Everything you need to know about dog first aid courses

By Gemma Hopkins on 25 January 2017

Many of us have attended first aid training at school or at work; but not many of us will have attended dog first aid courses. Dogs live in homes under our protection; knowing dog first aid could be a life-saver one day.

Forewarned is forearmed

No dog owner wants to dwell on the idea that their pet could be injured. But knowing first aid helps prepare you for it, if they are.

First aid training will teach you how to cope with common emergency situations, like how to treat a wound, how to attend to a dog that has collapsed, or what to do about a bee sting. You can train in a classroom, in your own home, or online at a reasonable cost.

Unlike people, dogs are unable to tell us when they feel pain. If they’ve been involved in an accident, being able to recognise signs of trauma is an important step towards getting the dog help. Although first aid training doesn’t turn an amateur into a professional, even a basic course can arm us with knowledge that could help keep a pet alive until a vet arrives.

First aid begins at home

From the first moment you decide to get a pet, their safety is your concern, and first aid training can help you pet-proof your home. You’ll learn to keep cables hidden, so that puppies can’t chew them. Medicines and detergents will be used as examples of harmful substances to keep away from dogs. In fact, a first aid trainer can offer advice on all sorts of domestic issues, like how to prevent accidents, or how to use the contents of a home first aid kit.

Save a life, anywhere

Dogs can get into difficulty in or outside the home. Car accidents, drowning, or a broken bone is every pet owner’s nightmare. A dog first aid trainer can talk you through how to deal with emergency situations like this. Your knowledge might even help someone else’s dog if you’re first on the scene of a road traffic accident or a distressed dog owner needs prompt advice.

Learn online

You can take an online course like Canine First Aid for around £25. This type of course will usually consist of video tutorials, along with online support. Look for a course with free samples, so that you can check the learning style suits you. Then check the credentials of any training organisation you consider signing up with.

Host a first aid training session

If you prefer hands-on training, you could attend a local workshop or host a first aid training session in your own home. Instructors use equipment like a dog CPR manikin to demonstrate a technique, then participants are given the opportunity to attempt a rescue.

Learning as part of a group can certainly bring an element of fun to a serious topic, although online learning is convenient to follow at your own pace and in your own home.

The choice is yours.

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GEMMA HOPKINS BVETMED, CERTVC, MRCVS, RCVS ADVANCED PRACTITIONER IN VETERINARY CARDIOLOGY


Gemma holds an RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Cardiology and continues to work part time in practice to remain up to date and continue her interest in cardiology.

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