Stopping Canine Altitude Illness: Suggestions for Excessive Altitude Journey

Till I had traveled to Park Metropolis with an outdated canine a number of years in the past, I had by no means questioned about altitude illness in canines. My canine, who had a coronary heart murmur, was operating round fortunately, after which instantly collapsed. He was out for a couple of minutes after which rebounded again to his happy-go-lucky self.

Whereas the episode might not have been totally linked to the excessive altitude, it was the one out-of-the-ordinary issue that would clarify what had occurred.

Years later, simply previous to touring with Sora at 15,000 ft within the Chilean altiplano, I made a decision to do a little analysis to study extra about how canines are affected by elevation.

Should you’re planning a high-altitude journey along with your pup, it’s necessary to pay attention to the dangers of altitude illness in canines. Identical to people, canines can expertise signs of altitude illness at excessive elevations, however with some preparation and precautions, you’ll be able to assist your canine keep protected and cozy throughout your mountain getaway.

Can Canines Get Altitude Illness?

Like people, low oxygen ranges from excessive elevations can provide canines altitude illness, inflicting complications, vomiting, and nausea, amongst different signs. In excessive circumstances, it might probably trigger a construct up of fluid within the lungs and mind.

Altitude illness will not be as widespread in canines as it’s in people, however pet homeowners ought to pay attention to the signs once they journey to increased elevations.

Many of the results of excessive altitude typically current in elevations increased than 8,000 ft.

Some canines haven’t any downside with the excessive altitude, whereas others might exhibit extra indicators. The velocity at which you ascend will have an effect on the onset and severity of the signs.

Elevations ranging between 5,000 ft to 11,500 ft above sea stage are thought of excessive altitude. Something from 11,500 to about 18,000 ft is excessive altitude.

Indicators of Altitude Illness in Canines

Since our canines can’t inform us how they really feel with phrases and since they notoriously masks ache, it’s as much as pet dad and mom to observe their canine for any indicators of malaise.

Signs of altitude illness in canines consists of:

  • Panting
  • Extreme drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Pale gums
  • Bleeding from the nostril and retina (solely in excessive circumstances)
  • Elevated pulse
  • Dry cough
  • Swelling of ft and presumably the face
  • Sudden collapse
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Lack of coordination
  • Lethargy and refusal to maneuver
  • Hypertension
  • Elevated coronary heart fee

Should you detect any of those indicators, take a break to permit your canine to relaxation and recuperate. Regularly transfer your pet to a decrease elevation in the event that they persist and search veterinary care instantly.

Keeping your dog hydrated is one way to prevent altitude sickness in dogs.

Stopping Altitude Illness in Canines

Should you’ve ever skilled altitude illness your self, you then perceive how terrible it feels. I personally suffered from a pounding headache for a number of days and was unable to sleep for 3 straight nights. 

Watch your canine intently as you start to climb, holding an eye fixed out for indications that they might be experiencing altitude illness. 

There are some steps you’ll be able to take previous to reaching excessive altitude to assist each you and your canine really feel most snug.

Maintain Your Canine Hydrated

Hydration is essential to stopping signs of excessive altitude. The dry air and elevated exercise could cause your canine to change into dehydrated extra rapidly than normal. 

Deliver a transportable water bowl and pack water particularly in your canine and supply them water extra typically than you’ll on a typical hike.

You may also give your canine electrolytes earlier than visiting excessive altitude places. I lean towards extra pure choices, like coconut water or bone broth for canines.

Regularly Acclimate Your Canine to Excessive Altitude

Identical to people, canines want time to regulate to increased altitudes. Should you’re planning a visit to a high-altitude vacation spot, it’s necessary to progressively acclimate your canine to the change in elevation. 

Begin by spending a number of days at a decrease altitude earlier than heading to increased elevations. If you’re driving as much as excessive altitude along with your canine, cease each few thousand ft and take a brief 5 to 10-minute stroll. These acclimatization walks will aid you and your canine modify to the skinny air. This can give your canine’s physique time to regulate to the change in air strain and oxygen ranges. 

