Has Anyone Ever Built an Oxygen Tent for their Pet

We received the following email last night and I was hoping that if any of you have some experience you could help out. I am deleting any personal details from the email and just leaving the situation. Maybe if a vet could weigh in if they have ever helped a client build an oxygen tent / chamber at home.


Trixie the Chihuahua recently started acting under the weather, we had her in vets and nobody could find anything wrong with her. Long story short, Trixie ended up an hour away in the veterinary hospital. Barely able to breathe. Every test under the sun and they still don’t know what is wrong with her….at one point we were sure we were going to loose her but she has been getting a little better bit by bit. She’s in an incubator so she can get oxygen. We make the trip everyday to visit her and she seems to be improving a little at a time, to the point where she is alert and MAD when we have to leave.

The internal medicine dr said since they can’t figure out what’s wrong with her, if they can keep her breathing regulated he said she might be able to come home, if she is stable she may continue to improve more if she can be with my mom. He said he knows some pet parents get a portable oxygen tent and he can prescribe oxygen in case her breathing gets bad.Unfortunately he has no clue where they get the tents and I can’t seem to find them anywhere. In your research have you come across anything like this or can you offer any suggestions?

I am so sorry they don’t know what is wrong with little Trixie but glad to hear she seems to be stabilizing. I have never had to administer oxygen at home and don’t recall any of the clients at the Animal Hospital I worked at having to either so I did a bit of an online search. There doesn’t seem to be portable oxygen tents for dogs available on the market. It seems that some people purchase a child sized oxygen tent from Human Medical Supply companies.

I did find some great ideas for small dogs that might prove to be easier to acquire and would make a suitable oxygen chamber at home. The best idea I saw was a giant fish take where they lined the bottom with soft blankets and a pillow and put a fan inside. I couldn’t see how or where the oxygen was coming in from but I would think they rigged it to go through the top. A big fish tank could prove very costly and since this is something you need right away and can’t wait to find one at a yard sale or on Craigslist etc. A temporary solution would be to use a hard sided crate and wrap it in plastic cling wrap. You could wrap the sides in plastic and then wrap the door separately. You would probably need to use packing tape in order to make sure the plastic is secure or you could start with taping up the holes and then put plastic around it. It will not be perfect and some oxygen could escape but it would be better then nothing and should work. The crate could be left on a table or desk set up and ready for anyone to use.

After a little more digging I found a picture of a dog in an Oxygen tent where the brand name was visible. If you do a search for Buster Oxygen Tent you should be able to find a supplier. It looks exactly like a soft sided crate only instead of mesh the sides are plastic.

If the situation is really bad and you need to be sure of direct oxygen to your dog you could always purchase an oxygen mask they come in three sizes so for the big dogs this might be the only real viable option for at home oxygen therapy.

 If anyone has some words of advice from experience or other ideas of how to create a pet oxygen tent / chamber in your home please feel free to share.

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  1. Thanks so much Felissa (and Davinia & Indiana), this is great info!
    Your posts are always so well researched and helpful for all doggie parents.
    Thanks for all the hard work, I really appreciate your efforts.
    I had heard of the crate idea but not the fish tank or the Buster Tent.

  2. lfhpueblo says

    Some of the oxygen needs to escape, because as the dog exhales his CO2 needs to be able to escape or he'll be breathing that back in too. You never want an oxygen tent over tight with animals, unless you were trying to make a pressure chamber. Pressure chambers you have to come out of slowly or you get the bends like deep sea divers that come up too quickly.

    • Glenda Griffin says

      My dog Brody is in need of oxygen due to lung disease , so will a regular small 2 person tent work ? I am desperate since we cannot afford it any longer $1200.00 over night which he occasionally needs more and more as his disease is progressing.

  3. deb mastracci says

    I need to get a tent for my cavalier, I have the oxygen concentrator

    • debbie lariscy says

      How is that working? It’s been awhile, but I have an O concentrator and made an O chamber. But I’m not seeing much improvement and wonder IF I have too much venting or too little to let exhaled air out (important). He is small and I am using flow rate of 2. ALSO, does the concentrator give the same saturation of O. as a tank would?? Thanks. Deb

      • Hi!
        I’m in a simliar situation with my Cavalier and was wondering if you’d been able to find out any of the answers to your questions from March? Thanks!

