Why It's Vital To Know Canine First Aid

Mar 14 / Emily Savage
When our dog has an accident and injures themselves, suddenly falls ill, or just doesn’t seem quite themselves, it can be a really worrying and stressful time for everyone that loves and cares for them. It is often difficult to know what to do for the best when our canine best friend needs help, and time is of the essence. So, what can we do to provide ourselves with some peace of mind, prevent panic from setting in when things go wrong, and feel confident that we have the necessary knowledge if we are unlucky enough to find ourselves in a sticky situation? Let’s explore the benefits of knowing canine first aid.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our dog could tell us how they are feeling? They may be a little off-colour some days, or perhaps a little sore and achy, now that they are advancing in years. Pain can be very difficult to detect if your dog is a stoic character, or becomes nervous and stressed when being examined by the vet. Learning how to measure our pet’s pulse, temperature and respiratory rate will help familiarise us with their normal vital signs, and if we can spot the earliest evidence of change, we are better placed to reduce pain and inflammation, thus considerably improving quality of life for our favourite furry friend. With first-aid training, we can arm ourselves with the know-how needed to help prevent minor ailments from becoming major ones.

Despite our best efforts in managing our dog’s environment to safeguard them, incidents do occur, and they can happen to anyone! Our pet may snaffle a chocolate bar from the Christmas sweet stash, or swipe something they shouldn’t while enjoying a spot of counter-surfing; they might chew and swallow something, causing them to choke and struggle to breathe; they may cut a pad on a walk, or you may come across a dog that has been in a road accident and has suspected broken bones. There are endless reasons why our pets may need us to carry out first aid, all of which need swift action to ensure a good outcome.


Although not yet mandatory, holding a first-aid certificate is invaluable if you work with dogs. Last year, the Safe Pets and People Campaign was launched in a bid for all UK pet professionals to gain a first aid qualification; the campaign is industry-backed and fully endorsed by the RSPCA.



Having at least some basic first aid training could save the life of a client’s beloved pet, and it will also help promote a sense of security when clients entrust their dog with you.

Although first aid is never a substitute for veterinary care, learning how to respond in an emergency and having the confidence and knowledge to administer first aid can save lives. First aid is an integral part of caring for both people and pets, and equipping yourself to make quick decisions and take action under pressure can make the difference between life and death.

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