Dog CPR can be a life saver!
Needing to do CPR on your dog is something a dog owner hates to think about. We love our dogs and want only good for them. But sometimes, things happen. In that case, wouldn’t you rather have a plan of action instead of standing by helplessly? I know I would rather take action.
A while back, I went to a pet expo nearby. I met Eric “Odie” Roth, author of K9 Medic and owner of K9 First-aid and CPR. Having been an RN, I took countless classes for performing CPR on humans. I had no idea that there were classes for performing it on dogs. Mr. Roth told me about dog CPR and what made him want to start his company. Here is what he had to say.
Why do you teach CPR for dogs?
I have always been involved in education and am the owner of a successful company teaching a variety of human CPR and first aid courses. One evening I was ordering additional human CPR manikins when I came across a K9 CPR manikin. This immediately brought me back to a time when i lost my beloved St Bernard, Sampson.
Many good things come from tragedy and that is the case with me. I had lost Sampson to a condition called bloat. He died in front of me within 45 minutes. My world was torn apart, as I was not able to recognize what was going on was actually a life-threatening emergency. Looking back, I felt if only I had a bit of education, the outcome may have been different.
Finding a dog CPR class
Being a seasoned Paramedic, I thought I was a good candidate to attend a First-Aid and CPR class for dogs. I performed a search on two top search engines and sadly, it did not take long to realize there was no such course. I was quite astonished that there were so many dog owners, yet little means and training available on how to take care of them in an actual emergency.
As a Paramedic, I have a great deal of educational experience in saving humans. Dogs are certainly not small humans, but they have very similar parts. The body functions are quite similar- they have blood and they bleed, they have lungs and they breathe. ASPCA publishes that as many as one in four dogs could have a dramatically better outcome if only one first aid technique was applied prior to arriving at a Veterinarian’s office.
If you can’t find one, make one
On a whim, I sent an email to five doggie daycares asking if they would be interested in a Paramedic-based course about dog CPR and how to care for an injured dog in case of emergencies. By ten o’clock the next day, four of the five emails sent I actually received a response back wanting to schedule a class.
In 2009 I did a pilot class for three people at one of the doggie daycares. To my surprise all three people indicated the class was the best training they have received and they wanted to train all their staff. The program has grown leaps and bounds since 2009. Since then we have trained over 2,500 people in K9 First-Aid and CPR.
Do you teach private citizens?
We have several options for people to be educated in K9 First-Aid and CPR.
- In-person classes
- Online courses
- Doggie daycare provider courses
- EMS personnel courses
- Self-paced K9 CPR & First Aid course.
On October 1st we are releasing a course specifically for pet sitters. Not only does this course include cats, it also has several resources and tools to start a pet sitting business. I am very excited about the future as we are in development of courses for dog day care providers and search and rescue groups.
Find courses at K9Educators.com.
How effective is it in saving pets?
Just attending a course does not mean that every outcome will be favorable. Louis Pasture once stated “Chance favors the prepared mind.” What he is saying is when you prepare, there is a better chance of a favorable outcome.
To give you an example, as a Paramedic I have several hundred hours of active shooter training. I hope I am never placed in that situation. However, if I am, I have confidence that my actions will make a difference for many people. By taking one of our courses, you will have taken your first steps to be prepared.
What does First Aid teaching entail?
I truly believe that if you put everything into something that is in your heart, you will be successful. We have Paramedic instructors that understand medicine and are comfortable working in a high-stress environment. All of our employees share the same passion as myself and have a genuine love for dogs. Our Veterinarian Dr. Lisa Booth, DVM, is heavily involved in our teaching. We continually research for the current and best practices for our pups.
Being a small company, the requirements can be overwhelming. We are responsible for all aspects of our business, including the logistics of each class and setting up the audio-visual equipment, advertising, accounting, attending trade shows, and website development. Words cannot describe the feeling when we get emails from former students that have saved lives as a result of our training. That alone is priceless.
What is your advice to pet owners?
Many people admit they love their dog more than they like people and consider their dog as part of the family. By being prepared you will be able to provide first aid to the ones you love in their time of need. As in my case, you just might be able to recognize when your dog is facing a life-threatening situation and be able to act promptly.
When I lost Sampson, I was left with a tremendous amount of guilt. Guilt is not something that is time stamped and may be with you for years. In closing, do not base your success on the outcome, base your success on your effort and put everything you have into what is close to your heart.
What I learned about dog CPR
I hope I never need to use it. But just in case, I took the pet owner class. I learned so much great information; not only about CPR but also first aid. If a situation comes up, I am much more prepared to handle it.