  4. Lorna Blechyndne says

    There is also an aviation one for about $150. Go to [email protected]

    Also try yucko’s.com

  5. Carol Neal says

    I too am creating an oxygen set up for my 4 lb Chihuahua who has been diagnosed with airway disease and collapsing larynx. At this point she really only needs the help of oxygen at night. I purchased a concentrator from a company called First Class Medical for $675 which I thought was very reasonable. I was thinking about using an extremely large clear tote with lots of larger air holes as well as cracking the lid. Especially when we go camping in our fifth wheel. Also hope to find a small fan for inside. Does this sound like something workable, as long as it is well vented?

  6. I built an oxygen tent for our Basil, Maltese. Not portable but inexpensive and effective for use at home. If you google “oxygen tents for pets” you will see him in his “bubble”. I am currently updating original article because I have had so many inquiries. Feel free to email me for info and pictures.

    • Please email me more info and pictures on your oxygen tent. I have to make one for my boston terrier. Thank you!

    • I need some help with my oxygen concentrator.. can you help me to set it at a proper setting?

      • I have a everflo evercare resperonics…I use setting 2..same setting vet said when using a oxy tank

        • Hi, My pom was in oxygen all weekend (he’s in heart failure) at the hospital and I’m now trying to create an in-home situation for the next time he can’t breathe. Talking to medical supply companies and trying to figure out if its better to buy one of the $600 concentrators. I would really appreciate any emails about your experiences on how best to do this…[email protected]. Thank you so much!!!!!

    • Please help! I need to build
      This for my Pom w lung disease!

    • Please help! I need to build
      This for my Pom w lung disease!
      I cover a cage with plastic wrap but leave some holes open? I then buy an oxygen tank and just flow some

    • Anne Campbell says

      I am beginning oxygen home therapy for my 3 lb. chihuahua. I have everything except the container for her. I’m bringing her home from the hospital today, and the vet helped me set up the oxygen tank and regulator, but I don’t have the container. He said a tupperware container would work because she is so small, but I have to order the correct size! Help! What else can I do?

      • you can use almost any three sided box..container…table.. it should not be air tight…the dog breathe needs to exhaust out..and with it open on one side…your pet wont get hot. find a oxygen concentrator on craigslist..i paid $75.00 and the women threw in a portable oxy bottle with cart for free.. if the concentrator smells like cigs..use caution about buying it…even after you change the bacteria hepa filter..the pads that are glued to the inside of the case..reek.. ozium works good or you can ask your medical supply for something to kill the odor. to do that..requires you take the back off the case.. not hard.. your dog will not let you put oxy tubes in its nose..so make your own out of a 2 liter soda bottle..very simple…very effective..then just lay the mask close to your pets face and they will breathe. hope this helps..if not drop me a line. good luck with your pet.

    • Hi my name is Megan. Can you please send me more detailed information on how you built your oxygen tent as of what is all needed, I’m trying to build one for my dog as of tomorrow. She is in vet and it is just costing more and more and I just can’t afford it.

      Thank You.

    • Hi it’s Megan again. I would like pictures of your oxygen tent as well.

      thank you so much.

    • Hi Suzanne. It is Megan again. Can you please email me as soon as you can I more questions and what equipment you used for oxygen tent. Thank you again. My email is [email protected]

