Veterinary charity PDSA has urged pet owners to learn basic first aid claiming that “ignorance can cost lives”.
PDSA says over 1,000 pet owners and animal workers have been equipped with life-saving pet first aid skills over the last 18 months thanks to the charity’s schemes.
The charity says despite its assistance many owners are still not aware of simple steps they can take to help stabilise a pet in an emergency situation.
Olivia Anderson-Nathan, vet at PDSA, said: “We teach first aid skills on our courses, which can equip pet owners with valuable skills to be ‘first responders’ if their pet gets into an accident. These don’t replace veterinary treatment, but in an emergency these could quite literally save a pet’s life.
“Even though it’s something you hope will never happen, it’s best to be proactive. Keeping a first aid kit in the car and in the bathroom cupboard and brushing up on the basics can make a real difference should an accident happen.
“Knowing your ABCs for animals, airway, breathing and circulation can help you to assess your pet if they collapse and give CPR if necessary. Stemming bleeding using firm pressure or a temporary bandage can buy you valuable time until you can get your pet to the vets. We’ve seen several examples of pet owners putting our advice into practice after coming on our courses, where without them they might not have known what to do.”
Between January 2017 and July this year, PDSA hosted 93 courses attended by 1,103 animal lovers, teaching them skills such as pet CPR, bandaging and what to do if your pet suffers a seizure.
PDSA says there is growing interest in pet first aid and plans to provide even more courses over the next year.
Anderson-Nathan added: “Our pet first aid courses have been a huge success and demand is rising.
“Most of our courses are free for owners. Last year we received generous funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery which enabled us to start the programme.
“So far we’ve taught over 1,000 people, who each have a chance of helping pets survive from life-threatening emergencies as a result of their new knowledge.”