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Why Does My Dog Smell after Anesthesia?

It’s almost always a stressful experience when your pet undergoes surgery. Even if you have full confidence in your dog’s veterinarian, it’s difficult to avoid thinking about the worst-case scenario.

Your worries may not disappear in the hours immediately after the operation. That could be the case especially if you’re detecting weird smells coming from your pet. Find out what those odd odors mean by continuing with the rest of this article.

Why Does My Dog Smell after Anesthesia?

If you’ve undergone surgery before, then you’ve probably been put under anesthesia. There are certain symptoms that you may develop after being put under anesthesia for a while.

Examples of those symptoms include your voice becoming hoarse for a while. Your throat may also hurt because you were intubated. Dry mouth is another bothersome symptom that comes from anesthesia.

In addition to those symptoms, your breath may also smell off in the hours immediately following your procedure.

Dogs may also develop bad breath if they were recently exposed to anesthesia. It’s one of the few things that we can experience similarly.

What Does the Bad Breath Caused by Anesthesia Smell Like in Dogs?

Your dog getting bad breath from anesthesia exposure is a possibility. Still, how can you be certain that the bad breath is simply a symptom of your dog being put under anesthesia and not something more serious?

To eliminate your doubts about what your dog is dealing with, you can examine the smell of their breath.

At this point, you’re probably familiar enough with your dog to know what their breath smells like. It probably has some funk to it, but it should be something you can tolerate.

Bad breath caused by anesthesia will have a somewhat unusual odor. It’s something that can best be described as rancid yet slightly sweet. Think of it like the smell a piece of fruit would give off if it is just starting to spoil.

Part of the reason why this symptom is so obvious is because of the unusual smell. You’ve probably never smelled it from your dog before so detecting it after they just had surgery will likely trigger alarm bells quickly.

Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell after Anesthesia?

Now that we know what the bad breath caused by anesthesia smells like, let’s discuss the reasons why your pet may develop it. There are two likely explanations for your dog’s bad breath and we have detailed them below.

There Are Still Some Traces of Anesthetic Gas inside Your Dog’s Body

The anesthesia gas used to sedate your pet doesn’t dissipate completely as soon as the procedure is done. It may still linger inside your body.

The gas can make its presence felt for the next few hours. Your dog’s bad breath could coincide with that.

Another thing worth noting here is that the anesthetic gas tends to have a somewhat sweet odor. If your dog’s breath smells oddly sweet instead of a bit rancid, then the lingering anesthetic gas is likely to blame.

Bacteria Spread in Your Dog’s Mouth

Did your dog undergo some kind of oral procedure? If so, their bad breath could be related to that.

Your dog’s mouth may have been left open during the operation. That could cause their mouth to dry out. With no saliva in your dog’s mouth, bacteria can grow there quickly.

The bacteria in your dog’s mouth are likely the cause of the rancid smell. They should go away gradually as your dog starts drinking and eating again.

Is It Normal for a Dog to Smell after Anesthesia?

Your dog having bad breath following surgery is not a big deal. It’s not an issue that affects all dogs, but it’s not a rare occurrence either. The veterinarian will probably tell you that the smell will eventually go away on its own.

Unfortunately, bad breath may not be the only reason why your dog may smell following their surgery. Let’s talk about the other reasons why your dog may develop a foul odor after surgery and how worried you should be about them.

Your Dog Smells after Spaying or Neutering

Some dogs may smell right after spaying or neutering. That kind of thing can happen because of the discharge coming from their sexual organs. The discharge may also get tangled up in your dog’s fur and that could amplify the smell.

This type of development is fairly normal for dogs that recently underwent spaying or neutering. The discharge should disappear after a while and the odor should go away with it.

Your Dog’s Surgical Wounds Are Infected

One more potential explanation for your dog smelling weird post-surgery is an infection. Their wounds may have been infected somehow and they are now emitting some foul odors as a result.

You can tell that your dog is dealing with an infection if their wounds are swollen and/or discolored. Infected wounds require immediate medical attention so help your dog as soon as you can.

What to Do if My Dog Smells after Anesthesia?

What should you do if your dog smells following their procedure? Follow the tips below so you can avoid potential complications.

Watch Your Dog Closely

Monitoring your dog is crucial if they recently underwent surgery. If any complications will pop up, they will likely make their presence felt at this point.

Hopefully, your dog’s bad breath and any other slightly concerning symptoms will disappear after a few hours. Some of them may take up to a day to disappear completely.

Allow Your Dog to Relax

Your goal right now should be to help your dog relax. For the time being, keep them inside and prevent them from engaging in any strenuous activities. Playing is also not advisable at this point.

Simply let them rest until they are fully recovered. Your dog should be back to normal about a week after the surgery.

Put an Elizabethan Collar on Your Dog

Don’t allow your dog to nibble on their wounds because that could lead to an infection. If you’re worried about your pet doing that, go ahead and put an Elizabethan collar on them.

Go to the Veterinarian

If your dog still doesn’t appear normal a week removed from surgery, you should take them back to the vet. There may be issues you aren’t detecting so it’s best to have a veterinarian check them out.