When I meet people and they ask what I do I often get the response “Is that really a thing” when I tell them that I train dog guardians and dog professionals how to manage emergency first aid situations with the dogs in their care.
Yes, yes it really is “a thing”.
There are more than 10.1 million dogs in the UK and during 2020 there was 175% increase in google searches relating to “Getting a Dog”. The average cost of acquiring a dog has rocketed in the past 12 months with increases seen between 49% and 174% depending on breed. Not only are our dogs much loved family members they are also a large financial investment over their lifetime, with estimates of £30,000 or more.
With all of this in mind not only do we, as passionate dog guardians, want to ensure we keep our dogs as healthy as possible for their wellbeing, but we have also invested a large financial outlay that we should want to protect!
So, I am going to tell you a little about “the thing” and address the questions that I am often asked.
What is Dog First Aid?
Dog First Aid is an accredited CPD course that provides you with a certificate valid for 3 years in Emergency Canine Care, now this is important for dog professionals to demonstrate their commitment to self-development but as a guardian probably not your highest priority.
As a guardian you will learn how to complete a Full Body Examination correctly on your dog, you should be doing this weekly for the following reasons:
- You will get to know your dog really well, every lump and bump, coat patterns, gum colour etc.
- You will notice very early signs of change and be able to discuss with your vet before any potential issues develops further.
- You will be able to tell your vet with confidence what is normal for your dog, which is extremely helpful for them when they are forming a diagnosis.
- You will also learn how to check their pulse rate and respiratory rate and why this is important.
- You will also learn how to manage life threatening scenarios that you may find yourself in, which includes:
- Canine Shock
- Major Bleeds
- And finally, we will teach you the skills and provide you with the confidence to manage everyday scenarios such as:
- Dog Fights
- Burns and Scalds
- Eye Injuries
- Heat Stroke
- Road Traffic Collisions
So why should I complete a Dog First Aid course?
Sadly, accidents happen, even for the most experienced of dog guardians and knowing how to manage situations with confidence is so beneficial for you and your dog. If you can remain calm this will help to keep your dog’s heart rate down as they will pick up on your anxiety. By keeping your dog calm, you will be more able to keep their condition stable until you reach the vets.
Doing the right thing at the point of an incident has the potential to mean that your dog will recover more quickly one they reach veterinary care as you may have prevented a deterioration in their condition and even potentially aided the healing process. Acting correctly and quickly can also reduce the risk of secondary infections.
By learning how to complete your Full Body Examination and doing this weekly you will be able to provide your vet with valuable information about what is normal for your dog. As are veterinary teams see so many dogs of different breeds, ages, weights etc they cannot possibly know your dog as well as you do and therefore any information that you can provide will help your vet immensely. Remember you are working together as a team with your vet to provide the best possible care for your dog.
Is it relevant if you have been a dog guardian for years and never had any issues?
Absolutely as I have said previously you never know when an accident may happen and although you may have been very fortunate so far with your furbies it is always best to be prepared, in the hope that you will never need to use it.
A recent testimonial from an attendee: “I honestly think everyone who owns a dog should do this course because there is always more you can teach yourself and always things you didn’t know before doing a course like this.”
How do I know that the information is accurate?
Here at Dog First Aid, we ensure that you receive the best and most up to date training. The course content is based upon the Recover Guidelines which are written by a panel of international vets who review the latest research and evidence on how we can best care for our dogs.
Dog First Aid has a panel of vets that review our content in line with the Recover Guidelines and all the trainers have been trained by a Registered Vet to deliver the course, with regular additional training sessions held. They are also there to answer any questions that as an attendee you may have that the trainers are not able to answer at the time.
Is this course designed to save me money on veterinary bills?
No – this is not the main purpose of the course. Saving some money on vet’s bills may be a bonus as by doing the right thing at the point of the emergency may result in your dog recovering more quickly.
Remember there is no ambulance coming for your dog in an emergency – they will be relying on you.
For more information on courses available in your area please visit the Dog First Aid website.
About Bridget Simms:
Bridget is a dog mum to Alfie and Mabel. She has been a dog guardian for the majority of her life, caring for a variety of breeds and has studied various elements of health and wellbeing for dogs for many years.
Bridget is a qualified dog trainer, a canicross trainer, a dog groomer and has been delivering Dog First Aid training for over 2 years. She is passionate about a holistic approach to the welfare of dogs and by that she means working with the dog as a whole and not focussing just on one element of their being. She loves to deliver the Dog First Aid training and watch people’s confidence grow throughout the course when they realise how much better equipped they are to help their dog’s in an emergency.