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  • Writer's pictureJuliette Wills

Puppy Love

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

I'm Canine First Aid Trained - Here's Why You Should Be, Too

I’ve been a dog sitter for six months now, and in that time I’ve been fortunate enough not to have needed to administer first aid to any of the dogs in my care. I’ve always been a bit nervous about having such a huge responsibility on my hands should something go wrong, so I decided to crack on and do something about it.

I have often wondered what I’d do if a dog became ill or injured on my watch. It seemed a natural progression for me as a professional dog sitter and walker to learn canine first aid not only so that I felt more confident on dog duty, but so that the dog’s owners would know I’d do everything possible to save the life of their dog should an accident or illness occur.

I contacted the lovely Kathy Hobson at Dog First Aid in Sussex and asked her about her courses. She offers online courses or in-person courses throughout Sussex, and there are franchises nationwide, so you’re never far from one. I whizzed up the A21 to Hurst Green Village Hall a few weeks ago and in the four hours that I was there, learnt an absolute tonne of useful information on the subject. The hall was packed with dog owners, dog sitters, behavioural therapists (for dogs, I mean!), groomers and dog kennel owners. We were all hoping to come away armed with the knowledge of what to do in the event of an emergency, and we were all there because as dog owners, groomers, sitters or boarders, we are all responsible for our own or other people's dogs - and that's a big deal.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to absorb it all – I have trouble concentrating at the best of times and classroom environments make me a bit nervous (I was naughty at school and am always waiting to be told off, even as an adult!) but everything went swimmingly. The course isn’t rushed; the four hours is packed full of vital information but it was delivered calmly, and we got time to write everything down and ask any questions (one lady seemed to think the course was solely for her, though, and kept interrupting so if you do go along, remember that it’s not a one-to-one Q&A session, it’s a ‘listen and write things down’ session!)

We learned how to care for dogs who’ve suffered cuts, broken bones, hypothermia, heat stroke, choking, poisoning and traffic accidents. I won’t lie; sometimes I was close to tears imagining how horrific it would be to deal with this first hand; on the other I was glad to be learning what to do. The idea behind the course is the bridge the gap between an incident and arriving at the vet. There’s a good chance that by knowing what to in an emergency, you might just give the dog a chance to make it to the vet. By not knowing what to do, you won’t. It’s really as simple as that. I’d encourage all Sussex-based dog owners to go on Kathy’s course. Don’t delay, you never know when you might need to spring into action for your beloved companion. If you do sign up, be sure to tell Kathy I sent you. Click here to go to the website:

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