The Pet Oxygen Mask is often the preferred administration device for home use. It is available in three different sizes to accommodate the patient’s snout and is exceptionally easy for pet parents to use. Compliance can be difficult when dealing with a distressed patient, however, hundreds of pet parent anecdotes have shown that proper introduction of the mask to the pet can improve acceptance and successful treatment. Veterinary hospitals can employ alternative oxygen administration devices depending on the pet parent, patient and condition, and the possible use scenarios, such as during transfer or at-home use. 

In addition to masks, E-collars are commercially available or can be created by using plastic cling wrap covering 80% of the ventral opening1 with the tube entering at the collar. The recommended flow rates to achieve desired oxygen supplementation and avoid rebreathing are 200ml/kg/min for a mask and 100ml/kg/min for a vented e-collar2 The actual FiO2 obtained is dependent on:

1) the minute volume (how much air the patient is moving in and out of their lungs per minute)

2) the space of the device and other dead space

3) venting and entrainment from the device

4) the oxygen flow rate.3

One of the most efficient methods for administering oxygen to veterinary patients is the nasal (pharyngeal) catheter which provides an FiO2 of  approximately 30% at 50 ml/kg/min via single catheter ranging to 60% at 100ml/kg/min with via double catheter3 4 Due to their length, catheters provide a higher FiO2 at a lower flow rate and are better tolerated than human nasal cannulas. Nasal (pharyngeal) catheterization is an easy and cost-effective procedure:

1) Premeasure a red rubber or commercially available specific catheter so that it occupies 1/3 to ½ of the diameter of the nostril to the lateral canthus of the eye.

2) Instill proparacaine into the nostril with lidocaine jelly or water based lubricant, the nose is pushed dorsal while the catheter is aimed ventral to assure placement into the ventral (largest) meatus.

3) Once the catheter is advanced to the pre-measured length (stop if resistance is encountered and reattempt), place a tape or other butterfly on the catheter just caudal and slightly ventral to the nostril and suture or staple it to the muzzle.

4) Secure the catheter on the side of the face/head or up the middle of the face and on top of the head. The method of nasal (pharyngeal) catheterization is recommended for transporting medium to large dogs. 

Any time oxygen is administered in a way that encloses the mouth, head (e-collar) , or patient (oxygen cage), overheating and additional anxiety to the patient must be avoided. If a mask is not feasible, other administration options can be considered.

To learn more about oxygen administration via the Pet Oxygen Mask please visit

About Sean Smarick, VMD, DACVECC

Veterinary Advisor

Sean Smarick is a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991 and completed a residency in Veterinary Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care at the University of California in 2003. Dr. Smarick spent over 25 years in private and university based clinical practice while also participating in CPR research, training residents, lecturing and instructing at conferences, contributing to journals and textbooks and managing veterinary practices. He currently is a Domain Chair in RECOVER, member of the K9 TECC working group, NAVEMS board member and VETCoT Prehospital Care Subcommittee and has recently commissioned in the USAR Veterinary Corps.



1. Crowe, D. (2009), Delivering Supplemental Oxygen to Dogs and Cats: a Practical Review. DVM 360.

2. Burkitt Creedon, J., Davis H. (2012), Advanced Monitoring and Procedures for Small Animal Emergency and Critical Care. Wiley-Blackwell.

3. Zimmerman, M. E., Hodgson, D. S., & Bello, N. M. (2013). Effects of oxygen insufflation rate, respiratory rate, and tidal volume on fraction of inspired oxygen in cadaveric canine heads attached to a lung model. American journal of veterinary research, 74(9), 1247–1251.

4. Dunphy ED, Mann FA, Dodam JR, Branson KR, Wagner-Mann CC, Johnson, PA, Brady MA. (2002), Comparison of unilateral versus bilateral nasal catheters for oxygen administration in dogs. J Vet Emerg Crit Care, 12:245–251.

Pawprint Oxygen does not provide veterinary advice. The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian with questions regarding your pet’s health.

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