First Aid is an important tool for taking care of the ones you love. Many of us have taken a first aid course at some point in our lives for family, school or work related reasons and we have learned some important skills. Your animal companion is more to you than just a pet; they are a member of your family.
Good first aid knowledge can help to save your pet’s life, reduce the potential for increased injury and promote fast recovery. First aid is not a replacement for going to your vet, but handling emergency situations properly right at the beginning can save you money by recognizing problems early and acting on them quickly.
Pet first aid courses are designed to build an owner’s confidence to respond to an illness or injury situation, administer the appropriate care, or stabilize and transport a pet to the veterinarian. A good course will include preventive care to avoid illness and injury, how to use common household items to restrain and transport an injured animal, and some or all of the following:
- Pet proofing your home
- Shock, unconsciousness, vomiting, dehydration and diarrhea
- Animal fights and bites
- Internal and external bleeding
- Wounds and infections
- Artificial respiration and airway obstruction
- Abdominal thrusts for choking
- Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
- Administering medications
- Parasites, insect bites and stings
- Eye, ear and nose injuries
- Injuries from heat and cold
- Spinal, bone and joint injuries
- Porcupine quills
- Skunk sprays
- Delivering puppies or kittens
Attending a course in person allows for hands-on learning with life-sized specialty animal mannequins. Along with practicing CPR and choking and bandaging, animal mannequins can be used to demonstrate how to adapt common household items such as jackets, sticks, newspaper, saran wrap, duct tape, over-the-counter drugs, old cell phones, ties, belts, rope, scarfs, etc. into first aid tools.
Finally, a good first aid course will provide you with a resource manual for handy reference and a specially designed pet first aid kit.
Dianne Rende is the Executive Director of St. John Ambulance, Peel Dufferin Branch. As Canada’s leading authority in first aid, St. John Ambulance is dedicated to improving health and safety at work, at home and at play. Dianne can be reached by email at [email protected] or for more information visit www.sja.ca.