Most people know how to tend to those everyday scrapes, cuts, aches and pains that can happen to us at any time.
But would you know what to do if you dog came in with a bleeding paw or had just eaten a seemingly innocent pack of sugar-free gum?
Not many do and it’s one of the reasons for the pet first aid program taught by Lisa Walsh from Pawsitive Wellness Pet Care.
Based out of Burlington, Walsh is a certified instructor for the 10-hour, Walks ‘N’ Wags pet first aid course.
Despite a background in human first aid, Walsh felt she didn’t have enough knowledge or the experience to deal with potential emergencies that might occur among the dogs she fostered in her home so she decided to take a course to help with that.
“I fell in love with the program and decided I wanted to teach it,” said Walsh who has been offering the course for about a year.
Animals can be prone to as many cuts and scrapes as are people, but knowing how to care for those mishaps when they occur to a pet is something most people just don’t know.
Because of that, Walsh said, people often find themselves in the quandary of not knowing if or when they should go to the vet.
“There is some things that obviously need veterinarian attention right away; emergencies, serious illnesses and such,’ said Walsh, but she added there is also that gap of how to empower people to act appropriately in emergency situations.
In fact, preventing an emergency from happening in the first place is just as important. “Part of the course that we do, at least 50 percent is based on prevention of illness and injuries.”
When Walsh first took the course herself, the question in her mind was how many things could there be to learn and how different the treatments might be from that you would provide a human. As she quickly found out, there actually is a big difference.
One obvious area Walsh points out as an example is communication. An injured animal can’t say where it hurts or what happened so a lot of the diagnosis comes down to knowing how to read the animal’s body language and understand the signs the animal is giving off.
Walsh also explained there are some similarities to treating humans, such as applying direct pressure for bleeding and the concern of infection with any cut.
Poisoning is also a big area of concern with pets and knowing not just what they can and can’t eat goes a long way.
“There are an awful lot of poisons,” Walsh said. “Even just basic food — things like chocolate, garlic and onions are all toxic.”
One of the other things being seen more and more now is zylotol, a sweetener that’s found most often in sugarless gum that can be fatal to dogs.
“The more knowledge we can get in looking after our pets, providing care and preventing illness and injuries just adds to their life,” said Walsh. “It is all part of that overall wellness we are always looking for.”
Walsh will be offering the pet first aid certification course in London on Sunday, Jan. 17 at The Friendly Groomer. Further information on the time and other dates can be found online at www.facebook.com/PawsitiveWellness.