      • soonja smith says

        Try this! I made an oxygen tent for my cat with a clear dome umbrella. This is what I did: 1. remove the plastic pointy top of the umbrella (to make the oxygen entry) 2. Open the umbrella and lock it. 3. Cut the umbrella pole below the lock (using a cut plier to mark the cutting line, bend the pole back and force – easy to do). 4. open the flatten end using a round screw driver for better flow of oxygen. 5. attach/secure the oxygen tube to the top of the umbrella through the open pipe. 6. Try to seal the top from inside the umbrella using a glue gun (Be careful not to melt the plastic umbrella cover.) 7. Place the tent over the pet’s bed. 8. Run the oxygen concentrator for 5-10 minutes (Use max oxygen flow for better oxygen concentration: in my case, only 5.) 9. Allow your pet to go inside and explore the tent. 10. (optional) hang some of pet’s toys inside the umbrella. 11. Always, check your pet’s response. If you think you pet is not getting enough oxygen, use the commercially made pet oxygen mask (you could purchase your pet’s mask ($43) at http://www.mountainside-medical.com/surgivet-small-recovery-oxygen-mask-for-canines.html) I made my own oxygen mask for my cat using clear plastic funnel. (Note: Never use a human oxygen mask for your pets-dogs and cats. Their nostrils are positioned horizontally and some even slightly facing upward. They won’t get any oxygen using a human oxygen mask.) Email me if you need some pictures of the tent. I am also in middle of making an oxygen chamber with her cage. Remember never stress out your pet during the oxygen therapy! Use a bronchodilator (albuterol, etc. for short-term use only) whenever you see your pet is shortness of breath/labor breathing (first emergency response necessary). For long-term use If you have an diffuser, try diffusing a few drops of peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils to facilitate smooth breathing.( Eucalyptus oil is also antimicrobial.) If your pet doesn’t like the smell, stop! Never stress your pet out during the oxygen therapy! Consider using humidifier and/or nebulizer during the oxygen therapy. Good luck!

    • raquel Jane says

      I am looking for a vet in Austin that will write me a prescription for oxygen at home , for my pet Pomeranian. He is challenged with congestive heart failure and is on medication. Once on oxygen, he seems much better. My vet is hesitant to prescibe this for home.


  7. Hi I need assistance as soon as possible I have two female dogs that have wheezing sounds when they breathe. I need to know how to get them oxygen, I have a carrier and plastic wrap but what else do I need?

    • Hi Mary,

      Allergy testing (varl labs Pasadena is the best I found) is the best way to find out the underlying cause of that wheeze and start dealing with it. For a temporary solution while you check for allergies, ask your doctor to prescribe ventolin and an aerodawg inhaler unit and learn to use it. Find out their allergies while doing this. Oxygen therapy is dangerous (highly flammable and can be deadly if administered wrong or for wrong reasons) AND SHOULD BE USED AS A LAST RESORT after all other things have been tried. Wheeze on exhale is more likely asthma but can be other things or a simple lung infection. wheeze on inhale can be a lot of things too but is not usually asthma and can be lung infection, fibrosis, and so many other things. Vets will recommend a lot of stuff and this can get expensive so stick to your guns and get your vet to work with VARL labs or if they are not on prednisone or allergy meds yet, any allergy test should be fine as false positives on allergy tests are usually related to medicine interactions. VARL guarantees no false positives. Also, xrays of lungs would be my next recommendation. also a blood panel helps in diagnosing whether a host of other issues could be affecting your animals. I would do it all but if you can’t afford it, do it in that order. allergy test, x ray, blood panel. Diagnostics are the best use of your money so you don’t waste money on a bunch of meds and therapies they don’t need and you treat your dog properly. Good luck and let me know how it goes, my email is on a large post further down…

      • one more thing… antihistimines are a good first try. but have your doctor prescribe. if you get the allergy test and there are a lot of allergies, your doctor won’t have any issue prescribing. they may prescribe without test to see if it works…. I used clemestine for years and just switched to Claritin. generic for Claritin is loretadine and is really cheap generically. don’t do it yourself, get the right dose for your dog from the doctor

        • if you have a dog with bronchitis…do not use antihistamine..it dries the phelm and makes it thicker..and dont give your pet ice water..normal room temp water is better for bronchitis.

  8. But where do I get oxygen for the tent? Does it require a prescription?

    • If your pet needs an oxygen tent your vet will have to be the one to let you know where to get the oxygen. I would think you need a prescription and you can only find it from special suppliers. Your vet might even have to order it for you.

    • try craigslist for a portable oxygen tank preferable one with a regualtor….it costs about $20 to fill it..

