Using Smokey Paws Oxygen Therapy Kits

© BARTA 2023

Initial Level

Oxygen Therapy for Companion Animals

Similar to human Immediate Emergency Care (IEC), BARTA critical care experts provide structure and training to ensure a standardised approach to the needs of animals in emergencies and disasters.

This guidance is supported by the British Association of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (BAVECC).

“First aid is delivered to pets routinely by emergency responders at the point of need. Guidelines have been created for first responders to equip them with specific skills for the situations they will encounter prior to definitive veterinary care. These have been overseen by veterinary critical care expertise in order to review evidence based best practice. The term we use for this is Pre-veterinary Immediate Emergency Care.

The guidance given is based on a pragmatic approach to the challenges and limitations of providing care during dynamic circumstances. The guidance is aimed at delivering simple key actions to save and support animal lives based on the science and knowledge available and in line with professional regulation.

Dr Adam Mugford BVetMed MVetMed DACVECC MRCVS (BARTA Clinical Governance Advisory Team)

An important first step is to give training and guidance to support the provision of pet oxygen therapy masks, given to fire services through the charitable work of Smokey Paws, a not for profit company whose aim is to ensure pets have the best chance of survival following fire or trauma.

What is the Smokey Paws kit?
Smokey Paws is a set of animal oxygen (O²) therapy masks for use on companion animals (for example, cats, dogs and small pets such as rabbits, gerbils and guinea pigs).

When should the equipment be used?
Clinically, oxygen therapy is recommended for all unconscious animals, those having suffered smoke inhalation, other respiratory distress or trauma.

Operationally, oxygen therapy should only be administered following an assessment of animal, environmental and situational risks, with the appropriate control measures applied.

Who can utilise this equipment?
Emergency responders, trained in the use of oxygen therapy with associated clinical governance and who have access to medical oxygen cylinders as part of their role.

Key considerations
1. Remove the potential for injury to personnel through biting or scratching
2. Remove the risk of injury to other responders or the public through control of the animal
3. Understand organisational implications under the Animal Welfare Act 2006

BARTA recommends that all animals receive definitive veterinary care as soon as practicable following unconsciousness, smoke inhalation, respiratory distress and trauma.

This short film is aimed at managers introducing pet oxygen therapy within their service. It highlights the factors to consider when developing policy for the introduction of the Smokey Paws kit.

Here we look at assessing animal risks and things you should consider, prior to giving oxygen therapy.

This film looks at the advice from the veterinary associations on pre-veterinary immediate emergency care. Defining the protocols for use and application of oxygen therapy for companion animals.

Here we explore how we apply the veterinary advice on the use of the Smokey Paws oxygen therapy kit to operational incidents we attend involving companion animals.

Finally we look at the application of muzzles and slip leads when dealing with companion animals. 

These documents have been created by BARTA small animal critical care experts, in collaboration with the National Fire Chiefs Council Animal Rescue Practitioners Forum and the RSPCA. 

For further information on animal response and pre-veterinary Immediate Emergency Care please email: [email protected]

For further information on the Smokey Paws kit please contact the Smokey Paws team via their website: