Can Dogs Get Altitude Sickness?

Whether you are relocating to Colorado or hiking a to mountain optimal over 10,000 feet, you might be questioning if your dog can obtain altitude sickness. I became curious about this a couple of years ago when I was planning a trip to Colorado with my small dogs.

Post originally publishes August 2015

We intended to stay in Denver, Leadville, as well as a number of other high elevation communities. We likewise prepared to trek Mount Elbert– the highest peak in Colorado and also the greatest top in the “reduced 48” (US) that pet dogs are allowed on.

Denver, often referred to as the mile-high city, is 5,280 feet above water level. Leadville sits at 10,000 feet and Mount Elbert peaks at 14,439 feet. All three of these destinations area above the elevation threshold were acute mountain sickness can take place. I assumed we were particularly high danger because the City we live in is barely over 500 feet above sea level.

My pre-trip research disclosed that, yes, pets can indeed bet altitude sickness. before we left.

What is Altitude Sickness?

Acute mountain sickness is something that takes place to individuals as well as canines when they transfer to a greater altitude as well quickly.

Air at higher altitudes contains less oxygen (has a reduced oxygen pressure). A body can experience physical distress while it’s trying to get used to this.

This distress can show up in several ways and can be categorized right into three major kinds by signs and symptoms.

Altitude sickness is cased by the absence of oxygen at high altitudes

The milder of the 3 is called Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) or simply “mountain sickness”. It’s the most typical as well as what individuals commonly consider when referring to acute mountain sickness.

The other two kinds, which are much more severe, are defined by fluid build-up in the lungs (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema or HAPE) or liquid build-up of fluid in the mind (High Altitude Cerebral Edema or HACE).

The initial one makes a pet dog or person feel dreadful yet it can be dealt with “in your home” in most cases. The latter 2 conditions are life medical as well as threatening focus is important.

When Can a Dog Get Altitude Sickness?

Individuals in some cases get altitude sickness when they get to an altitude of 8,000 feet or greater. It’s anticipated it is the same for pet dogs (they can’t inform us for sure).

Just as not every person establishes altitude sickness, neither does every pet. Dogs are less vulnerable to it than human beings.

Dogs that are extra prone to altitude sickness include:

Some canines are more at risk to altitude sickness than others

  • Pets underlying medical conditions, particularly ones affecting the lungs and the capability of their hear to pump oxygenated blood
  • Brachycephalic pet dogs such as fighters, bulldogs and pugs are much more prone to altitude sickness also
  • Elderly Dogs

Acute Mountain Sickness in Small Dogs

I asked yourself if the probability of acute mountain sickness could raise the smaller sized the pet dog is.

My reasoning is that a smaller sized body could have a more challenging time adjusting or taking a breath in sufficient oxygen.

Truthfully, I could not locate any kind of information about altitude sickness particularly as it puts on lap dogs or a decreased body mass.

I suspect the solution would be related to the difference between adult people as well as children so I looked into that.

This study located that,”… kids are no more most likely to establish intense mountain health issues than

adults. “I additionally did a little excavating right into acute mountain sickness for smaller mammals like rats. Nothing I discovered suggested that smaller animals are more prone to acute mountain sickness than larger ones.

I presume that both tiny and large dog can create elevation health issues, or not, at the very same rate.

Signs of Altitude Sickness in Dogs

Canines can’t tell us when they feel poor as well as will often push themselves to please us.

It’s essential to understand the signs and symptoms of acute mountain sickness so you can identify when your pup may be in problem.

The signs can vary however consist of:

  • Hyperventilation/excessive panting
  • Too much drooling
  • Dry Cough
  • Throwing up
  • Pale periodontals
  • Raised pulse
  • Swelling of feet and also possibly the face
  • Lightheadedness and also lack of sychronisation
  • Lethargy and rejection to move
  • Headache (not typically a visible check in canines yet their head can harm)
  • Bleeding from the nose and retina (only in extreme instances)

A canine experiencing acute mountain sickness will normally show numerous of these signs and symptoms at the same time

Preparing a Dog for High Altitude

To prepare, it’s ideal if you can remain for several days to weeks at higher elevation than normal for your dog yet below the 8,000 feet threshold. This will aid your pet dog adjust to a higher altitude.

I understand is not always practical if you are on a fast trip however.

Other things you can do to stop acute mountain sickness in your dog are:

  • Increase your canine’s physical fitness, as well as capacity for their body to upgrade oxygen, by starting with lower altitude walkings as well as gradually boosting to harder, greater trails.
  • Walking at a slower rate to make the climb more progressive
  • Make sure that your canine is consuming alcohol adequate water
  • Include flavored electrolytes for pet dogs to their water to lure them to drink and also preserve optimal athletic efficiency

Prevention is the most effective medication yet it’s not a warranty that your pet dog will not get acute mountain sickness

What to Do if Your Dog Shows Signs of Altitude Sickness

If your canine is showing indicators of acute mountain sickness, you need to:

  • Immediately descend to a reduced elevation, preferably listed below 8,000 feet
  • Give them lots of water to rehydrate (you might need to put it down their throat using a syringe from your emergency treatment kit)
  • Rest up until their behavior as well as respiration/heartbeat returns to regular

Most dogs recover well after treatment and returning to their normal altitude.

If something still appears off after you do the above, obtain them to a veterinarian immediately. There may be something else going on.

Our Experience Hiking the Highest Mountain in Colorado with Dogs

We had actually remained in Colorado for a couple of days, yet at a reduced elevation than Leadville, when we tried to hike Mt. Sherman (14,035 feet at the top).

Away, Chester was hiking super sluggish. We chalked it approximately his seniority and also put him in my backpack.

Gretel intended to charge to the leading customarily so we allowed her trek.

The person that most definitely got acute mountain sickness was me. I obtained a headache, came to be weaker, and also felt nautious.

I acknowledged the signs so we made a decision to reverse and remainder for a couple of days.

We relaxed around community the next couple of days. Everybody informed me that consuming whole lots and also lots of water — “a lot that you are sinking” to be specific– would help so I saw to it to hydrate as long as I could.

I tried taking my extreme migraine medicine yet it wasn’t helping. I did what you do as well as took to Mr. Google to see if something else would help. It turns out that ordinary ol’ advil can help with acute mountain sickness.

We used the down time to see more of Colorado, including the Maroon Bells, Aspen, and Top of the Rockies National Scenic Byway.

The increase in altitude sickness had not been an issue for my lap dogs however I sure felt it

After resting for a few days, as well as driving to Leadville, Carbon Monoxide at 10,000 feet above sea level to further acclimate, we were all feeling respectable.

On our last day in Leadville prior to heading home, we tried the Mt. Elbert trek.

My Dachshunds Chester and also Gretel showed up unphased by the walking. So did my hubby. I began really feeling ill once more near the top.

I insisted that he proceed to the leading with the dogs because they were plainly capable of making it.

After taking around 15 minutes to hike the last pair hundred feet, as well as swearing I was mosting likely to quit every labored step, I came to the Summit!

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