Get Trained in Pet First Aid and CPR

Nicole Cormier
June 16, 2017

Know what to do in a case of a pet emergency

Whether you own a pet or care for other people's animals, it's important to know what to do if an emergency arises.

Plus, if you're a groomer, pet sitter, kennel owner or dog walker, investing in the proper training will make you better at your job, look good on your resume and help you get new clients.

Learn the Benefits of Pet CPR and First Aid Training
Arden Moore, master certified pet first aid/CPR instructor with Pet Tech and owner of Pet First Aid For You says, "Accidents and injuries happen. It's part of life. But by knowing what to do (and what NOT to do) in a pet emergency when minutes count, pet professionals can offer a greater peace of mind to pet parents."

There are a wide variety of classes offered for both pet care professionals and owners. Most classes provide a wealth of knowledge, but the main items usually covered include:

  • Understanding basic pet owner responsibilities
  • Administering medicine
  • Managing breathing and cardiac emergencies
  • Assessing vitals
  • Managing urgent care situation
  • Treating wounds
  • Treating electrical shock
  • Preparing for disasters

Decide What Type of Training Is Right for You
How detailed and informed you wish to get depends on you and the class you choose, but make sure you select a class that offers certification, so you can add it to your professional repertoire.

But a basic class may not be all you need. Melanie Monteiro, dog safety expert, pet first aid instructor, and author of "The Safe Dog Handbook" says, "A basic pet first aid/CPR class is good, but professionals should also take extra time considering what types of mishaps are most likely in their field, so they can prevent them.

For example, a dog walker is more likely to deal with an overheated dog, a cage-free boarding place must have a plan to prevent collar accidents, a groomer should have deep knowledge of proper restraint techniques and wound care, etc.

"Owners should consider their pet's age/personality and study up on what they need to address these safety concerns," she adds.

Pets, not unlike children, can get themselves into dangerous situations. You should be prepared so you can tackle an issue should it arise, or even learn how to avoid it in the first place.

Find a Pet CPR and First Aid Course Near You
There are several ways to earn your pet first aid and CPR certification. This can be done online or in a one-on-one personal training session or group class. Many organizations offer these options nationwide.

Your local veterinarian, animal hospital or shelter may either offer classes or will point you in the right direction to find one that will fit your needs. Also, the American Red Cross and Pet Tech can help you locate training classes in any area.

Though most of these classes focus on dogs and cats, some will teach CPR or first aid for more exotic animals, like birds and lizards. Prepare to spend anywhere from two to eight hours to learn the necessary techniques and to receive certification. Some classes will even go as far to help learn "puppy-proofing" basics, proper restraint methods and herbal remedies or alternatives.

Remember a Pet First Aid Kit
Any pet caregiver, even if you haven't been certified in first aid yet, should have a well-stocked first aid kit. This kit will look a little different than the typical human kit, but will prove essential for even minor injuries. The Human Society of America suggests that your kit include:

  • Nylon leash
  • Self-cling bandage (stretches and sticks to itself but not to fur -- available at pet stores and through pet supply catalogs)
  • Muzzle or strips of cloth to prevent biting
  • A pillowcase to confine your cat for treatment and a pet carrier
  • Absorbent gauze pads, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes
  • Blanket (foil emergency blanket)
  • Cotton balls, swabs and gauze rolls
  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting)
  • Ice pack
  • Non-latex disposable gloves
  • Rectal thermometer and petroleum jelly (to lubricate thermometer)
  • Scissors (with blunt ends)
  • Tweezers
  • Towels
  • Phone numbers of local emergency vets and clinics

Of course, this list can be modified based on your individual clients or pets, but these are good things to have on hand, and know how to use.

You should also be familiar with common poisons -- the ASPCA Poison Control Center is a great resource.

Moore also encourages people to learn disaster preparedness in addition to first aid, "Mother Nature can become quite nasty quickly and we need to prepared for caring for our pets should a hurricane, tornado, wildfire, flood or other natural disaster occur."

Learning the necessary skills to diagnose or treat injuries will not only put your clients at ease, but also will help you tackle any potential emergency with a level head and steady hand.

Nicole Cormier is a freelance writer based in Colorado. Her work can be found here

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

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