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April 2009

Pet First Aid Awareness Month

April is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month and Pet Tech is its proud sponsor. Our goal is to inform and educate pet professionals as well as the pet owner about the importance of learning the skills and techniques of pet first aid.

Written materials and videos alone are not a pet first aid class. To learn these life saving skills, you must take a pet first aid and CPR course taught by a properly trained instructor. Pet first aid and CPR is best learned through lecture, demonstration and hands-on skills practice. A proper training course should cover the following: bleeding and shock, restraining and muzzling, primary pet assessment, rescue breathing, CPR, heat and cold injuries, fracture and limb injuries, insect bite and sting, snakebite, seizures, first aid and emergency preparedness kits, poisoning and poisonous substances, choking and snout to tail assessments. A better seminar will also advocate and address a healthy pet lifestyle. This includes dental care and how to provide that optimally healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, it should also stress the importance of both when to seek veterinary care and of establishing a relationship with your vet.

Pet first aid is exactly what it sounds like. The first aid your pet receives when injured. According to the American Animal Hospital Association, 25% more pets could have been saved if only ONE pet first aid technique was applied prior to veterinarian treatment. Proper first aid can mean the difference between life and death, between a short recovery and a long recuperation and between short and long term disability. Remember, preventable accidents are the number one cause of death of pre-senior dogs and cats.

For all our pets do for us, shouldn't we be prepared to help them in an emergency?

Shop's Open, Dry Safe

Walk into any grooming salon and you will see dryers everywhere. They’re in the dry grooming room and kennel area and the wet bathing room. We cannot work without them, therefore we need to be aware of the dangers they possess.

Dryers located in the bathing area should plug into a Ground Fault Interrupter or GFI outlet. This will cut the power to the circuit if it becomes wet, preventing electrical shock that could result in serious burns and/or cardiac arrest for either the groomer or the pet. You should position the dryers’ base unit away from the tub.

 Properly wrapping up cords and dryer hoses when not in use will prevent sudden blunt force trauma due to tripping. In addition, you do not want your guests chewing on the electrical cords. Chewing on the cords will cause burns and electrical shock. Should this happen, do not pull the cord out of their mouth. Instead, pull the plug out of the outlet and then attend to the pet.

There are five types of dryers:

1.       Hand dryers are small and unobtrusive. Many dogs and cats fearful of the larger dryers do well with these.

2.       Stand dryers are used for fluff and finish drying. They are also good around feet and faces.SDC10518

3.       High Velocity (HV) or force dryers are used to blow out coat and to quickly table dry a dog. You should not use them around cats unless you have removed the nozzle. Removing the nozzle turns this dryer into a stand dryer with a hose. As the name implies, the air comes out at a high velocity. Exercise caution when drying around the head as you can blow out an eardrum. A towel wrapped around the head or using a Happy Hoodie will prevent this.SDC10520 Also, you should muzzle the dog that insists on biting the nozzle head-on as to prevent damage to a lung. Furthermore, the high velocity of air flow can damage the soft tissue of the eyes and could cause rectal prolapse. As with cats, removing the nozzle around the face and head will help prevent injuries.SDC10521

 This dryer can induce atypical seizures. While this is rare, the signs include uncontrollable pooping and peeing .This pet may also scream and seem disconnected. You cannot HV these pets. The owner should notify their vet if this occurs.

4.       Attachable cage dryers will fully dry a pet in a kennel. In addition, use them to finish100_1201[1] drying a pet that is fearful of the HV dryers.

5.       Dryer cages are a kennel with a built in dryer. It usually has a plexi-glass door and a 100_1200[1] timer. As there is no air circulation in these dryers, you must carefully monitor pets. Pets that are prone to heat stroke should never use this dryer. These include brachycephalic dogs, elderly pets, puppies and kittens, and overweight and otherwise health-compromised pets. Brachycephalic dogs are those dogs with the pushed-in faces such as Pugs and Shih Tzu’s.

The above dryers can also run on a cool setting. You should be aware of the signs of hypothermia in addition to dehydration and heat stroke.

Dehydration can lead to organ failure. Dehydration occurs when the temperature in the environment is higher than an animal’s body temperature and no water is provided. Signs include a lack of elasticity in the skin, sunken eyes, tacky gums and a capillary refill of more than two seconds.

Capillary refill is the exchange rate of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide in the blood stream. If you press your thumb against the gums, the time it takes for the gums to return to normal color is the capillary refill time.  

Heatstroke can lead to death. Heatstroke occurs when the temperature in the environment is higher than the body temperature with little or no air circulation, high humidity and close quarters.  Heatstroke happens VERY QUICKLY.  Signs include a body temperature of more than 103 degrees, lethargy, heavy breathing, bright red gums and tongue, vomiting and diarrhea. If heatstroke occurs, you should place the pet in a tub of cool water. Do not use cold water as it will constrict the blood vessels and slow down the cooling process. Call the veterinarian for transport instructions.

Hypothermia occurs when you expose the pet to cooler than body temperatures over a period of time. Hypothermia can occur when you place a wet animal in a kennel and dry the pet on a cool setting. Signs include a body temperature of four degrees less than normal, shivering and bluish gums. If hypothermia occurs, take the pet out of the kennel and wrap her with warm towels and call the vet for instructions.

Hypothermia, dehydration and heatstroke require immediate veterinary care. To minimize any risk, you should carefully monitor all pets during the drying process. Water should always be available to the pet. Kennel crates and cage water bottles will prevent the pet from rewetting themselves by a knocking over a water dish. Cleaning the filters regularly keeps the motor from running too hot and burning out- it will also keep the hoses cooler.

Every year the media runs a story on the deathtrap commonly referred to as a grooming shop/salon. It usually occurs when a pet has died of heatstroke because it was in an overheated kennel with no water or monitoring. Every groomer should practice safe dryer use. We are responsible for the safety of the pets in our care.

I would like to thank the Roberts Family for allowing me to photograph Riley, or as he is better known as Awesome Riley.