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First Aid: Is your up to scratch?

December 31st, 2019

For many of us our dog is our most loyal companion. Period.

As dog owners we’re fully responsible for our dogs well-being, however, many owners would struggle to help their dog in an accident or emergency. Just like us, our dogs are susceptive to serious health conditions like strokes, poisoning, heart attacks, broken bones or organ failure and the question is… would you know what to do?

It’s very important to know how to deal with situations like this, so taking a first aid course should be at the top of your list of things to do.

Since moving to the UK I’ve taken numerous first aid courses. As a dog groomer and a boarding kennel owner, I have to take a pet and human first aid course every 3 years. Have I ever had to apply what I learnt? Thankfully, only to manage small incidents, like minor bleedings.

I came a cross a lovely lady named Sophie Bell about a year ago. Sophie is a vet and she also teaches animal first aid courses. When I spoke to Sophie at the BIGA grooming competition in December, we had a little chat about her courses and it went something like this 🙂.

Jitka: Tell us something about yourself and the courses you offer.

Sophie: I’ve been a vet for 10 years. I work mainly in emergency and critical care but also have a love for all things natural too. My courses cover a lot of in-depth information and help pet owners as well as pet professionals.

We talk about health conditions such as diarrhoea and kennel cough and some home remedies that can really help. We look at how to clinically examine your dog and what subtle signs to look for when they’re in pain. There is a practical bandaging element and a chance to try CPR on my state-of-the-art manikin. We discuss different approaches to neutering, vaccinating and deworming and the options available to you. Then we cover the major emergencies such as gastric torsion, pyometra, seizures and ingestion of toxins – how to spot early signs and what you can do. There’s a section on wounds, bleeding and shock and traumatic incidences such as a road traffic accidents. There is an awful lot of information but everyone finds it very useful and they feel empowered once they’ve completed it.

Jitka: You also do a very popular online course?

Sophie: I offer an online version of the course which makes the courses more accessible. It is video based so very visual with a chance for you to test your knowledge and print notes to form your own handbook. Being prepared and understanding your pet is vital to ensure your don’t miss major issues, also being better equipped with information means you can chat to your vet and potentially save on a vet visit if they deem it unnecessary

Jitka: We’re talking mainly about dogs. But what about other small pets?

Sophie: The course focuses on dogs but there is a mention of cats and other small furries. The cat version of the course is being released next year alongside other pet related health courses.

Jitka: As a vet do you see many cases where a dog owner could help his/ her dogs but because of a lack of first aid couldn’t?

Sophie: I see a number of cases where I wish owners had taken a course as they could have saved their pet. One common problem is when pets have a fit. People are unaware of the protocol they should follow to safeguard their pets life.

One huge issue is the heat a pet generates during a seizure. Owners are unaware of this and fail to cool their pet down which can lead to multi-organ failure especially brain damage. That’s why everyone should take these courses as you never know when a pet may fall ill.

I’m happy to report that Sophie is coming to Vita Canis Style to Rescue on the 26th April 2020, as one of our speakers. 

If you don’t want to wait, check Sophie’s online courses here.

Jitka xx  


What People Say...

When we got home from the hospital with our new arrival it was clear that Perri, one of our miniature poodles, maternal instincts kicked in and went into overdrive. She was immediately acting like a mother separated from her pups and just wanted to care for the ‘naked puppy’. She has a history of being so motherly, even to the point that she has produced milk for puppies that aren’t hers even before she had a litter and has mothered every type of animal she could. She was panting, pacing and unable to relax for long at all. She could whine for England!

We tried other herbal remedies we had at hand for a previous anxious dog and nothing worked at all. She stopped eating and stressed herself into overheating too. Her stress was starting to impact the other dogs and she just couldn’t unwind. No matter if we worked off her energy with a walk and she wasn’t even interested in her usual mind games or call games. We also couldn’t offer long-lasting treats and chews too often as they gave her an upset stomach.

As soon as the Calming Floral Spray arrived I gave the bed a spritz and put some on her coat and the change was instant. She just got on her bed and fell asleep. She stopped panting and barely whines now, started eating again and she only does a bit of whining if the baby cries. We have now been able to positively reinforce her calm behaviour. I honestly can’t recommend this enough to people.
Natalie Griffiths