Many of us have taken basic first aid courses for people, but what about for pets? I never thought about this until I heard about a friend giving life-saving CPR to a dog that had been in a car accident. Turns out some pet hospitals, the Red Cross and a number of other groups offer pet first aid courses. The courses are affordable and usually only a few hours to a day long – and could save the life of a pet you adore.
Pets America, for example, has partnered with the Emergency Care and Safety Institute to deliver workshops nationwide, not only on pet first aid, but also on how to be a certified instructor of such classes (what a great way to earn a little extra money and do good for your pet-human community!).
The Red Cross emphasizes that practice and preparation are key to survival in an emergency and accordingly they offer three great classes to do just that for our four-legged friends: Dog First Aid, Cat First Aid, and Cat and Dog First Aid.
Pet Tech is the first international training center dedicated to CPR and first aid for cats and dogs. In addition to offering great courses worldwide, they created a PetSaver app for iphone and Android. Pet Tech also offers a three-day instructor training for people who want to teach pet first aid courses.
Pet First Aid offers extremely affordable training online. You will miss the camaraderie of taking the class with other pet-lovers and having the instructor immediately on hand, but online courses are less expensive and can be taken anytime, anywhere.
Interestingly, but not surprisingly, many of the topics covered what is taught in human first aid classes such as recognizing and responding to shock, wound care, assessing vital signs, heat stroke, treating electrical shock, CPR, choking, snake bites and creating a disaster plan.
While the above classes are dog- and cat-centric, some of the same principles would apply to other mammalian pets such as rabbits, ferrets and potbelly pigs. For more specific species first aid/emergency information, do an internet search. Many species-specific rescue and interest groups have first aid information specific to that species. For example, I found a group called FIRST (Ferret Information Rescue Shelter and Trust Society) that offers first aid information that is appropriate for ferrets.
Have you taken a pet first aid class? Have you ever administered emergency care to a pet before it could get to a professional? Please share your stories in the comment section below.