Monitor your pup’s respiratory and power stage to verify they’re not overdoing it. Ideally, you’ll need to take a number of days to acclimate reasonably than go straight from sea stage to over 10,000 ft.

Moreover, ensure to present your canine loads of relaxation and water through the acclimation course of. In case your canine received’t drink further water, you’ll be able to add it to their meals.

Restrict Train

Over the primary few days in excessive altitude, restrict the quantity of train you give your pup. It’s not the day to move out on a 10-mile hike.

Maintain them on a leash through the first few days, if vital, to power them to decelerate as they modify to the altitude.

Cease typically to permit your canine to relaxation and catch their breath throughout hikes and monitor their panting stage.

Give Your Canine a Chew

Should you discover your canine pawing continuously at their ear, they might be popping. Give your canine one thing to chew on as you progress towards increased elevation to assist pop their ears and relieve the discomfort.

The right way to Deal with Altitude Illness in Canines 

Not all indicators of altitude illness point out that your pet is in hassle.

It’s pure in your pet to really feel unwell or out of breath, simply hold a vigilant eye in your canine to verify signs don’t worsen.

Within the meantime, there are a number of methods to assist relieve your canine of among the discomfort as they acclimate.

Keep Hydrated (Sure, once more!)

Correct hydration is the easiest way to forestall and overcome the signs of altitude illness.

Since we are able to’t clarify this to our canines, we’ve obtained to make sure they’re consuming extra water than they normally would on their very own.

In case your canine received’t drink water or different liquids on their very own, add it on to their meals.

Canines require not less than one ounce of water for every pound of physique weight per day, and not less than 1.5 occasions that in excessive altitude, so make certain your canine has entry to wash water always.

Be Ready for Emergencies and Have a Plan

Identical to some other time you’ll be spending time on the paths, having an emergency plan in place can assist facilitate annoying conditions. Along with bringing loads of water and meals, pack a primary assist package that features dog-specific gadgets, establish the situation of the closest veterinary clinic, together with emergency hospital, and produce alongside the 10 Necessities for you and your canine.

Some Canines Ought to Keep away from Excessive Altitude

Canines with sure medical circumstances or particular breeds ought to doubtless keep away from excessive altitude excursions to make sure security.

In case your canine is without doubt one of the breeds or presents one of many remedy circumstances talked about beneath, have a chat along with your vet earlier than hitting the skinny air as publicity could cause life threatening issues.

  • Flat-faced or brachycephalic canines like pugs, Boston terriers, and boxers ought to take further warning earlier than heading to increased altitudes. The skinny air could cause respiratory issues.
  • Canines with pulmonary edema can expertise extreme issues at excessive altitude. The thinner air will create respiratory misery and might trigger fluid within the lungs to happen.
  • Coronary heart ailments or coronary heart murmurs might also change into exacerbated in excessive altitudes, as we noticed within the case of my outdated canine talked about at first of this text. Some circumstances might not current at decrease altitudes so it might be a good suggestion to have your pup checked out earlier than going to increased elevation.
  • Senior canines might also be extra delicate to increased altitudes.
Dog goggles like RexSpecs help prevent diseases that can come from spending time in high altitude.

Eye Safety

Along with quick bodily indicators of excessive altitude illness, long run results of spending time in excessive altitude might trigger imaginative and prescient issues, equivalent to pannus.

Canines who spend frequent time within the altitude and/or have gentle coloured eyes are extra vulnerable to eye issues attributable to the solar.

I exploit and advocate eye safety, like RexSpecs to guard your canine’s eyes in excessive altitude, amongst a variety of different circumstances like water, snow, and sand. They’re well-designed and extremely sturdy.

With the precautions and care listed above, canines can acclimate to excessive elevations, however they might expertise altitude illness. With the appropriate data and preparation, it’s completely doable to discover excessive elevation areas along with your canine.


Like humans, some dogs can get altitude sickness. This post explains what signs to look for, how to reduce or prevent the symptoms, and when to see veterinary attention.