Puppies, kittens and CPR

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Do you know how to check your dog’s pulse?

It is not a common thing to think about, but knowing how to administer first aid to your furry friend can be the difference between life and death.

“This is not something people think about until they are in that crisis, ” said Sharon Labossiere, certified pet first aid instructor.

“Education is power. ”

As Cochrane pet population grows, owners are becoming more aware of their pet’s needs, Labossiere explained.

The pet first aid course is a 10-hour class where pet owners or workers in the animal industry learn how to handle emergency situations for dogs and cats, offered at the Cochrane & Area Humane Society shelter.

More than 40 per cent of the class is learning prevention techniques while the other portion of the class is learning how to handle emergency situations, taught with mannequins or pet owners are welcome to bring their dogs (after a background check), the instructor explained.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, one out of four animals would survive if just one first aid technique was applied prior to getting to an emergency veterinary hospital, Labossiere said.

The course is not meant to replace veterinary services but to help pet owners and animal care workers stabilize their animals and transport them safely to the vet, the instructor explained.

“People do not realize how quickly the situation could escalate, ” Labossiere said.

People taking the course are taught how to deal with poison ingestion, injuries, and how deal with trauma, including assessing situations such as choking, and how to administer artificial respiration and CPR.

The first aid course, offered by Hanging with Hounds, came to Cochrane in February with the second class that finished last Saturday.

“The feedback from the class is great, people say the class goes by fast and they are pleased with the material … they say they feel if faced with the situation they would know how to deal with it, ” Labossiere said.

“Having the knowledge can make the difference between life and death. ”

The next class in Cochrane is scheduled for June 17 and 18, then in Sept. 9 and 10.

The instructor is hopeful to offer the course four times a year depending on interest. Labossiere encourages the course not only for pet owners but workers in the animal industry, such as dog walking, doggie daycare, grooming, kenneling or pet sitting.

Labossiere offers the Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid program, currently offered in 8 communities in Alberta. Nurse Ethne Dickinson developed the program after spending 18 months in consultation with veterinarians and animal health technologists, teaching the first pet first aid course in Calgary. The course is reviewed and updated frequently.

For more information on the Cochrane pet first aid courses go to hangingwithhounds.ca/services/pet-first-aid-instruction

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