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Why Is Taking A Pet First Aid Class So Important?

By Denise Fleck, Sunny-Dog Ink and Vicki Rae Thorne, Earth Heart Inc.

Denise Fleck with her two dogs and a pet first aid kit in car trunk

What Is Pet First Aid?

Veterinarians are the experts, but most of us are not lucky enough to have a vet-in-residence 24/7. Even if you live in a house with other people, odds are that when the dog stops breathing or the kitty cuts a paw, you will be home alone and it will be after veterinary hours.  That’s why it’s so important that pet parents know how to jump to the task to rescue Rover or help Fluffy feel better before professional medical help is available!
 
While Pet First Aid is by no means a replacement for competent veterinary care, there are some things you can master to help care for your pet until they can get proper medical attention. If you know these things, you can help your vet better help your pet – you’ll be working as a team. 
 
At a pet first aid class, there are many things you can learn that will help prevent situations from getting worse. For example, at a pet first aid class from Sunny-Dog Ink, the instructor will teach you: 
 
How to lower your pet’s body temperature due to heat stroke so you can prevent brain swelling and gastrointestinal injury.
How to stop bleeding so you can prevent your precious pet from severe blood loss on the way to the vet.
How to properly bandage a wound so you can help prevent infection.
How to induce vomiting so your pet can expel poison from the body.
How to alleviate choking so you can prevent your pet from going unconscious.
How to perform Rescue Breathing and CPCR (a second “C” for cerebral means improved techniques for moving blood and oxygen to the brain) so you can keep that life-giving blood and oxygen circulating, keeping the animal alive until you get to medical help.
 

Why Attending a Class So Important

If you search online, you can find books or videos about pet first aid. Watching or reading about pet first aid is helpful, but it’s not a replacement for physically attending a class where you can view demonstrations and participate in hands-on skills practice. It’s the hands-on aspect that really solidifies the techniques in your mind and enables you to go on ‘auto-pilot’ when your pet needs you most.  
 
sick dog with ice pack
 
Denise Fleck, the creator of the program at Sunny-Dog Ink says, “I’ve found that practicing on animal mannequins allows students to make a hand-to-brain connection aiding them in working on the real thing.” 
 
When you feel comfortable and confident with performing pet first aid on your pet, the techniques become almost second nature and you can spring into action right away. 
 
Taking a pet first aid class can also help you relax in tense situations. Fleck says, “Since I don’t teach yoga or meditation, I don’t claim to get my students into a “zen zone,” but what I do to alleviate their stress – which is so important since our animals pick up on our energy and vibes – is to teach them techniques and run scenarios through their heads so that nothing is brand new, and they have a plan A as well as a plan B in place.  I teach my students to take a deep breath before running to the rescue, and before classes start. I’ve noticed that if my students aren’t anxious about everything they have to learn, they stay more focused and soak it all in.”
 

You Can Take It from There

Once you have taken a pet first aid class, you’ll have a great base-knowledge and be able to better care for your pet. As with most things in life, it’s important to never stop learning though.
 
Best practices can change so you will want to keep up by reading the latest recommendations online and/or talking another class to refresh your skills. For example, did you know that CPR is now often referred to as CPCR? The second “C” is for cerebral and refers to the improved techniques for moving blood and oxygen to the brain. 
 
If your pet has a disease or reoccurring ailment, it’s important to dig deeper into the specific skill needed to protect your pet in that situation. Keeping up with cutting edge methods can help your four-legged friend when they needs you most.
 
canine calm bottle by Earth Heart

One of the most important things you can teach yourself is how to stay calm while caring for your pet. In addition to the deep breathing technique mentioned above, misting the air with an essential oil calming spray immediately after an incident occurs can help keep yourself, your pet, and other people in the room calm. A few sprays of an essential oil blend like CANINE CALM (by Earth Heart) can help take the edge off.

You may also want to ask any humans on the scene who cannot remain calm to leave.  One subtle way to do this is to give them a task. Send them for a bucket of water, a stack of newspapers, or some other supply that may be useful.

 
For more information on Pet First-Aid classes, books and kits, visit Sunny-Dog Ink.
 
And for more information on essential oils remedies, visit Earth Heart Inc.
 
Sunny Dog Inc logoDenise Fleck, with Sunny-Dog Ink., is an award winning author and freelance writer. After extensive training, practice, more training and more practice, she developed her own Pet First-Aid & CPR curriculum and has been teaching animal life-saving skills for 15 years with many success stories to share. She also developed and teaches an Animal Care course through the Burbank Unified School District and has demonstrated animal skills on CBS –TV’s “The Doctors” and Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss,” along with other shows. To complement her teachings, Denise created a line of Pet First-Aid Kits, posters and books for children teaching animal respect and care!
 
Earth Heart logoEarth Heart has a long-standing reputation for designing effective natural remedies using plant-based ingredients that help dogs live happier, healthier lives. Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist and herbalist, founded Earth Heart in 1996 to help others learn how to safely and effectively use herbs and essential oils as part of everyday life. Earth Heart mists are made in the USA, packaged in BPA free recyclable containers, easy to use, and can be sprayed directly onto cloth, skin or fur without staining or leaving a sticky residue. Feedback from dog lovers and professionals across the USA and Canada has shown that Earth Heart mists provide safe, easy, effective solutions for over 90% of dogs.