The effects of general anesthetics on inducing neuronal apoptosis during early brain development are well-documented. However, since physiological apoptosis also occurs during this developmental window, it is important to determine whether anesthesia-induced apoptosis targets the same cell population as physiological apoptosis or different cell types altogether. To provide an adequate plane of surgery, ketamine was co-administered with dexmedetomidine. The apoptotic neurons in the mouse primary somatosensory cortex (S1) were quantitated by immunohistochemistry. To explore the effect of neural activity on ketamine-induced apoptosis, the approaches of Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs (DREADDs) and an environmental enrichment (EE) were performed. Ketamine-induced apoptosis in S1 is most prominent at postnatal days 5 and 7 (P5 – P7), and becomes insignificant by P12. Physiological and ketamine-induced apoptosis follow similar developmental patterns, mostly comprised of layer V pyramidal neurons at P5 and shifting to mostly layer II to IV GABAergic neurons by P9. Changes in neuronal activity induced by the DREADD system bidirectionally regulated the pattern of ketamine-induced apoptosis, with reduced activity inducing increased apoptosis and shifting the lamination pattern to a more immature form. Importantly, rearing mice in an EE significantly reduced the magnitude of ketamine-induced apoptosis and shifted its developmental pattern to a more mature form. Together, these results demonstrate that lamination pattern and cell-type dependent vulnerability to ketamine-induced apoptosis follow the physiological apoptosis pattern and are age- and activity-dependent. Naturally elevating neuronal activity is a possible method for reducing the adverse effects of general anesthesia.