  9. Hi Everyone,

    Great post but one or two concerned me. I am not a vet but have enough experience with both dogs and cats and over 100K in vet expenses over my lifetime… My dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier has multiple issues and is in the older years of her life. I have thought for at least 6 months she would benefit from some oxygen therapy. Her history is extreme allergies from 3 years old to present 10 years old. it took me 2 years of dealing with yeast infections of ears and paws before I sprung $250 for VARL labs in Pasadena CA allergy testing. Much research led me to VARL labs. They offer a no false positives liquid gold test. The vets had recommended unusual meats like lamb and duck instead of chicken and beef and it turned out she wasn’t allergic to chicken or beef but was allergic to duck and lamb! So don’t bother guessing. She is also allergic to dust mites, roaches, 90 percent of grasses and trees and a host of other things. The allergy testing process probably saved her life and expanded her life. After a few years on antihistimines, she developed asthma. I knew this from wheeze on exhale as I have asthma too. I told the vet and and she dismissed asthma (5 years ago) as dogs didn’t have asthma or it was rare. A year later, she acknowledged she has asthma and told me about the AERODOG air chamber to use with inhalers. She started on a bhroncodialator ventolin, then a year later when worse, she was started on flovent. she was already on and off short doses of prednisone when she had paw flareups or increased asthma or the two or more lung infections she would get per year. Now, she has pneumonia and possible hardening (fibrosis) of the lungs and is on a nebulizer when she needs it. But all these things aren’t working the way they should anymore and she is in need of oxygen therapy. I have had to do all research and am in the process (1 week so far) of convincing my vet to prescribe to the local supplier so I can rent a unit. She has no reference to doing it at home with a mask and we sat on the phone together reviewing websites and decided to use my aerodawg chamber and mask intermittently as she seems to need it with holding the mask in front of her face and letting the oxygen be mixed with air on continuous flow as she breathes with room air. YOU DO NOT WANT THEM BREATHING BACK IN THEIR EXHALE SO ALL THOSE COMMENTS ABOVE ARE RELEVANT. I am used to giving her nebulizer and watching her breath as it goes in and out and taking the mask off and putting it on with each breath. You have to be careful as if the mask is small like the aerodawg you can irritate the nose if you don’t pay perfect attention. Not something you can double task with. no tv, no talking… Always talk to them prior and tell them its ok and good medicine and during and after pets and encouragement. also, classical music is loved by all animals and soothing music during these cases is important. never vacuum with your pet in the room but vacuum and keep dust mites to a minimum. Wash pet bedding and bed covers a lot to keep dust mites at bay. I have a couple pillow cases and towels I keep clean pile to grab and put under her chin and front paws when she is on my carpet. Don’t just leave them in the yard with grass and trees if they have these issues it could be major allergies. Wipe paws with hypoallergenic baby wipes if you have red paws after grass time. Give your dog a warm bath with allergroom or episoothe (virbac) IN WARM MID DAY TIMES AND USE A HAIR DRYER IF IT IS COLD TO DRY THEM FAST AS LUNG ISSUES TEND TO LEAD TO BHRONCHITIS AND PNEUMONIA BUT GETTING ALLERGENS OFF YOUR PET AT LEAST WEEKLY IS PARAMOUNT. When I can’t bathe her or she is too sick, I use baby wipes or a washcloth with cetaphil antibacterial human soap (bar is cheaper and better) and squeeze it out so it’s not soapy but has a little on the washcloth for antibacterial / anti allergen wipedown. Face too and to wipe tears away so you can see new tears when they are having breathing issues. that’s all I have time for… my email is [email protected] if anyone needs more information.

    • Patricia Rossi says

      You have done everything a great Momma could do Susan…..but why have you not gotten rid of your carpet? Carpets are the nastiest carriers of toxins and mites. Use throw rugs that can be washed.

  10. a few more things on diagnosis…..
    Trust your instincts – if the vet dismisses your suspicions, go home with your new knowledge and their recommendations and research online. If you still think you are right, revisit with your vet (bring a list when you go with all your questions and make sure you get answers to EVERYTHING). Show your vet you aren’t an average owner, but an involved and capable one. Like any doctor or vet, if they get impatient with you or don’t listen, go find a new one. But listen to them too…
    I believe in diagnostics but they are expensive 120+ for xrays, same for ultrasounds, blood panels, 200+ for allergy testing. I have done all of these things for my dog every 2-3 years so it should be a line item in your monthly budget if you have a pet to have a savings for these things on a periodic basis.
    One more thing, when you get these things they provide a baseline of where your dog is at now. If your dog worsens or gets an infection, there is something to compare the new diagnostic to the old. This is the case with bloodwork/bloodpanel and xrays as well as any diagnostic including allergy testing. I have only allergy tested once but I have xrayed, blood panels and other diagnostics every 2-3 years. Very helpful.

