In life it’s best to be prepared for any situation, especially when it comes to your pet. Here at Bio-Rep Animal Health, we believe being pet CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) certified is crucial for any owner. Experts say it could mean the difference between life or death. Your dog could suddenly go into cardiac arrest, or suffer a seizure and stop breathing, all while you and your dog are away from home. We've asked some experts for their opinion on this important matter.
PET EMERGENCY: BE PREPARED!
“You never know when your pet will experience an emergency,” said Deborah Mandell, VMD, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, and of Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Mandell said she and those at the American Red Cross have seen everything from pets that have been choking then stopped breathing, to pets that have sustained trauma and their heart stopped beating on the way to the vet.
WHY IS LEARNING CPR IMPORTANT?
“In these situations, if owners know how to perform CPR, it can make a huge difference in outcome,” she said.
If you cannot get to a vet, you have a 20 minute window to resuscitate, said Hope Hynes, of Hynes Health and Safety Solutions, a certified instructor in pet CPR and First Aid training.
It’s a good idea for a pet parent to become CPR certified, she said. Having some basic training in CPR could start the process of helping your dog before you get to the vet. This becomes especially beneficial if your vet is closed on the weekend or if there isn’t an emergency vet nearby.
Since pets have become more like family, “we’re much more aware of our dogs or cats and the problems that can occur,” Hynes said, so it’s not unheard of to learn how to do CPR on them.
SIGNS A DOG NEEDS CPR
It’s difficult to recognize the signs of a dog with an illness because they’re very good at hiding it until it has progressed and is more advanced, Mandell said. Recognizing if there is a problem is one of the most important parts of first aid.
“Knowing your pet’s normal heart rate, breathing rate, temperature, and gum color, along with being cognizant of your pet’s normal attitude… can help owners recognize a problem much sooner,” she also said.
Before you begin CPR, check the Airway, Breathing and Circulation (ABC), similar to humans. You want to make sure if they actually need CPR because if they have a pulse you could hurt them.
Children are also encouraged to get CPR certified as well. They could actually help a little bit more than adults.
“Kids tend to spend a little more time at eye-level with pets,” Hynes said. “They may be able to do a little bit more accessing than adults may be paying attention to.”
REMAIN CALM IN AN EMERGENCY
It's best to stay calm during an emergency situation, because when you panic “you waste precious minutes which could be used to give aid to your pet,” said Irwin Thall, instructor at Pet Tech in Los Angeles, CA, where they teach people how to approach and assess the situation, and how to remain calm and focused.
Seventy percent of Americans may feel helpless to act during a cardiac emergency because they either do not know how to administer CPR or their training has significantly lapsed, according to the American Heart Association.
One thing for people to remember, if your pet is in trouble, don't be afraid to help, Hynes said.
The American Red Cross also has a Pet First Aid App, which provides users with resources on how to maintain their pet’s health and well-being and what to do during emergencies until veterinary care is available.
You can read more about becoming pet CPR certified here:
Also visit these websites for more information: