First aid for pets

by Ines de Pablo, guest blogger for FIDO Friendly Magazine

It is easy to recognize that humans need first aid when an emergency happens. Unfortunately in the minds of many, pets fall under a different category. Pets are physiologically very much like us. They have hearts, lungs, blood, soft tissue, brain function, organs, nerves and muscles that function much like ours and are susceptible to injury and malfunction.

When humans encounter a life-threatening emergency we get to call 9-1-1 and can expect fire, EMS and police to arrive if so summoned. When animals find themselves in a medical emergency, calling 9-1-1 is not an option. As pet parents, we are our pets’ 9-1-1. Their safety depends on us.

Once you acquire those skills you will be able to respond appropriately, prevent further harm, take control over the situation and sustain life until you can reach a veterinarian . Much like a paramedic can provide emergency help in an ambulance until the patient arrives at the emergency room.

Pets differ from us in many ways. They communicate differently (mainly our fault for not understanding that foreign language), they also have a tendency to hide pain (survival instinct), have ‘different’ taste than we do and are very curious, which can get them in trouble. They are also lower to the ground and are therefore more prone to toxic fumes, snake and insect bites, paw pad burns, choking on whatever they can vacuum from the street, abdominal lacerations as well as facial cuts and tears.

Ever tried reasoning with your pet? Unlike human children you can’t use reason and lectures to keep them from chasing the wasp, not following the tennis ball out of the second story window, flying after a squirrel across a major intersection or convincing them that brushing their teeth on daily basis is good for their health .

We have over the past century introduced such a variety of new hazards in our daily lives, it’s hard for pets to keep track of all the labels, mathematical, chemical and physics dilemmas and equations…that’s our job as pet parents.

So how to take a pet first aid class and what info is shared?

How to approach an injured pet; muzzle, restraint and carry techniques; how to administer medication; recognizing an emergency; what is normal for your pet; how to detect dehydration; how to treat shock, choking, bleeding, allergic reaction , electrocution, poisoning emergencies, broken backs, and bones, bloat & torsion, blood sugar emergencies, breathing emergencies, burns, cuts & tears, eye emergencies, fish hook, frostbite, gunshot wounds, hypothermia, heat stroke, puncture & bite wound, seizures, smoke inhalation, ticks , vomiting and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

A comprehensive pet first aid class helps you uncover ways to prevent, prepare and respond to emergencies that impact pet health & safety.

There are two main venues to acquire the skills of Pet First Aid:

– Classes are provided by the American Red Cross. Contact your local Chapter to find a course in your area. A 4 hour course will certify you for the basics.

– Pet Tech Inc is the first and only international training center dedicated to First Aid, CPR & Care for dogs and cats. Instructors are available all across the country and abroad. Visit PETTECH to find an instructor in your area. Both 4 hour and 8 hour courses are available for certification.

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