Here is a list of important questions to ask when your vet recommends your pet undergo an anesthetic procedure:

1-Is there another, non-anesthetic procedure that can effectively replace this one? (usually not, but it doesn’t hurt to ask)

2-What monitoring equipment will you use? (pulse oximeters , EKGs, temperature probes, and esophageal stethoscopes are all common devices—I recommend you never consider anesthesia in a facility that anesthetizes without a pulse oximeter)

3-Are the technicians certified or have multiple years of experience?

4-Will the veterinarian be in the room for the entire procedure? (for simple dental cleanings they may not be—this means you have to be extra-careful about #2 and #3)

5-Has my pet received all necessary pre-anesthetic testing? (CBC and a brief chemistry panel are recommended for all pets. Older pets should also have an expanded chemistry panel, urinalysis and EKG performed.)

6-Is there anything I can do at home to prepare my pet for anesthesia? (an appropriate fasting time is essential for all anesthetic procedures but if your pet takes medication, please ask about this)

7-How does my pet wake up? Is there someone present for the entire recovery period? (again, #3 is crucial here)

8-May I wait in the lobby or waiting room until my pet recovers? (I don’t necessarily recommend you do so—you might be waiting around all day—but an enthusiastically positive response is a good sign)

9-Are you totally comfortable with your choice of veterinary hospitals?

This last question is by far the most important of all. Remember, it’s not just about your vet; it’s also about the entire hospital and its staff. If you’re not sure, try a friend or colleague’s recommendation. By all means, don’t have your pet anesthetized unless you feel comfortable with his or her healthcare providers.