Important information regarding your pet’s dental procedure

Thank you for choosing The Vet Lounge for your pet’s surgical procedure. We know how important it is to you that your pet receives the highest standard of care, and we work very hard to ensure we deliver just that.

You will find the following information below:

  1. Pre-operative details
  2. Admission procedures
  3. Anaesthetic safety
  4. Staging information
  5. Discharge guidelines
  6. Home care instructions
  7. Information on complications
  8. Fee details

1. Pre-Operative Information (before the day)

No food after 10.00pm the night before the procedure

  • We need a completely empty stomach for surgery. This is to prevent vomiting and aspiration during anaesthesia, which is serious. We know it’s hard to say ‘No food’ to those gorgeous eyes but it’s really important they are fasted. You can feed them when we get them back home safely to you.
  • If your pet is on medication and can be taken without food, please continue to give them this medication the morning of the procedure (unless directed otherwise by your vet).

No water after 7.00 am the morning of the procedure

  • We don’t want your pet to dehydrate, so please pick up the water in the morning when you wake up. It is safe for them to continue drinking overnight the night before.


  • Take your dog out for a short walk the morning of the procedure to encourage them to defecate (poo) and urinate. Anaesthesia causes relaxation of the sphincter, increasing the risk of potential contamination if they have an accident, and we hear it embarrasses them! A quick walk up the street should do the trick and there’s lots of smells on the grass outside the clinic! Please avoid the beach as it makes it hard to maintain sterility on a sandy dog.

Feline (cat) patients – Keep your cat inside overnight

  • This will prevent the risk of not being able to find them in the morning and ensures they didn’t eat anything overnight

2. Admission

  • If you have been allocated a surgical admission time, we ask that you arrive promptly to your appointment. Delays in patient admissions delay our surgery start times, which result in pets going home later than expected. Admission will take approximately 10 minutes.
  • You will receive a phone call from one of our nurses 1-2 days prior to the procedure to confirm the booking and answer any further questions you may have.
  • If your pet has had any gastrointestinal upsets (vomiting/diarrhoea), please notify us prior to arrival. If your pet is unwell, we may need to postpone the procedure.
  • Please ensure you are contactable during the day as we may need to contact you.

3. Anaesthetic Safety

Anaesthesia is a lot safer now than it was in the past, but it still carries some risk. It is for this reason that our team take all of the necessary precautions to ensure that your pet is safe and can handle the anaesthetic.

Patient history and a physical exam provide us with a large amount of information, but there is information that is impossible to know without blood tests. This includes information that detects disease which cannot be seen by physical examination.

Minimising the potential risks involved with anaesthesia provides everyone with peace of mind and safer anaesthetics for your pet.

What does the blood test do?

  • Pre-anaesthetic blood testing checks kidney and liver function, which are important for the elimination of anaesthetics and other drugs from the body. It also checks for anaemia, or evidence of infection.

Here’s how we use the blood test results:

  1. The results of the blood test will be kept on your pet’s file as a baseline should they become unwell in the future. We can compare the results and see what has changed.
  2. If the results of the pre-anaesthetic blood tests are normal, we can continue with confidence and know that anaesthetic risk has been minimised even further.
  3. If the results are not within the normal range, the anaesthetic protocol can be modified to provide extra patient support, during and after anaesthesia.
  4. If the results are considerably abnormal, the procedure can be postponed, and treatment or further testing can be performed.

The blood test is performed the morning of your pet’s procedure and only requires a small amount of blood to be taken. Our in-house pathology machine will do the rest and we’ll have the results in around 20 minutes.

If we are happy with the results, we’ll proceed with the procedure as planned and you’ll receive a copy of the results.

If the results show something of concern, we’ll call and discuss them with you. For example, we recently ran bloods on a Staffordshire Terrier requiring dental work. The blood result showed a decline in kidney function, so we placed the patient on IV fluids for 24 hours to support his kidneys and moved the procedure to the next day. This will better hydrate the patient and lessen the burden on his kidneys. We can therefore proceed with anaesthesia under safter conditions.

For some patients, this test is compulsory (you would have been advised if so).

If the test is not compulsory but you would like to add this extra layer of safety, simply tick the box on your paperwork that asks if you would like a pre-anaesthetic test performed.

4. Staging

  • A preliminary assessment is made to identify any significant issues like loose teeth or oral tumors. Dental radiographs are also taken to assess problems below the gumline.
  • The actual cleaning takes place, which includes scaling to remove tartar and plaque, as well as polishing to smooth the tooth surfaces.
  • When a dog or cat suffers from severe dental disease, dental procedures often need to be divided into two stages, to ensure their safety and thorough treatment. We will not know if your pet requires the procedure over 2 surgeries until we take radiographs (X-rays) and understand the full extent of dental disease.
  • We will call you to discuss if this is required, so please ensure you are contactable between 9.00am -2.00pm. Your pet will be under anaesthetic when we call, so it’s important we can contact you without delay. If we cannot contact you, we will do what we feel is in the best interest of your pet.

