CPRing the Dog and Heimliching the Cat?
I’ve taken at least two first aid/CPR courses in my life: the first when I was a teenager trying to bolster my baby-sitting resume and the second when I was seven or eight months pregnant (a course that’s contents, by the way, scared me out of several nights of sleep). Now, I’m considering taking a third course, but this one won’t help if something happens to my husband or son (Besides, I already know what to do with them); this course will help if something happens to my OTHER child, my dog.
Several companies (on local, national, and international levels) now offer pet first aid and CPR courses for the dog and/or cat owner who wants to be as prepared as possible. While the courses focus on the obvious–how to react in case of choking, how to perform CPR, and how to treat wounds–they also focus on things like dealing with insect bites/stings and snakebites, a full body assessment for injury and wellness, and creating a pet-specific first aid kit for your home.
Honestly, when I first heard about these courses, I thought, “overkill.” In a society that seems to create more and more extravagant lifestyles for and concerning our pets, wasn’t this just one more bauble on a jeweled collar? But then I started thinking more. What WOULD I do if Loki were to start choking in front of me? She’s not exactly built to receive the Heimlich. And if she did somehow end up with a nasty gash? I’m not sure how best to treat that before taking her to the vet. The courses even focus on shock–recognizing and reacting to it. I don’t even know what a person in shock looks like, much less a dog.
I know I could read about a lot of these things on the internet, but I’m more of a hands-on learner. (We will not discuss my attempts at learning to knit just from reading how-to guides.) If I learn something in person, I not only know that I’m definitely doing everything correctly, but I also have an easier time remembering HOW to do everything when I’m practicing at home or, God forbid, in the middle of a crisis. Plus, I’m much more likely to attend a course with a set date, time, and place than set up my own “time to scour the internet for pet first aid information” Saturday. Gotta know what works for you, right?
A quick check with my favorite search engine shows that I have a few options in learning how to react in a canine crisis. I have no doubt that if you’re interested, an internet search for “pet first aid classes” in your area will show you all your options as well. Would you be interested? Have you taken one? Do you think it’s just a waste of time or a really good idea?