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April is National Pet First Aid Month

by Therese on April 3, 2008

in Cats, Dogs, Pet First Aid, Pet Health, Pets

A few years ago I was driving down my street when I saw an older couple standing by the side of the road looking at a cat that had been hit. I stopped to see if I could help, and they told me someone had hit the cat and kept going. Even though they wanted to help though, they clearly had no idea what to do and asked me if they should call 911. Since the cat was in pretty bad shape, I scooped him up, explaning that 911 wouldn’t come for him, and took him to the shelter.

The thing is, there is no 911 for pets, so we, as pet owners, have the responsibility to do what we can to make sure we’re equipped to handle emergencies. So, this month, Pet First Aid Month, is intended to encouraged pet owners to learn pet first aid so they can be better prepared to take care of their pets during emergencies.

Whatever the emergency – a small cut on a dog’s paw or a full-blown life threatening situation such as a pet needing rescue breathing or CPR – being prepared can increase your pet’s chances of survival. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, one in four more pets would survive an emergency if a first aid technique was applied. That’s twenty-five percent! Those are good enough odds for me to make learning pet first aid well worth my time.

When I was a kid I learned pet first aid…and had to use it to save my dog’s life. These days I teach Pet Tech pet first aid classes to pet owners and pet professionals here in the Austin area. Pet owners tell me repeatedly how much they learn in the class, and once in a while I hear from someone who had to use what they learned.

Just a few days after my last class, one of the pet sitters who attended had to use one of the skills she learned. She went on a pet sitting visit to care for a dog and when she got there, he had a broken leg…she thinks he broke it trying to get out of his kennel. Since we covered bone fractures in class, the pet sitter remembered what we covered, splinted the leg, and got the dog to the vet. The dog’s going to be fine, but the fact that she went through the first aid class helped her get the dog to the vet without causing additional damage to the his broken bone.

If you’ve never taken a pet first aid class, there’s no better time to take one. With the summer coming up, many of us spend more time outside with our dogs and cats, which means a potential for broken bones, insect stings, snakebites, and more. Being prepared to handle unexpected emergencies can be a huge gift for you and your pet.

Pet first aid is one of those things that may not show it’s value until you use it, and then it can literally save a life. One emergency is all it takes!

If you’re in Austin and would like to take a pet first aid class see Austin Pet First Aid. If you’re not in Austin visit the Pet Tech website to find an instructor in your area, or to become an instructor yourself.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

lisa April 5, 2008 at 10:51 am

This is a great reminder for folks to take a basic first aid class and have a manual for referral at home! I know I’ve used mine MANY, MANY times over the years- especially when traveling. Just like kids, my dogs seem to have accidents at the most inopportune times!


UrbanCritter April 9, 2008 at 10:18 pm

I had a similar experience, recently coming across a dog who’d been run over and people were just standing around – not even the fire fighters across the road knew what to do and he’d been lying in the street for over an hour! I dialled 411 for the nearest emergency animal clinic but unfortunately the poor animal was too badly injured and had to be euthanized. I will always wonder if he would have had a better chance of survival if someone had known basic first aid…


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