Dog's Eye View: K9 CPR and first aid

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“Chance favors the prepared mind.” — Louis Pasteur

Would you think that a credit card could be a useful first aid tool? Did you know that choking is the No. 1 trauma killer in dogs? Do you know what the normal temperature of your dog is?

Dog's Eye View

This weekly column about dog training publishes on Fridays in the Steamboat Today. Read more columns here.

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Sandra Kruczek

These are just a few of the topics covered in the K9 CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first aid program that was presented by Paramedic Eric “Odie” Roth at the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs on May 17.

Sponsored by Heeling Friends and Outdoor K9 of Steamboat Springs, the participants were a combination of Animal Control Officers, pet dog owners, dog trainers and behavior consultants, pet shop owners and dog walkers all ranging in age from middle school age children to adults.

Roth is a full-time paramedic. When he saw a picture in a catalog of a dog mannequin lying on its side, he thought it was just used for veterinary schools or animal hospitals in CPR training.

When he searched further into “dog CPR,” he found scant information on how to perform this life-saving maneuver.

This, plus a heartwarming story about a young girl with a serious peanut allergy who literally saved her “allergy alert” dogs life after a cut severed an artery, motivated him to begin teaching these valuable skills and write his book, “K9 Medic, How to Save Your Dog’s Life During an Emergency."

One of the many valuable take home points of the presentation is reflected in the quote by Louis Pasteur at the beginning of this article. Roth pointed out by hands-on and demonstration the necessity of having thought through how you would respond on the chance that you would be involved in an emergency situation with a pet.

Having a well-appointed pet emergency kit in your car or a smaller one on your bike or person could make the difference in being able to stop bleeding, cut a barb off and remove a fish hook or flush a wound among other things.

Have a plan. Knowledge of location and phone numbers of veterinary hospitals in your area should be in your kit. Transporting a pet to a veterinary hospital requires thought. Safety first for people is paramount. Even the gentlest dog might try to bite if they are hurting.

“Never let fear be larger than the purpose.” An interesting video clip showed a woman whose dog had been hit by a car. The capable people who were helping were spending much of their time comforting the distraught owner. They kept reminding her to help her dog by remaining calm.

Having worked in our veterinary clinic with my husband, Dr. Ron, I could identify with this scenario. Accidents are so frightening to witness that we sometimes forget that we are the ones who need to “keep our head” in order to effectively help our pet.

There was so much practical information in this course, it would be impossible to recount it here. I recommend purchasing Roth’s book as an in-home emergency resource.

Oh, and a credit card could be used to scrape the skin to remove a stinger from a bee. The average normal temperature for a dog is 100-102.5.

Sandra Kruczek is a certified professional dog trainer at Total Teamwork Training LLC with more than 25 years of experience. She can be reached at www.totalteamworktraining.com.

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