5. Discharge (pick up)

Pick up time

  • A discharge time will be organised during admission. Discharge times are usually between 4.00-5.40pm. Please allow 10-15 minutes for your pet to be discharged. We understand that there are sometimes delays getting out of work, stuck in the afternoon traffic etc. If you will be late for your appointment, please call us as we may need to re-schedule for a later time.

When you collect your pet, you’ll notice they’re missing some hair.

  • Your pet will have a small area of hair shaved on one or both of their front arms for an IV catheter to be placed.

6. Home Care

When you get your pet home

  • Offer your pet a place to sleep inside (if possible), to ensure they are kept warm. Keep other pets and small children away from them so they can continue to rest and recover. They should be back on their feet the next morning.


  • If your pet did not have extractions (teeth removed) – Feed soft foods only for the first few days after the dental procedure.
  • If your pet had extractions (teeth removed) – Feed small chunks of food eg cooked chicken breast, or tuna (in Springwater), for 5-7 days after the dental procedure. This will allow the gums to heal. We will advise you when you can return to normal feeding at your post operative check-up.
  • If your pet is not interested in food, don’t be alarmed. Anaesthetic can sometimes make them feel a bit nauseous or they may just be tired. They should be eating however within 48 hours, so call us immediately if the refusal of food lasts 2 days.
  • Water should be available at all times from now on.


  • It’s best to let your pet rest completely for 1-2 days following a dental procedure, to give them plenty of time to recover from the anaesthetic (keep cats indoors if possible).

Post operative checks

  • We will call you a day or two after the procedure to make sure your pet is recovering well at home and address any concerns you may have.
  • If your pet had extractions (teeth removed), we require you to come back for two post operative checks. These checks are on day 3 after the procedure, and also on day 10.
  • If your pet had a scale only, no extractions (no teeth removed), we only need to see you once after the procedure. This check is 5-7 days after their procedure.
  • Providing no further treatment is required and your pet doesn’t need additional medications etc, these visits are free of charge. 1-2 post operative visits are included in your surgery fees.

The surgical site (mouth)

  • Contact us immediately if you notice any of the following:
    1. Continuous dripping or seepage of blood or other fluids from the incision.
    2. Intermittent blood seepage that continues for more than 24 hours.
    3. Any swellings, excessive redness of the skin, unpleasant smells, or discharge.
  • If you have any concerns, please contact us immediately. We’d rather say ‘nothing to worry about’ than ‘wish you had called us earlier.’


  • See your personal take home sheet for instructions regarding medications (if required).


  • If your pet has had extractions requiring sutures, the sutures will dissolve between 10 days – 4 weeks. They do not need to be removed.

    7. Complications

    Some complications can’t be anticipated

    The nature of complications is that even if we do everything right with the surgical procedure and you do everything right with the post-operative care, complications may still occur. Listing these complications is not to scare you away from choosing to pursue care for your pet, but instead to educate and prepare you for what could happen, should complications occur. Our vets will always weigh up the risks versus the benefits before recommending a surgical procedure.This is not a complete list, but the most common post-surgical complications are;

    • Gum and flap breakdown can sometimes occur, requiring additional surgery. Our vet will advise if your pet requires additional surgery, or a prolonged healing wait time.
    • Post-operative pain relief medications that cause your pet to vomit.
    • Post-operative antibiotics that may cause diarrhoea.
    • A cough that lingers for upwards of a week as the result of irritation from the endotracheal tube we used to administer the gaseous anaesthetic. Essential to keep them alive during surgery, but sometimes it causes irritation. The discomfort will pass.
    • Stiffness or lameness from having to stay in one position for an extended period of time during surgery.

    If your pet suffers from post operative complications requiring further treatment, it is usually performed at a discounted rate, as a good will gesture. Thankfully, complications don’t happen very often but because they do, we want you to be prepared.

    8. Fees


    • If you have Pet Insurance and would like to submit a Gap Claim, please notify us on admission.
    • If you would like to use Zip, VetPay or AfterPay, please notify us on admission so paperwork can be started.
    • All fees are payable on Discharge, when you pick up your pet.
    • 1-2 post operative visits are included in your surgery fees. There is no additional charge for these visits unless the patient requires additional care, or antibiotics etc.
    • Please allow for unexpected issues & therefore fees e.g. some pets are a bit naughty and despite all of our efforts, chew out their IV catheters. An additional catheter charge may be charged to put in a new one. They are only small charges but best to be prepared. Have a word to your pet before they come in and ask them to be good!

    We are always here to answer any of your questions. If you need anything clarified, please give us a call.

    Thanks for choosing us to care for your pet. We take this trust seriously, and when your pet is with us, they are the highest priority.