Can Pets Get Altitude Sickness?

At our altitude of 5,280 feet above sea level, most Denver residents and visitors don’t experience the debilitating effects of altitude sickness – that is, until they head to the mountains. The nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath that accompany altitude sickness affect approximately 20% of individuals above 8,000 feet, and can really put a damper on a day of skiing, hiking, or sightseeing.

Pets are also susceptible to an increase in altitude, which can include many of the same symptoms experienced by humans. If allowed to advance, altitude sickness in pets can lead to a potentially deadly buildup of fluid in the lungs and brain, especially, if the pet is engaging in any physical activity. 

Enjoying the wonderful outdoor opportunities that our Colorado mountains have to offer with your pets is one of the beauties of living in this area, but safety must be the first priority. For low altitude pet owners, knowing the signs of altitude sickness in pets, and when to seek help, is an important part of keeping them safe while in the mountains.

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