Canine First Aid & My 5 Top Tips

Yes you read it right – first aid for dogs!!

This is me on Sunday 3rdMarch 2019 standing at the back on the right – holding my certificate (I’m next to the lady holding the puppy!) – after successfully completing my ‘Dog First Aid Emergency Canine Care’ Course.

Canine First Aid

This is the second year in a row that I’ve attended this training course run by Gill Hayman of Dog First Aid South Midlands (Lady – bottom row- second from left). Even though the certificates are valid for 3 years – I felt that as a professional dog walker, groomer, clinical massage therapist and a guardian of 2 mad Springer Spaniels  – yearly would be more suitable. 

The course covered how to react in emergency situations involving dogs, including seizures, burns & scalds, bleeding & imbedded foreign bodies, canine shock (including anaphylactic shock), poisoning, eye injuries, heat stroke, choking, drowning, road traffic collision and fractures. 

We also looked at how to take vital information like pulse and heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate, what was normal and how to carry out a full body exam. 

We practiced how to apply a pressure bandage, how to deal with dogs that are fighting, what to do with different types of burns – i.e. chemical, electrical, heat;  We discussed what to do if we come across a dog trapped in a hot car and different methods of removing an object from a dogs mouth if its choking. 

Most importantly we learned and practised how and when to carry out CPR on a dog.

CPR for dogs involves a routine of compressions, breathes through their nose and checking the pulse for up to a maximum of 15 minutes. Believe me when I say that just a couple of rounds was incredibly tiring!!

Therefore – the aim of this short course, is to bridge the gap between a potentially life threatening situation for a dog – to them receiving Veterinary treatment and DEFINITELY NOT in replacement to a dog receiving veterinary care.

In the meantime here’s my 5 top (most useful) tips I’d like to share from my course:

So – to all you Canine professionals and dog owners like me – I highly recommend attending an approved Dog First Aid course near you. There are loads about, they are not overly expensive and well worth the time (mine lasted 3 ½ hours and also gave me 3 hours CPD towards the 25 hours I need to maintain my annual membership with the Canine Massage Guild).

1.Get to know your dogs’ normal values.

Make a note of your dogs’ weight, resting heart rate, resting respiratory rate, rectal temperature, normal gum colour, normal skin colour and normal coat condition / direction of growth. This may be useful when determining if something is wrong.

2.Plan – be aware of where you are and your surroundings and the potential risks. 

For example, if your dog rummages about in a hedge in the middle of a town / city they are likely to come across old mouldy food, empty packaging, broken glass etc.

3.Prepare – carry a first aid kit. 

The course I attended had these on sale and I have 2! 1 large kit in my car and a smaller basic one clipped to my lead – I’ve added a tick remover and foil blanket to mine. 

My course provider also suggested to carry a spare lead with you, which can be used for numerous things, e.g. – to secure a loose dog & help pull fighting dogs apart.

Also use what you have on you – a coat can be used as a stretcher, a belt as a lead?

4.If an emergency arises – keep calm.

Assess any humans first (sorry but yes this is correct!) and then assess the dogs situation.

Approach an injured dog with caution and secure them (with lead etc) if possible.

5.Call for help – Vet contact numbers. 

Always call a Vet to warn them you are on your way – they may be able to advise you what to do over the phone, as well as giving them time to prepare for your arrival based on your info.  However, bear in mind, that on occasion you may get directed to a different Vet in your area – depending on what’s happening their end. 

If you are on holiday – check out the Vets in the area where you are going and keep their contact details in your mobile too – just in case.

I hope my top tips help but please – please – please – remember – always seek Veterinary advice if you are in any way concerned about your dogs health.

Author: Louise James. 6thMarch 2019.

Share this blog: