Rapid City Dog Training Center offers classes with potentially life-saving tips for four-legged friends
RAPID CITY, SD — Whether at the dog park or at home, emergencies can strike our four-legged friends at any time, and immediate help can make all the difference.
On Sunday at the Happy Tails Dog Training Center, residents gathered for a class on how to perform CPR and first aid on pets.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, one in four pets would survive an emergency with the proper application of a single first aid technique. And for the first time in Rapid City, residents were able to learn how to give vital attention to animal companions.
“We’re going to be doing general wound care, first aid, taking vital signs so you can tell when a dog or an animal is in distress, that sort of thing, talking about things we can do. But we really focus on CPR techniques,” said instructor Heather Schuller.
Before administering CPR, Schuller recommends the “ABC” method: checking an animal’s airway, breathing, and pulse
In dogs, three main breast shapes come into play.
The middle is an egg shape similar to that of Labradors, the keel shape is a deep, narrow curve seen in breeds such as sighthounds and finally the barrel shape is characterized by rounded chests found usually in breeds like bulldogs.
For medium-chested dogs, compressions are performed on the left side at the highest point of the chest, just above the elbow.
A bowl-shaped chest doesn’t have as much fat, requiring compressions to be performed next to his left elbow, near his heart. For stockier breeds with barrel chests like Pit Bulls and Bulldogs, you’re going to want to lay the dog on their back and start doing compressions in the center of their chest.
For cats and small dogs, including kittens and puppies, wrap your hands around their body and begin compressions with your thumbs next to their left elbow.
100 to 120 beats per minute is the recommended rate, as in humans. However, the number of compressions is different.
“CPR compressions are 30 two-breath compressions,” Schuller said. “And the breaths are from the mouth to the muzzle. Where it’s not in the mouth, we use the nostrils to get air to them that way.
Knowing how to perform CPR on an animal can be key in the race to get them to a medical professional. And while owners would certainly prefer never to see a medical emergency, having this skill can mean the difference between life and death.
To learn more about taking the course and becoming certified, contact Heather Schuller at [email protected] or by phone at (605) 430-6646.