  11. Luanne Webster says

    I read your post with great interest as my small dog has congestive heart failure and I am doing research on ways I can help her at home if she starts to go into heart failure, or has trouble breathing.
    Your description of using the fish tank or enclosed crate makes sense but I’m not clear when you refer to using a fan. Is the fan in place of direct oxygen or do I still need to have a direct oxygen source.
    Also, can I buy oxygen already in a tank online or do I need a prescription to have a tank filled. It’s a little confusing but since I’m just starting my research I hope to have all the information eventually.
    Thank you so much and any imput would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Isabel Santiago says

    Can’t afford these oxygen tents in the market, I must build it myself for my 9 yr old mancoon who has a collapsed lung, need lots of help.

  13. I’ve recently had to build an oxygen ‘tent’ (really a tank) for some very young Scottish Terrier puppies with aspiration pneumonia. It is actually quite easy in concept, but difficult in execution. As both an engineer and an EMS medical responder (firefighter) I have a bit I pulled together a number of things.
    First – cautions.
    – You must have ‘flow through’ – as somebody mentioned the animal exhales CO2 which you much evacuate. So you cannot just put oxygen into a closed space.
    – You must regulate the oxygen concentration – too much O2 is bad – you do not want to be above 30-40% O2 for most cases.
    – The way ‘real’ oxygen cages work is they mix room air and 100% O2 to achieve the desired percentage and blow it in.
    – Temp control can be an issue.

    Specialty items.
    – You will need an oxygen source. The best is an oxygen concentrator – like people use. You can typically rent them at home medical supply stores. You will need a prescription from your vet as O2 is considered a drug. Oxygen concentrators deliver about 90% oxygen. The one I’m renting right now is $150/month.
    – You need an oxygen meter. I really don’t know how to get around that. Otherwise you are just guessing and I can tell you that changing the flow just a little changes the oxygen concentration a lot. They are specialty items that you can get from SCUBA supply stores. I use a Nuvair Pro Dive O2. It cost about $250 and is not something you can buy at the local shop. A word of warning. This device does not compensate for altitude – so you have to do a conversion. The % of oxygen in air is 20.9%- everywhere – but the partial pressure is lower. For low altitudes you can turn the calibration knob – but at my altitude I cannot turn far enough. Instead I calculate the partial pressure of oxygen at my altitude. For my place – 7000ft – the meter reads about 0.79 of the actual. So it reads 16.1 for atmosphere. 30% oxygen is 23.7. 40% is 35.5. BTW – you have to periodically replace the sensor – they have a limited life. This is just a part inside so it is not the cost of the whole thing. The more you use it at high O2, the faster it wears out.

    How did I build it
    – I used a clear steralite container.
    – In one lower corner I have a hole the size of the tube from the Oxygen concentrator.
    – In another corner on the same side I have a small ~1″ hole over which I mounted a very small 12V DC fan – blowing in. You could also blow out. Get this at radio shack.
    – I power the fan with a switchable “radio shack” Power ‘bug’ This one has a switch for 1.5, 3, 4.5, 6, 7.5, 9, 10,5 and 12 V. This is very nice because by changing the setting you can change the fan speed and adjust how much air it pushes.

    How do you use it?
    – I place the dog in the box – on a blanket of course.
    – Place the lid on top – loosely – I don’t snap it down. I want airflow.
    – Hang the oxygen meter on the far side from the o2 and fan – and above the floor. It is sensitive enough that if the pup crawls over there and breaths at it, it will affect the reading.
    – Turn on the O2 at half flow – typically 2.5L/min
    – Turn on the fan at half speed – 6V
    – Watch the O2 meter- if it is above your desired level, you can either turn down the flow or turn up the fan. Remember – you want good air flow – so I tend to err on the high side. It is too low, turn up the oxygen flow, or turn down the fan. Again – I tend to run at higher flows. I want fresh Oxygen at 30%, and low CO2. I want airflow through the box.

    What I found for my box – I’m running at 3.5L Oxygen with the lid of the sterelite sitting on top, but not snapped down, and the fan at 6V. I’m running 28-32% oxygen. That’s about as good a control as I can get.

