I’ve spent a whole lot of time around a variety of animals over the last couple of years and honestly, I have been lucky in the sense that not many emergencies have arisen while I’ve cared for someone else’s pet. There have been a couple times in which a dog or cat has thrown up or I’ve had to tell owners to keep an eye on the animal when they get home. Luckily, I’ve only had to take a dog to the vet once when he developed an eye infection and he ended up being mostly okay! The dog needed a couple eye drops every day for a short time and he still remains the only animal I know who was excited about being at the vet.
But I do often worry about the potential of dealing with a medical emergency while caring for an animal. There are some issues that need to be dealt with immediately: injury, bloating, heatstroke, etc. First aid in some cases can help an animal’s chances but will only buy some time until you get them to a vet. You will need to get the animal to the vet after performing first aid.
There are actually a few different pet first aid classes that are offered around the Pacific Northwest! Cost, location, and time will vary on who is offering the class but there is a range of classes offered in the area and online:
- American Red Cross (online class, $25) – the American Red Cross recently started an online course about pet first aid and have their own list of what to include in a first aid kit for pets.
- Walks n’ Wags Pet First Aid – classes are regularly offered across Canada (including in many towns in British Columbia, where the organization is based) and a few that are offered in the Seattle, Washington area.
- There are two types of classes: pet first aid and Off the Grid. The pet first aid class is an all-day course that covers a wide range of topics for pet owners and those who work closely with animals. Off the Grid is a supplementary course meant for those who want additional training or live in areas without easy access to vet care (i.e. those who go camping with dogs, hunters, dog walkers, those in rural areas, etc).
- As mentioned, these classes are regularly offered in different locations but the pet first aid class was just recently added as an online course. To find a class near you, click here. For the online class, go here.
- Whatcom Community College – as part of their community and continuing education program, there are semi-regular pet first aid classes offered at the community college throughout the year. The next available course is November 18th, 2017 from 9am to 5:30pm, with a 30 minute lunch break. For more information: click here.
- DoveLewis – this 24 hour emergency animal hospital in northwest Portland, OR offers semi-regular pet first aid workshops in their community room. The next workshop is Saturday, November 4th but they do have an email newsletter that you can sign up for to be notified of their next workshop.
- Trailblazing Trails – this Portland, OR company provides dog walking, sitting, a mobile vet tech, and occasional pet first aid classes. The next class they do will be in southeast Portland on October 28th, 2017 but if the class doesn’t reach the 6 student minimum, it might be rescheduled.
While most of the aforementioned classes are offered in the Pacific Northwest, there are a few that offer online courses and I’m sure that there are many more in an area near you. The AVMA has their own tips for first aid and has a few additional resources including the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine’s tips on making your own pet first aid kit. The Parker Center Animal Clinic in Colorado has a list of tips and information about pet first aid as well.
If you’d like to look up any classes near you, try PetTech, which is an international training center and seems to be one of the more universal training pet first aid training centers. You can look up PetTech classes or instructors that may be nearby or download their pet health app.
I do want to mention that I’ll be taking one of these pet first aid classes soon but I can’t endorse how useful any of these classes might be. The classes I’ve included are just a few of many pet first aid classes that are offered each year and I recommend doing your own research into the class and instructor before signing up. Additionally, the skills that these classes provide won’t be a substitute for vet care but will buy just a bit of time until you can get the animal into the care of a professional. I do really want to emphasize that even the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) urges that you take your pet to the veterinarian after preforming some kind of first aid.