April is Dog First Aid Month and this year Kathy Hobson from Dog First Aid Sussex is focused on empowering dog owners with the knowledge to keep their dogs safe when on holiday.
Many of us will be holidaying in the UK this year and taking our dogs with us. When you’re away from home it’s important to make sure you’ve packed everything you might need for a first aid emergency and be prepared for unfamiliar situations, know how to travel safely and also be aware of the more familiar dangers such as heatstroke and insect stings.
Kathy is dog mum to Freddie, a mixed breed rescue dog from Greece, and teaches first aid for dogs to both dog owners and dog businesses throughout Sussex. She says “When you’re preparing to go on holiday there’s a lot to think about and first aid equipment probably won’t be top of your list. It’s important to remember that accidents can and do happen anywhere. Just because you’re staying in the UK doesn’t mean that there aren’t still risks to your dog. You should always have a first aid kit with you and local vets details, just in case.”
Even the most basic canine first aid kit should contain bandages, dressing pads/swabs, gloves, saline solution, scissors, tweezers, plastic bags, a foil blanket and micropore tape. Other useful equipment to have would be a bottle of water (especially if the weather is warm), a tick twister and a spare lead as a minimum. It would be wise to make a note of the nearest vets to where you’re staying. You can also download an app to your phone which will locate the nearest vet to where you are. Keep your dog’s medical record with you too, especially if they take regular medication.
Kathy suggests “Don’t forget to think about the journey to and from your holiday destination. There are laws about travelling safely in the car with your dog. It’s good to think about your dog’s comfort too, especially if it’s a hot day, or it’s a long drive.”
Rule 57 of the Highway Code states that “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves, if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars”.
Dogs can suffer from anxiety or motion sickness in the car so pay attention if your dog is barking, whining, jumping, salivating, vomiting, attention-seeking, licking, cowering, hiding or being restless. Never punish or reprimand a dog for displaying such behaviours, it will only make the problem worse. Gradually accustoming the dog to car journeys is the best way.
Make sure your dog is as comfortable as possible, allowing them their favourite blanket and toys.
Take regular breaks to give your dog a chance to stretch its legs, have a drink and go to the toilet.
If it’s hot then open windows or use the air conditioning. A dog will benefit much more from this if they are secure on the back seat rather than in the boot. Have sunshades or visors on the windows.
Ideally have at least 5 litres of water on board, in case your dog gets heatstroke.
If it’s raining, have towels to dry your dog.
Don’t let your dog put their head out of the window and don’t leave them alone in the car.
Kathy says “It’s a good idea to do your research before you go and make sure that you know how to treat the most common first aid emergencies such as heatstroke, poisoning, choking, burns, bites and stings. I’m putting a lot of information about all of this on my social media during April for Dog First Aid Month. I really hope it helps dog owners to keep their dogs safe.”
Dog First Aid courses, online or in-person, cover everything from the basics of recognising canine stress signals and checking dogs’ vital signs to how to deal with bleeding, poisoning, choking, burns and much more, with the latest CPR techniques demonstrated on dog dummy, Cassie.
The course is regularly reviewed and updated by vets, Kathy receives regular training to keep her knowledge up-to-date, the course is CPD accredited ‘Emergency Canine Care’ and is also Trading Standards approved. It is the only UK course that can boast these credentials and the Dog First Aid franchise are the biggest providers of dog first aid training in the UK. Kathy is very proud to be a part of this organisation.
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