Pet first aid course teaches new tricks
Mouth to mouth slobbers is an occasional reality of dog ownership, but one day, it might just save the life of your precious pooch.
PET First Aid & Training is a New Zealand organisation working to get Kiwi pet owners better prepared for animal emergencies.
Teaching the basics in CPR, shock, choking, broken bones, poisons and more, the course gives owners the skills they need to recognise and react to common dangers and symptoms.
Founder and director Joanna Clough, of Kumeu, says the course isn’t a substitute for veterinary care, but the skills taught can be the difference in an emergency.
‘‘We’re teaching people to be the ambulance officer for their animal to get it to the vet,’’ she said. ‘‘It empowers people to be more confident if things do go wrong.’’
The first course was held in June 2014, and was developed when Clough noticed a gap which needed filling.
After studying as a veterinary nurse, Clough went on to manage a doggy daycare facility.
‘‘An incident occurred one day when I wasn’t there which showed me how little the staff knew,’’ she said. ‘‘We started looking for a first aid course the staff could learn, but we couldn’t find any that were New Zealand focused.’’
With the aid of vets Dr Kym Shrimpton and Dr Graeme Ashby, Clough and co-director Laura Purkis created a 61 page first aid manual.
Updated every year, it provides up to date information on dangers, symptoms and treatments.
Clough says the manual puts right some of the misinformation in circulation, such as using toothpaste on dogs, and the dangers of some peanut butters.
Since its inception, the course has grown from one session a month, to multiple sessions in five major centres throughout New Zealand.
Instructors can now be found in Northland, Auckland, central North Island, Nelson and Queenstown.
It has also proved popular with trained veterinary nurses, Clough said.
‘‘We’ve been asked to train vet nurses in various clinics. They have the ability to do their job with such success, but they don’t get to do it without the equipment, so we have a group of vets who put their nurses through.’’
Veterinary nurse Linda Guirey talks the class through two person CPR.