CPR and first aid for animals

0
56
CPR and first aid for animals

Do you know what to do if your companion is injured? With pet first aid and CPR you can be ready in case of an emergency.

Emergencies can occur suddenly and without warning. Has an outdoor cookout ever been so inviting that your pooch couldn’t resist reaching up for a sizzling treat? Has your cat’s tail ever been accidentally closed in a door? Have you found a dog left in a car and suffering from heat stroke? Have you ever feared your cat would get bitten by a bee and suffer an allergic reaction? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’ll realize that being prepared applies not just to the Boy Scouts, but to you as well.

Statistics show that preventable accidents are the leading cause of death among companion animals. According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), one out of four additional animals could be saved if just one pet first aid technique was applied.

In an emergency, First aid is the initial and often most critical step. Knowing what to do in those first few moments can save your animal’s life. The most accomplished veterinary surgeon will not be able to bring your dog or cat back once his heart and lungs have stopped, but by knowing the life-saving skills of first aid and CPR, you can keep your animal’s organs working until professional medical help is available.

Many of us have taken human first aid or CPR courses. However, dogs and cats don’t share the same anatomy as us. Although the concept is the same, the techniques differ. In addition, we can’t ask our dog or cat, “Where does it hurt?” or “Did you just eat something out of the trash?” Pet-specific training is therefore essential.

Anyone you entrust the care of your dog or cat to should also know these important life-saving skills. It’s a great responsibility to look after someone’s four-legged friend, and a good pet sitter, groomer or caregiver should be ready for the unexpected.

“I was caring for two precious Cairn terriers and had just given them a doggie treat when one of them suddenly started choking,” said Tina Kenny of TLC Pet Sitting. “As I watched her desperately trying to cough up the biscuit lodged in her throat, I realized she needed my help. I am so grateful I had taken a pet first aid class just the day before. I quickly took the appropriate action (side chest thrusts) and the biscuit shot out of her mouth and across the kitchen floor. There was nothing quite as rewarding as knowing I had saved the day for this helpless little dog, and her wagging tail and thankful licks let me know she felt the same way.”

Cat mom Heidi Fielding adds that one of the biggest benefits of taking a pet first aid class is that it gave her “confidence in dealing with an emergency situation.” Knowing what to do is no good if you don’t have the confidence to react and use that knowledge.

CPR for animals

As in humans, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency technique used when an animal has stopped breathing or has no heartbeat. It involves learning how to do rescue breathing (mouth-to-snout resuscitation) and chest compressions, by following three basic principles or ABCs of CPR – Airway, Breathing and Circulation.

In addition to these techniques, a pet first aid class should include care for heat stroke, choking, poisoning, gastrointestinal upsets, burns, seizures and wounds as well as emergency prevention. To complete the training, you should purchase or put together your own pet first aid kit.

Helpful resources

Red Cross – www.redcross.org

American Veterinary Medical Association – www.avma.org

American Animal Hospital Associaltion – www.aaha.org