and they don’t feel draughted.

Size of the Bed 

The size of the bed should be according to your dog so that it can easily fit in it and sleep with comfort. Their beds should be partly covered with blankets or sheets.

Time and Attention

Above all, your pets would need your utmost attention after surgery. You should sit with them more often and comfort them. You can also use different toys so that they can play with them if feeling any kind of restlessness.

Cone Placement

Make sure that the E-collar or cone of shame has the right placement. It must be adequately tight enough that it does not cause any pinching pain to the neck of the dog. If the collar is too tight it might cause sharp pain around the neck and usually, pets also whine because of this discomfort caused by e-collars.

A Separate Room

You should arrange a separate room for your pet after surgery. This will not let your pet get disturbed by outside voices. The owner should keep children away from that room. Pets need maximum rest after surgery as constant pain will alleviate their whining.


Because of many advancements in anesthetic procedures, dogs can recover completely in few

days. They can be back to their normal lives but some pets might take more days or even a week. At a time like this, pets would need special attention and more love from their owners.

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