EVER wondered what you would do if your dog collapsed, was involved in an accident or swallowed something they shouldn’t?
The first thing most pet owners say they would do is panic, and that’s certainly the case with me!
So I jumped the chance to take part in First Aid training with Rachel Bean a Veterinary Nurse for 20 years and Canine Behaviourist who runs courses across the country.
Along with 16 other owners, I went along to Pets Animal Hotel in Lymm, Cheshire where my terrier Daisy goes to day care and for boarding, to learn how to cope in a crisis.
Rachel’s first tip is not to panic. “We have an emotional attachment to our pets,” she explains. “So if something is wrong we go into fight or flight mode.
“But the key is to try to keep calm, and my courses leave people equipped with enough knowledge to cope with a lot of potentially fatal situations that may arise as a dog owner.
“These are what to do if your pet is poisoned, how to know if it has a twisted gut (bloat), how to give CPR, how to deal with choking and ways to stem bleeding and bandage injured pets.
“First aid is exactly that though and it’s vital that after administering it, the dog is taken to a vet for professional help.”
The four hour long course costs £45 and as well as learning the First Aid techniques, Rachel made us aware of the many hazards we encounter in everyday life that can harm our pets.
Dogs can be poisoned by all kinds of things like paracetamol or even eCigs in our handbags, not to mention the things we know we shouldn’t feed our pets like chocolate, onions and raisons.
Rachel explained that if a dog had ingested something harmful it’s best to call the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (vpisglobal.com) for advice and go straight to a vet.
We also learned how to bandage injuries and CPR or mouth to nose as it is for dogs which could save the life of a dog that has collapsed.
Rachel showed us how to check for pulse points at two spots around the dog’s front and back legs, how to seal the dog’s mouth so air could pass through the nostrils, and how to compress the chest with the heel of the hand over the heart.
She says CPR can work in up to 15% of emergency cases. Rachel said: “I’ve had people who have come on courses and learned this vital procedure then had to carry it out in real life.
“One recent case was a lady who found a dog who had been hit by a car and another had to use it on her own dog.
“Sadly, in both cases they weren’t able to save them, but they said knowing they were able to try, and had done the best they could to help the animal was a huge comfort.
“That is the case with all the elements of the course. As a dog owner, you want to treat your pet as best you can, and just having the extra knowledge gives you the confidence to do that.”
To find our more about Rachel’s courses, visit www.rachelbean.co.uk