Why is Dog First Aid Important?

Gemma recently trained our new Digs for Dogs franchisees on Dog First Aid, to ensure they are well equipped with all the skills necessary to look after your four legged family members. Read on to hear why Dog First Aid is so important, and how a course is suitable for all; owners, home boarders, and dog business owners.

Guest Blog – Gemma Vale – Dog First Aid Manchester

Dog Owners

Not many dog owners know that dog first aid is ‘a thing’. However, if you have a baby and something happens you can ring 999, right? They will help you perform first aid over the phone until paramedics arrive who take over, while transporting your baby or child to the hospital.

Unfortunately, pets do not have that luxury, and sometimes Google just isn’t fast enough.

Did you know that when your dog has an accident, what you do in the first 5 minutes could mean the difference between life and death?

At Crufts this year I was in my dog first aid uniform and a kind lady approached me and told me a story.
It went like this: “….I wish I had known dog first aid when my dog was alive, it may of saved his life…. I gave my little Westie a treat, and after gnawing on it for a while, he got tired of chewing it and swallowed it whole. It became lodged in his throat and he started to choke. I didn’t know what to do so I rang the vet. The receptionist told me to bring him straight down to the surgery. By the time I got there, he had died. They tried to revive him by pumping him full of adrenaline, but they couldn’t bring him back…”

It is a horrifying situation, and it would leave you feeling completely powerless, and utterly devastated.

There are 4 ways to help a dog who is choking – do you know them?

Would you go straight in with abdominal thrusts?
Abdominal thrusts can cause fatal internal injuries, and should be the very, very last thing you should try – only after you have tried the other methods first, your dog is losing consciousness and you are sure he will die should you then attempt abdominal thrusts.

Do you know that there are certain human foods, house and garden plants that are toxic to dogs?
Would you know what to do if your dog suffered an arterial bleed while out on a walk? Collapsed and had a seizure? Suffered Heatstroke? Was hit by a car and required CPR?

We do not plan an accident, but they do happen.

It is knowing these vital life-saving skills that can mean the difference between life and death for your beloved four-legged friend.

Would you want to:
• Lose your dog because you did not know how to act?
• Have your dog suffer because you didn’t recognise the early signs of renal failure, Heatstroke, Bloat, Alabama Rot, poisoning, gum disease, or ear infection – to name only a few?
• Be panic stricken in a situation that requires calm and rational action?

Dog first aid is important as a dog owner because it promotes early diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. It means that we can act calmly in a canine emergency and rationally prioritise what requires first aid, ensuring our dogs are given the best possible chance of survival.

Nobody wants the worst to happen and feel they could have done more. That is the worst possible outcome, and there is a way to prevent that from happening.

Attend a dog first aid course and keep your skills current. Be your dog’s hero!


Dog Businesses

Dog first aid is especially important to a dog business because someone is leaving their beloved pet entirely in your care. Someone is trusting you to keep them safe, and this is of utmost importance to you, your business, your reputation, and to your clients.

You do not want to feel disempowered or panic stricken in an emergency and lose a dog in your care because you did not know how to act. How would you explain that to the owner? Would your business recover from the aftermath?

Having a dog first aid qualification not only allows you to stand out ahead of your competitors, it tells your clients that you care about their dog; you will keep them from harm, and you know how to act should the worst happen. It inspires confidence and it makes you look competent within your professional circles.

It is your responsibility to ensure you are capable. It is your responsibility to make sure that you know how to prevent an emergency, but should one happen that you know how to not only prevent further injury but also do everything in your power to save a life.

Taking a dog first aid course and keeping your skills current ensures that ‘everything in your power’ is everything that is required to save that dogs’ life. No one can expect any more than that. No one deserves any less than that.


A Few Success Stories:


Stitch Shepherd standing in water

March 2020 Rochdale attendee Melanie was able to save her dog from choking on a hosepipe nozzle that he had found in the garden. Stitch had swallowed the round object which then became lodged in his throat obstructing his airway. Stitch could not breathe. Melanie was able to use the milking method she had learned at her dog first aid course to move the object up his throat until she could reach in and grab it. Stitch made a full recovery. Melanie advised that had she not attended our dog first aid course; she would be telling a completely different story.


October 2020 Merseyside Virtual Course Attendee Hayley, who runs a secure dog field in Merseyside was able to aid a dog who was having a seizure for the very first time. Hayley advised that because she had attended a dog first aid course, she knew exactly what to do, and more importantly what not to do to help Ralph through his seizure.


Cockerpoo close up

9-month-old labradoodle Buster began choking on a training treat while out on a walk. His owner, Clare who attended a virtual dog first aid course in July 2020, put her dog first aid training into practice using one of the techniques taught on the course. It took a while for the treat to come out but finally Buster could breathe, and Clare gave him a big hug! Had it not been for Clare’s quick action, the outcome would have been quite different.

Next: 19 Tests To Prepare You For A Puppy!