4 things to consider when selecting an Oxygen Cage for your dog or cat

Pet Oxygen Cages can be used to administer extended oxygen therapy to your pet at home in order to treat a variety of conditions including pneumonia, congestive heart failure, cancer, collapsing trachea, feline asthma, and more.

It’s important to consider 4 things when selecting an Oxygen Cage for your pet:


1. Select the Correct Size Cage

Be sure to choose a cage size that fits your pet and your oxygen source. Bigger cages require higher oxygen flow rates to work correctly.

2. Does it have an Oxygen Supply connection?

A medical-grade oxygen concentrator is required to supply a pet oxygen cage and create a safe environment for your pet.

3. Does it allow you to change the Oxygen Saturation Level? 

Make sure your cage or chamber allows you to set the oxygen saturation in the cage. Too high or too low can be dangerous for your pet.

4. Does it prevent harmful Carbon Dioxide build-up?

Your pet expels carbon dioxide with every breath; Make sure your cage has a way to prevent dangerous carbon dioxide buildup. Simply venting the cage may not be enough.

How to Select the Correct Oxygen Cage for your Pet

Your pet’s weight is a helpful guideline for selecting the size of the pet oxygen cage, but it’s important to measure your pet’s height and length to ensure that you are purchasing the correct size cage. Compare your pet’s measurements to the dimensions of the cage and make sure your pet has a few inches on each side to move around.

The Buster ICU Oxygen Cage comes in three different sizes:

  • Small: 18” x 13” x 13” For pets under 5lbs
  • Medium: 24” x 18’ x 18” For pets under 25lbs
  • Large: 44’ x 26’ x 26” For pets under 70lbs
pet oxygen cage, buster ICU

How to do I supply Oxygen to my Pet Oxygen Cage?

In all cases, we recommend using a medical-grade oxygen concentrator to supply your pet oxygen cage. Oxygen tanks or cylinders will run out of oxygen very quickly at the required flow rates, making them a less cost-effective option. Oxygen Concentrators are extremely safe to use at home in comparison to tanks or cylinders.

When selecting an oxygen concentrator, make sure that your unit is medical-grade and has a continuous flow. This ensures that your oxygen concentrator can supply the required flow rate of oxygen at the correct purity in order to provide a safe environment for your pet.

Our tests show that you need a constant flow rate of 5 Liters Per Minute of medical-grade oxygen to supply the small and medium size Buster ICU Oxygen Cage. The large size requires 10 Liters per Minute of medical-grade oxygen. using lower flow rates or lower purity oxygen can be dangerous for your pet. We’ll talk about that more below.

How to select the correct Oxygen Level for your Pet Oxygen Cage

Room air contains 21% oxygen. The goal of oxygen therapy is to increase the level of oxygen in the bloodstream by providing an enriched supply of oxygen to the patient.

Different patients may require different oxygen levels (also called oxygen saturation) based on their condition. You should consult your veterinarian to determine the best oxygen level for your pet. Below, we’ll go over some general guidelines that may or may not apply to your pet.

In the animal hospital, the most common oxygen level used is 40%. This is considered a safe level because it is below the level at which oxygen toxicity (too much oxygen) can occur. Your pet oxygen cage should include a way to set the level of oxygen in the cage without adjusting the flow rate of the oxygen supply.

This is generally accomplished with a Venturi System, which mixes room air with the oxygen supply in order to achieve the set oxygen level. It’s important to note, if you are considering purchasing a Pawprint Pet Oxygen Cage, a Venturi Kit is included with your purchase – something that you will not find with common products found on Amazon.

Pawprint Oxygen venturi pieces

It’s important to keep your oxygen supply at the flow rate that is recommended for your cage size. In other words, you don’t want to adjust the oxygen level or saturation in the cage by increasing or decreasing the flow rate on your oxygen concentrator. Instead, use a Venturi System to set the oxygen level while maintaining the appropriate overall airflow to disperse heat, humidity, and carbon dioxide in the cage.

Be careful of Oxygen Toxicity

Too much oxygen can be dangerous! Oxygen toxicity, also known as hyperoxia, can result if a pet is exposed to 100% oxygen for more than 24 hours, or >60% oxygen for more than 48 hours.  Risks include lung damage and symptoms are similar to respiratory distress. Dr Waddell, DVM, DACVECC states:

Inflammatory injury is caused by toxic metabolites of oxygen, including oxygen free radicals and superoxide molecules. Clinically, oxygen toxicity is difficult to diagnose, but changes in the lungs are similar to those seen in acute respiratory distress syndrome. The oxygen concentration used to maintain critical patients should always be minimized to the lowest the patient can tolerate.

Talk to your vet to make sure you’re providing the right oxygen concentration for your pet.

How to prevent Carbon Dioxide build-up

One of the most important elements of your oxygen cage setup is the displacement of carbon dioxide.

Your pet is exhaling carbon dioxide with each breath, and without proper airflow and ventilation, carbon dioxide can build up and become unsafe for your pet. 

The best way to mitigate carbon dioxide in a pet oxygen cage at home is through ventilation and air exchange. Venting your cage is the first step: don’t worry, you won’t lose as much oxygen as you think!

Our tests with the Buster ICU Oxygen Cage show that opening the zippers 6 inches can reduce carbon dioxide significantly while reducing oxygen by only 1-2%.

Proper air exchange is equally important to maintaining safe levels of carbon dioxide. A medium size oxygen cage is typically 100-120 liters in liquid volume — that’s a lot of space to fill up with oxygen! Using a flow rate of 5 liters per minute would take 24 minutes to cycle through all of the air in the cage, which isn’t enough air exchange to maintain safe carbon dioxide levels. So how do we fix that?

With the Venturi System! This system, described above and included with the Buster ICU Oxygen Cage, multiplies the total airflow in the pet oxygen cage, helping to flush out carbon dioxide and keep the cage cool. For example, using the 40% Venturi with a 5 Liter Per Minute oxygen supply results in 12-13 Liters Per Minute of total airflow in the pet oxygen cage. That’s enough to maintain safe carbon dioxide levels.

Be careful of Pet oxygen cages that don’t use the Venturi System! We tested a few products marketed on Amazon and found that carbon dioxide levels rose to dangerous levels within 5 minutes of use.