You never know when or where your dog might fall ill or suffer an injury so it’s best to be prepared; a pet first aid course is a great way to ensure that you have the skills and knowledge to deal with an emergency.
Elsa is forever hurting her paws: she’s stood on nettles, ripped her dewclaw off and even been stung by a wasp while out on a walk! We’ve always managed to deal with minor incidents like these relatively easily but I started wondering if attending a pet first aid course would be a good idea… then Elsa started choking one day and I was very worried that I’d left it too late. We did everything that we could think of in the moment and fortunately Elsa managed to clear the blockage herself, but not before we had grabbed the car keys and were pulling our shoes on ready to get her to the emergency vet! We were lucky that time, but the experience was very frightening so I wasted no more time and booked myself onto a pet first aid course.
I was quite surprised and a little embarrassed that there were so many things that I just didn’t know and I had a lot of false ideas about certain actions to take in various situations (I blame watching too many movies!) so I really felt like I had learned a lot by the end of the day.
Along with general health and wellbeing, the course teaches you how to approach emergency situations including car accidents, drowning, shock, broken bones, hypothermia, hyperthermia, choking, bleeding, poisoning, bites, stings, burns, CPR and lots more!
First Aid Kit Essentials
The course also taught me that a first aid kit is very valuable in an emergency and I received a guideline for which items should be included in the kit. We always take fresh water everywhere, so I have put together the things that we might find most useful (although this isn’t a comprehensive guide to what should be included):
- A first aid booklet
- Soluble hemostatic gauze
- Alcohol free wipes
- Tick removal tools
- Microporous tape
- Waste bags
- Foil blanket
- Cooling towel
- Animal poison line number
I also have the details of our vet stored in my phone and if we are staying away from home I will look up the details of the closest local vet, just in case!
A pet first aid course won’t teach you how to give veterinary level care, but it will help you to think ‘outside of the box’, understand what actions to take and give you the confidence that you will need to stay calm and stabilise an emergency situation until you can get to a vet.
After experiencing the overwhelming sense of helplessness that I had when Elsa was in need of first aid, I would highly recommend that everyone who has a furry family member attends a pet first aid course!
Pet first aid courses are easy to find online or via recommendations from local dog professionals including trainers/ groomers/ walkers/ pet shop owners.
Prices vary depending on which one you book, the cost averages at about £35 for the one day course and you’ll receive a certificate that is valid for three years.
Len delivered the ProTrainings Pet First Aid Level 2 (VTQ) course in an engaging, anecdotal manner with the help of his partner Anne and their adorable ‘fur-st aid’ assistant called Dusty.
TIP: The PDSA run first aid courses for as little as £5, but spaces are very limited, click here for more information.