Veterinary nurse offers first aid courses to top of south pet owners
Ninety per cent of pets will experience at least one emergency in their lifetime but most owners are ill-equipped when it comes to dealing with it, a pet nurse says.
Golden Bay veterinary nurse Josie Williams is on a mission to raise pet owner's awareness and will be travelling around the top of the South Island teaching animal lovers essential pet first aid techniques they can use at home.
From bleeding and bandaging, to treating road accidents, poisons and fractures — Williams said participants would leave the course competent enough to perform CPR on even the tiniest of critters.
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There was a much higher likelihood of survival if pet owners applied just one first aid technique before getting emergency veterinary care, she said.
"A lot of this stuff is helping you stabilise your animal so you can preserve life and promote recovery before you take it to the vet. There's a lot of things also like bee stings, where you can just monitor. It's about knowing what to do in those situations."
Williams said the rise in household pets across the country could be seen in the booming pet shop industry.
People were also caring a lot more than ever before about being actively involved in their animals' lives.
"[The pets] are coming inside more and being a part of the family — not just shut outside in a kennel. It's really great to see and encourages more friendly dogs too."
There was a "crazy amount" of household poisons that most people were unaware of.
"The biggest poisons you see for dogs in a veterinary clinic are rat bait and chocolate. There's something in [chocolate] that's extremely poisonous. It damages their liver and starts to shut everything down. Most people wouldn't believe the things that are in their house and garden that are toxic to pets."
The most basic skill dog owners should perform on a regular basis was the "nose-to-tail check", she said.
"It means running your hands over the whole dog — from nose to tail. You're checking their eyes, making sure they are nice and bright; the gums are nice and pink; checking the ears to make sure they aren't smelling — if they are smelling, it means there's something wrong.
"That's something we recommend owners do on a regular basis," she said.
"For example, if your dog had a tumour, you might notice a small bump, and if you're doing this check once a week, you might notice it's getting bigger, and you can get it checked out straight away."
Williams will be travelling around the Golden Bay, Nelson, Motueka, Blenheim, Westport and Kaikoura areas, delivering public and private courses, including talks and demonstrations in schools on dog safety.
She will also be in touch with animal-based businesses like pet shops, dog kennels, catteries and dog walking and grooming companies.
"If you're running an animal-related company and you don't have any veterinary qualifications behind you, it's a great skill to have under your belt."
The trainings will be held through the Auckland-based company that runs pet first aid and dog safety courses, PET First Aid and Training (NZ).
For more information on upcoming courses, please visit www.petfirstaidandtrainingnz.co.nz or Facebook search PetFirstAidNZ