Canine First Aid Courses

Keep your canine safe by learning how to treat medical emergencies.
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As a pet owner, you are responsible for the well-being of your four-legged family members. When an emergency arises, the time between the occurrence and getting your canine to a veterinarian is often crucial, which is why canine first aid courses were introduced to pet parents. Canine first aid courses are taught online as well as in person, through rescue and relief efforts such as the Red Cross.

Online Courses

Numerous flexible online courses available to learn about canine first aid from home, such as one offered through Online courses include lessons in preventative care, restraining, caring for bleeding, wounds, poisoning, airway obstructions and performing CPR, among other topics. Online courses may require you to read books, complete web-based lessons and quizzes, watch videos on canine first aid and practice the skills yourself. Typically, you have several weeks or months to finish the course and obtain certification.

In-Person Courses

For canine owners and caretakers who wish to take a first aid course in person, numerous options are available, such as a class offered by the Red Cross. In these courses you learn about providing first aid to canines, such as administering medications, treating wounds, treating electrical shock, performing CPR and treating eye, ear and foot injuries. Visual and kinetic learners would appreciate seeing the instructor perform these and other skills, while being able to practice themselves with supervision and guidance from certified instructors.

What to Expect

Do not substitute your first aid training for a veterinarian. Certain situations require the immediate attention of a veterinarian. Such instances include bite wounds, severe bleeding, burns, broken bones, seizures, choking, heat stroke, shock and vomiting. First aid training prepares you to identify these situations and begin to provide care for them. However, a veterinary professional should be notified of the situation immediately in order to finish treatment.

Other Preparations

Besides taking a canine first aid course, prepare for pet emergencies or disasters by keeping an emergency kit in your home for your dog. Include some food, water, a collar with updated ID tags, leash, medications, a small first aid kit, list of medications or medical complications your canine has, and a toy or blanket for comfort. Be sure to include your current veterinarian's contact information in this kit, as well as a local 24-hour veterinarian if your current one is not available at all hours. If you canine doesn't have a microchip implant, consider signing up for the procedure to better ensure the return of your canine in an emergency situation.