I took my first pet first aid course when I was doing search and rescue work with my dogs.I wanted to make sure that if we were on a search, I could handle all the needed basic first aid should one of my dogs be hurt. Since then, I've retaken the classes several times just to keep my skills sharp. Since I share my home with dogs and cats, my dogs are active and busy, and we go camping often; I figure the more I know the better. Although I haven't had to use those skills on my own pets often, when I've needed them I've been thankful I took the classes.
What Are Pet First Aid Courses?These courses are not designed to take the place of veterinary care. Instead, they teach you how to assess your pet's illness or injury so you can decide whether the problem is one you can handle at home with first aid or whether it's something the veterinarian should take care of. Being able to assess the situation relatively quickly and with confidence is important. Plus, even if your pet needs veterinary care, having first aid knowledge will help you give your pet any immediate care prior to taking him to the veterinary clinic. If your pet is bleeding, for example, knowing how to bandage the wound to slow or stop the bleeding is vital.
Subjects Taught in ClassMost pet first aid courses start by teaching you how to recognize life-threatening symptoms. What does shock look like? What does a choking dog or cat do? What does too much bleeding look like? How should you respond in these situations? What can you do to save your pet's life until you can get to a veterinarian? Assessing your pet's basic well being is also important. Counting his breaths, taking his pulse, and evaluating his eyes (and pupil response) is all important. Should you need to call your veterinarian, being able to give your vet this information will help him tremendously. A subject list may include allergic reactions, bee stings, bloat, choking, collapse, diarrhea, fever, fractures, frostbite, heat exhaustion and stroke, lethargy, seizures, snake bite, vomiting, and wound care. Not only will you be taught how to recognize those problems you don't know, but also what to do about them.