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Helping Rover recover: Class teaches first aid for pets

2013-02-19T23:22:00Z 2013-10-18T17:14:31Z Helping Rover recover: Class teaches first aid for petsMeg Hagerty -- mhagerty@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
February 19, 2013 11:22 pm  • 

Tom Davis wants to teach humans how to be dogs’ best friends.

The certified instructor will teach a daylong course in animal first aid and CPR so owners, groomers and animal lovers of all kind will be able to handle an emergency situation with a pet.

“It’s definitely beneficial,” said Sarah Sutherland of Sutherland’s Petworks in Kingsbury, where the class will be held. “If people are out in the woods and hiking with their dog, anything can happen. This is a way to learn to not freak out and learn how to take care of your animal.”

Davis said in his former role as an animal control officer for the town of Moreau, he dealt regularly with situations of animals in distress, including shootings and collisions with cars. He said he has been able to rescue more than a dozen animals thanks to first aid and CPR training, including having to perform the Heimlich maneuver on his St. Bernard, Thompson, after he devoured some treats off a table.

Participants will be broken into small groups with a stuffed dog on which to practice. Davis will demonstrate how to muzzle a dog quickly and what to pack in an emergency animal first-aid kit. He’ll present 50 possible pet emergencies, including bee stings, cardiac arrest, heat stroke, bleeding, shock and seizures, and he will teach how to check vital signs, assess symptoms and administer necessary treatment.

Frostbite, for example, is a condition pet owners need to be aware of this time of year. Davis said animals are most susceptible to frostbite on their ears, paws and tail, and signs will include swollen, painful and hard skin. If the paws are affected, they will change to a whitish or pale color and the animal’s breathing may change. In later-stage frostbite, the dog or cat can lose hair or skin in the affected area.

This is an instance in which an owner should quickly transport the pet to a veterinarian, Davis said, because there is a certain method to warming up the dog slowly, and if done incorrectly, could cause damage to the tissues.

Davis received training in Buffalo for 3 1/2 days and became certified to teach this Pet Tech program, which, according to the website, is “the first international training center dedicated to CPR, first aid and care for dogs and cats.”

He said he is working with State Police to certify its K-9 unit dogs, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have contacted him to teach training classes, as well.

“I think this is something everyone should have. I wouldn’t want to bring my child to a day care where they weren’t first-aid- or CPR-trained and it’s the same thing with pets,” Davis said.

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