Posted by: twodogtales | March 14, 2011

Could you save your dog’s life?

Last week, a video of a dog trainer giving an unconscious Boxer chest compressions went viral. Back in January, USA Today reported on a Missouri family whose Golden Retriever was revived with CPR by their landscaper after losing consciousness.

Luckily, the dogs all survived their ordeals. But if your beloved canine companion stopped breathing, would you know what to do? Could you forgive yourself if the unthinkable happened and you didn’t know how to help?

Unfortunately, pet owners can’t dial 9-1-1 to have an ambulance distpatched to the location of the emergency within minutes. So it is critically important for pet owners to know basic life-saving measures.

Here in the Washington area, the local Red Cross offers Cat and Dog First Aid classes that teach pet owners useful first aid as well as essential life-saving measures for your pets. The next local class is Wednesday, March 16 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the National Capital Region’s Headquarters in Fairfax, Va. Cost is $60.

There is at least one class each month for the rest of the year in the greater Washington, D.C. area, however, all the remaining classes are in La Plata, Md., or Manassas, Va.

Find out the dates and locations of Red Cross pet first aid classes here.

If you can’t make a class anytime soon, the Red Cross also publishes a helpful book, “Be Red Cross Ready Safety Series Vol. 2: Dog First Aid.” It sells for $16.95 and covers topics such as:

  • Symptoms and care for common ailments and emergencies
  • Instructions for creating a pet first aid kit, giving medications and how to recognize emergencies
  • First aid guidance on caring for nearly 70 canine health conditions

If you’re a visual learner, there’s also a DVD that shows how to perform many of the first aid steps in the book.




  1. I took the Red Cross Pet First-Aid course on 3/16/11 and highly recommend particpating in the training course. The instructor Nancy Hill was extremely knowledgable and her interactive class environment reaffirmed our individual and collective responsibility to our animal family members regarding personal care, medical emergency, and in preapring for minor and major disaster situations.

    Employed in the Pet Care field, this course should be mandatory for all pet care providers/personnel. When you’re looking for a pet-sitter or daycare for your dog, I highly recommend asking the potential service provider whether or not their sitters/ attendants have pet first-aid knowledge and capability – Your dog’s life is in their hands when you go to work or leave home on vacation.

    • Thank you so much for your comment! I couldn’t agree more. I know if either of my dogs had a medical emergency and I lacked the knowledge to help them only because I hadn’t taken the time to learn, I could not forgive myself. Not to mention, basic first aid has saved me more than a few expensive trips to the vet.

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