Why Should A Pet Professional Take A Pet First Aid Class?
(Details on my next two upcoming pet first aid classes are inlcuded at the end of this blog along with a demo video of the class)
Because the truth is accidents can and do happen. None of us schedule 2pm: Trip and fall over dryer hose. As professionals we owe it to the pets in our care to be prepared for the unplanned.
Be Aware. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) says that 60% of all veterinary visits are emergency in nature. They go on to state that 25% more pets could have been saved if only one pet first aid technique was applied before veterinary treatment. A study done in the American Veterinary Journal states that only 10% of pets needing CPR would survive if CPR is not done before arrival at the veterinarian. Another study by the AAHA shows preventable accidents as the leading cause of death and disability among pre-senior pets.
Be Knowledgeable. What are some of the safety issues that relate directly to groomers?
• Sudden blunt force trauma happens if a pet falls off a grooming table. Or you trip over exposed cords. Or you can slip on a wet floor while carrying a pet. Take advantage of the Golden Hour. It takes approximately one hour for adrenaline to dissipate from the body after an injury. Symptoms are not felt until the adrenaline is gone. Once symptoms present, itʼs generally too late. Look to Natasha Richardson as an example of someone who wasted her Golden Hour. She was the actress who died after hitting her head in a ski accident. She refused on site medical treatment. When symptoms presented later, it was too late.
• Neck injuries or strangulation when an unattended pet or even when an attended cat jumps off a table while looped.
• Hypothermia caused by prolonged exposure to cool temperature. It can happen when placing a wet pet under a cool air dryer. You only need to lower the petʼs temperature by four degrees.
• Dehydration as a result of no water provided to the pet. Stress can also cause dehydration. It can lead to organ failure or death in a very short time.
• Burns resulting from overexposure to hot blades or hot air dryers. So will chewing on electrical cords. Using equipment without Ground Fault Interruptors (GFI) outlets around the tub can result in electrocution burns. Thermal burns can occur when a hot air dryer heats a metal cage.
• Heatstroke from being left too long with a hot air dryer. Enclosed kennel dryers are notorious for this. The young, old, immune-suppressed and brachycephalic dogs and any cat are particularly susceptible. Brachycephalic dogs have the pushed in faces. Examples are Shih Tzuʼs and Pugs.
• Bleeding injures and wounds caused by scissors and clippers. In addition, hematomas and sebaceous cysts may erupt while in your care.
• Heart failure caused by stress, chewing on electrical cords, electrocution as well as preexisting medical conditions. Cat groomers should monitor the cats stress level closely. They are prone to stress induced heart failure.
• A seizure brought on by poisoning, stress, HV dryer and preexisting medical conditions. Poisoning occurs when a pet ingests, inhales or otherwise absorbs improperly stored cleaning and pesticide products. Older dogs are more susceptible to a seizure brought on by the HV dryer.
• Injuries caused by kennel or tub grates.
• Any pet can have an allergic reaction to any product we use.
• Choking on an inappropriate sized treat or toy and any treat given to a dog that gulps his food.
• The HV dryer can blow out an eardrum or cause an anal prolapse when used improperly.
Be Proactive. Most of the above are preventable accidents. Wrap up cords and hoses when not in use. Make sure there is a clear path from one area to the next. Keep the bathing area floors dry. Store toxic materials in a closed cabinet. Monitor pets at all times. Exercise caution when using your equipment. Do you have the phone numbers handy to your local vet and the after hours office? Do you know how to get to the after hours office? You donʼt want to try and find it in a panic. Walk through your shop and note possible problems and correct them. Go home and do the same. Your four legged furry family members will appreciate it.
Be Prepared. Take a pet first aid class. Written materials and videos alone are not a pet first aid class. To properly learn these skills, your Instructor must be properly trained. Be choosy. Ask questions. What did their training consist of? Pet first aid and CPR is best learned through a combination of lecture, demonstration and hands on skills. A professional level class should include the following: bleeding and shock, restraining and muzzling, primary pet assessment,rescue breathing, CPR, fracture and limb injuries, insect bites and stings, snakebite, seizures, first aid kits and emergency preparedness kits, poisoning and poisonous substances, choking and snout to tail assessments. A better class will also advocate a healthy pet lifestyle. This includes the importance of dental care. Furthermore, it should also stress the importance of both when to seek veterinary care and of establishing a relationship with your vet.
Be Proud. Hang that certificate for all your clients to see. Knowing these skills is the difference between life or death, between temporary or permanent disability and between a short recovery or a long recuperation. These skills will also give you the confidence needed when an emergency arises. Your clients will know you care.
Be Responsible. Iʼve had three occasions with my own pets that required pet first aid. All three situations ended up being very minor when they could have easily escalated into a far more serious situation. Have release forms that allow you to perform pet first aid and CPR on the pets in your care.
Taking a pet first aid class is the right thing to do. We are responsible for the pets in our care and in our lives. They would do the same for us.
Next class is on Saturday, May 30th at Mardi Paws pet Expo in New Orleans. For details and to register: click here.
The folllowing class is Friday, June 5th at Intergroom in New Jersey. For details and to register: click here.
And....... a demo video of our pet first aid class.