The pharmacological effects of the anesthetic alfaxalone were evaluated after intramuscular (IM) administration to 6 healthy beagle dogs. The dogs received three IM doses each of alfaxalone at increasing dose rates of 5 mg/kg (IM5), 7.5 mg/kg (IM7.5) and 10 mg/kg (IM10) every other day. Anesthetic effect was subjectively evaluated by using an ordinal scoring system to determine the degree of neuro-depression and the quality of anesthetic induction and recovery from anesthesia. Cardiorespiratory variables were measured using noninvasive methods. Alfaxalone administered IM produced dose-dependent neuro-depression and lateral recumbency (i.e., 36 ± 28 min, 87 ± 26 min and 115 ± 29 min after the IM5, IM7.5 and IM10 treatments, respectively). The endotracheal tube was tolerated in all dogs for 46 ± 20 and 58 ± 21 min after the IM7.5 and IM10 treatments, respectively. It was not possible to place endotracheal tubes in 5 of the 6 dogs after the IM5 treatment. Most cardiorespiratory variables remained within clinically acceptable ranges, but hypoxemia was observed by pulse oximetry for 5 to 10 min in two dogs receiving the IM10 treatment. Dose-dependent decreases in rectal temperature, respiratory rate and arterial blood pressure also occurred. The quality of recovery was considered satisfactory in all dogs receiving each treatment; all the dog exhibited transient muscular tremors and staggering gait. In conclusion, IM alfaxalone produced a dose-dependent anesthetic effect with relatively mild cardiorespiratory depression in dogs. However, hypoxemia may occur at higher IM doses of alfaxalone.