Firefighters Gifted Life-Saving Oxygen Masks For Dogs

Emergencies happen no matter how hard we try to prevent them. The world of emergency response is adapting to meet the needs of all patients – even four-legged! Recently, emergency services in Richmond, Virginia outfitted their rigs to include oxygen masks for dogs and cats. The new addition brings a sigh of relief to pet owners!

Hotter, Faster Fires Mean More Risks For Dogs

The house fires of today burn exponentially faster and hotter than fires of generations past. Lightweight construction along with plastics, acrylics and pressed woods commonly found in modern decor create the perfect storm for a fire of epic proportions. Because fires spread much faster than ever before, it affords victims less time to react. This lessened reaction time holds true for pets also. As a result, more and more dogs are becoming victims of smoke inhalation.

Photo: Kishar Kumor via Unsplash

“People do love their pets, they consider them family,” Assistant Operations Supervisor Peter Meckerlich told “We have in the past used those oxygen masks that we carry for our adult and pediatric populations and actually used that to deliver oxygen to the pet.”

Specially Designed With Dogs In Mind

As you can imagine, oxygen masks for humans are not very effective on dogs. Pups with long, pointy snouts are particularly difficult to care for using a human oxygen mask. The unique design of pet oxygen masks allows for a good seal to be made which ensures a healthy supply of oxygen is introduced back into the lungs. The masks come in two sizes which provide a great fit for dogs (and cats) of all shapes and sizes!


“We can use this to help deliver the pet oxygen, which in many cases can then help to revive the pet such that they return to normal or they can at least be brought to the veterinary office where they can seek further treatment and hopefully have a positive outcome,” said Meckerlich.

The introduction of pet oxygen masks on ambulances and fire trucks is not new but it is quickly becoming more mainstream. After all, they’re our family too and we all want them to be given the same fighting chance!

You Can Help Save Dogs In Your Community

The oxygen masks in Richmond were donated by the local SPCA. According to, there are 40,000-150,000 pets who lose their lives in fire each year. If you’re interested in helping dogs in your community, you too can donate an oxygen mask to your local fire department!


While we’re on the topic of dogs and fire safety, you can also purchase window decals that will alert first responders to your furbabies inside.

Let’s give a round of applause for our hometown heroes who sacrifice it all for even the smallest of patients!

Featured Photo: @DogsAreFamily/Facebook

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