Some of us revel in the ability to teach our dog or our cat a cool new trick. Or, we may research intensely to find the right food full of nutritional goodness or plot a road trip that can be shared with our four-legged travel buddy.
But one of the best ways to show your pet how much you really love them is to take on the role of being his best pet health ally. And key to that role is enrolling in a pet first aid/CPR class.
By definition, pet first aid is simply the immediate care given to a cat or a dog who has become ill or injured. In this first step of care, your role is extremely important. Knowing what to do — and what NOT to do — in a pet emergency could mean the difference between your pet surviving or dying. Yes, every minute counts! Let me share some real-life examples of why you should learn pet first aid:
PREVENT MORE DAMAGE
When Chipper, my husky-retriever mix, attempted to use her mouth to undo the bottom of the chain link fence, the metal end suddenly twisted forward and stabbed into her muzzle. My pet first aid training kicked in. I knew if I tried to pull out the metal, it would trigger major blood loss. So, I quickly snapped off the end about two inches from her muzzle, wrapped her in a towel and used my cell phone to alert my veterinarian that we were about 10 minutes away. She received stitches, pain medications, and antibiotics.
ASSISTANCE WHILE FAR AWAY
During a day-long hike with a pack of friends and their canine pals, a sweet medium-sized dog named Katie stepped on a sharp rock and yelped in pain. The paw pad started to bleed. We were about two miles from the parking lot. But I knew to apply pressure to the paw pad and elevate it above the heart to slow down the bleeding. Then I squirted water from my water bottle to rinse the wound, wrapped the paw in my sock and tied this sock wrap using a spare doggy poop bag. We took turns carrying Katie until we got to the parking lot and were able to drive to the veterinary clinic where she received stitches, pain medications, and antibiotics.
KNOW THE SIGNS
On a Sunday night, my orange Tabby named Casey walked into his litter box. He seemed to be taking a long time and then I heard a painful yowl as he exited. I looked inside the litter box and discovered bloody urine. From my pet first aid training, I knew this was a medical emergency, so I wrapped Casey in a towel, carefully dropped him inside the pet carrier from the top opening and alerted the emergency veterinary hospital. Casey needed to be hospitalized overnight. The veterinarian on call said if I had waited until Monday morning, Casey could have died from a blockage in his urethra. I remember her words: “You made the right call to come here right away. You saved Casey’s life.”
There are five critical reasons why you need to learn pet first aid:
- You can replace panic in a pet emergency with knowledge and a can-do attitude.
- You can enhance your pet training and handling skills.
- You can save money on veterinary bills by catching injuries or illnesses in the early stages.
- If you are a pet professional, you can provide peace of mind to your clients that their pets will be protected under your care.
- You can give your pet a greater chance at a longer, happier, and healthier life spent with you.
When it comes to our pets, we cannot keep them in a protective bubble and fear from harm. The unexpected does happen. That’s what has motivated me to become a master certified pet first aid/CPR instructor and found Pet First Aid 4U that features a real dog and cat in our classes. Since 2011, I have traveled the country to conduct hands-on, veterinarian-approved pet first aid classes to pet parents, professional pet sitters, K9 police officers, veterinarians and vet technicians, dog walkers, cat behaviorists, boarding kennel staffs, professional pet groomers, humane shelter staffs and rescue group volunteers.
And now, I am in charge of an instructor training program in partnership with Pro Pet Hero. The good news is that you have options on how to learn pet first aid these days: in-person, self-paced online courses, or to step it up and complete an instructor program.
Our pets are our most priceless asset. And the best way to invest in their safety and good health is to take a pet first aid class.
Have you ever taken a pet first aid/CPR class? Tell us your experience in the comments!
Arden Moore is known as The Pet Health and Safety Coach. She has authored more than two dozen dog and cat books plus travels the country with Pet Safety Dog Kona and Pet Safety Cat Casey to conduct veterinarian-approved, hands-on pet first aid/CPR classes and pet behavior talks. She also hosts the award-winning pet podcast, Oh Behave on Pet Life Radio.