Dogs at home manage to steal toxic food or come in contact with harmful chemicals, injure themselves on something sharp, choke on something or in every dog owners worst nightmare run across a road to be hit by a car. It is vital that they receive prompt and appropriate first aid in any of those eventualities. Surprisingly few owners and pet carers are up to speed with pet first aid.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the vet is available to help quickly enough in these urgent situations. Therefore, it is vital to have the proper knowledge and skills to react in these situations. Prompt and appropriate first aid can prevent a minor injury becoming a major one. It can reduce pain, improve outcomes and give you peace of mind that you can do the best for your four legged friend. Should your canine companion need medical help, having the security of having completed a dog first aid course can prove to be invaluable and life saving.
While these scenarios can happen at home, they can also occur while in the care of pet professionals such as dog walkers, daycares and homeboarders. It's vital that any business you use has upto date and proper canine first aid training.
The team at Good Dogs have just undertaken a 6 hour work shop to refresh their skills with top Canine First Aid Instructor Rachel Bean RVA MCFBA. The workshop covers a range of incidents such as:
How to stem bleeding by applying a pressure bandage
Practical bandaging on real dogs - paws, head and ears
Identify the signs of poisoning
To understand the emergency of a gastric torsion (twisted gut)
How to deal with choking
What to do if your dog is having a seizure
It's important when choosing a Canine First Aid course to ensure that the instructor has a veterinary background. I highly recommened Rachel Bean, find out more information on her Canine First Aid Courses here.
There are many online courses you can take, but I strongly recommend workshops so you can ask questions and get lots of advice!
It's always a good idea to carry a pet first aid kit in your car and to take with you on long hikes or walks. Ideally this should include:
Self-adhesive tape (vet wrap)
A blanket to use as a stretcher
A spare lead
During the workshop not only does Rachel share her experiences she has witnessed as a vet nurse but also encourages practical teaching, such as CPR and bandaging to stem bleeding.
You can bring your dog along to the workshop to practice pandage techniques, which is great practice! Ila loved being the model for other class members!
Steps To Take In An Emergency
First ensure the safety of yourself and others. Keep calm and assess the situation before acting. Injured animals are frightened and in pain and may try to bite anyone who touches them.
Contact the vet. Keep your vet's phone number to hand and know the name of the practice.
Always phone first, whatever the situation, as there may not always be a vet available but staff may be able to suggest immediate action you can take
Have a pen handy in case another number is given. Treatment can usually be provided more quickly if the dog is taken to the surgery, rather than if the vet is called out.
If there is a risk of biting, put a muzzle on the dog, or wrap tape around the nose and tie behind the ears, unless the dog has difficulty breathing. Small dogs may be restrained by putting a thick towel over their heads.
Never give human medicines to a dog – many will do more harm than good. Do not offer food or drink in case anaesthetic is needed.
Drive carefully when taking the patient to the surgery
If you do get bitten, see your doctor