    Hope this helps.

  14. Oxygen is good for the skin and other health issues with your breathing. The air we breathe is not pure oxygen yet we survive in it. Imagine a pure one you breathe and how good would that feel. And your pets too.

  15. I have a toy poodle that has collapsed trachea and cushings disease. Sometimes she has a hard time breathing so I decided to make her a kennel with oxygen going to it just in case! When we almost lost her they put her in a box with oxygen at the vet and it did wonders for her! In addition to losing weight.. She still coughs all the time and is taking cough medicine. I got a medium sized cage and wrapped it tight with plastic! Then made small hole and put oxygen tube inside! Also made small hole on other side for when she exhales and a small fan. I bought a oxygen condenser to use for oxygen! This works for her when she needs it

  16. soonja smith says

    I believe the holistic and natural medicine can solve many health issues. My pets are doing much better since I changed their commercial diet to homemade diet. I noticed that their coats are shinier and smoother. They are much more active. Consider improving your pet’s health by giving her some herbs that are good for her respiratory system and boost her immune system. Do some research on natural herbs. Good luck!

  17. I have a dog with bronchtis.. after a stay at a emergency pet hospital..i learned some tricks to use at home to help my dog breathe… I bought a oxygen concentrator off craigslist. turn it on and smell the oxygen coming out..before you buy…most smell like cigs..absolutly disgusting.. . i have a table that is enclosed on three sides..so I put her in the table..i run the oxygen line from the concentrator to a homemade doggie oxygen mask i made out of the top 4 inches of a two liter soda bottle..i cut the nose pieces off…i run the hose through the part where the cap would be and secure it with white medical tape..just so it does not slide out… with my girl in the table..I lay the mask in front of her..it does not have to be on her face per say..just close…i set the concentrator to #2 and turn it on.. she will lay there and breathe…another thing i did..is i bought a Honeywell air purifier..the round one…it fits under the table where she is laying. and i turn that on also…the mask sets on top of the purifier..and when she breathes..she gets 99.9% dust and allergen free air from the purifier and she gets oxygen from the concentrator..both at the same time.. i feel this has saved her life…and it does not cost me $700 a night at the vets to be in a oxygen tank… i also bought a used nebuliser from a hospital supply place and my vet wrote me a script for liquid albuterol to give her as well when she is in distress.. all these things combined have made it easier for her to breathe..thus saving her life. if anyone has any questions..drop me a line..this setup was not expensive compared to what a 4 day stay at the hospital was.

  18. same predicament as you although not sure about scuba tanks, the only site i could find that builds them for you is http://www.oxygen4pets.com , but there located in Tampa it looks like, hope it helps!!

  19. I have three deer fawns with pneumonia. We have made an oxygen tent out of one of their stalls. Wrapped in plastic, sealed everywhere except where door is. Their is air flow at bottom of door where the plastic is not taped down. I have attached an oxygen concentrator hose to the plastic. I have also hooked up a portable room A/C unit to keep it cool. My vet says no to the A/C, that I need a dehumidifier. The A/C unit has a drain on it for moisture it pulls out of the air. Won’t this work? Do I need a dehumidifier?

  20. I’m sure their is confusion regarding oxygen for pets. Its, easy to get an oxygen mask. The hard part is finding a o2 machine and knowing how to use it. We have been in business for 10 years. Oxygen for pets is the only company that offers this service. Call us today with any questions 813 770 7958. Oxygen4pets.com

  21. A therapy for pets is really cool. Oxygen one really helps them too. So do humans.

  22. Hi, My pom was in oxygen all weekend (he’s in heart failure) at the hospital and I’m now trying to create an in-home situation for the next time he can’t breathe. Talking to medical supply companies and trying to figure out if its better to buy one of the $600 concentrators. I would really appreciate any emails about your experiences on how best to do this…[email protected] Thank you so much!!!!!

  23. Sorry to be so late in sharing this wonderful DIY solution.
    My 8 year old Chihuahua was just diagnosed with heart disease which will progress to congestive heart failure — it’s not a matter of if but when. I would like to be able to care for her myself to the extent I can and make her shortened life more comfortable. With some luck she will die at home in relative comfort, but if need be, I will euthanize her when the time comes.

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