5 Tips from Dog First Aid Class (with Free Printable)

A few weeks ago, we took a Dog CPR & First Aid Class through the American Red Cross to ensure we are dog-sitters well-prepared for emergencies. If classes are offered in your area, take one! It’s always important to feel ready for the unexpected.
Here are some things I’ve learned, along with an “in-case-of-emergency” download for your fridge!

1. Ensure Your Microchip Is Actually Registered

I was really surprised to hear at the Red Cross class that over half of dog-owners don’t actually register their micro-chip and fill in their information. The lady in the class said 85% of dogs wear blank microchips, but that just sounds absurd. (Really?!) If you don’t have your information filled in, if your dog’s microchip were ever scanned, it would come up BLANK!!! How horrible!
If your microchip is registered, you should know how to log-in online, view the information in it, and update the information as your contact information changes. Check your dog’s adoption paperwork, vet records, or call your vet’s office to ensure you know how to access and update your dog’s microchip information.

2. Even If Your Dog Is Micro-Chipped, Your Information Should Be ON YOUR DOG

We have occasional dogs that visit as boarding guests that don’t wear their information on them. Their owners say they’re micro-chipped. But think about what actually needs to go into getting your dog returned using the micro-chip? The dog needs to get to a vet or shelter that has a micro-chip scanner! That must be the difference in getting your beloved fur-baby returned in hours versus days.
In April, we found a Tree Walker Coonhound named Charlie running around our neighborhood. My boyfriend Will saw him running at a fast-pace while walking the dog who was staying with us. He was moving too fast to keep up with, but Will ran home. We got in the car with treats and toys and slowly drove around the neighborhood. We got lucky, and within 5 minutes, we found him! We opened the car door and he hopped in the passenger seat. We looked at his tags and his address was on there. We plugged it into the GPS and it was only about a mile away.
We had Charlie home within 20 minutes from when we saw first saw him running loose. Now he’s a beloved client of #BiscuitDogBoarding
Dog on Red Couch
What if he wasn’t wearing tags? It was a weekend morning. We would have had to post/call into Found Dog channels and/or find somewhere to get his micro-chip scanned on Monday morning! Instead, we had him home right away.
Bonus Tip for Dog-Sitters: Are the dog’s tags any good if their owner is abroad with their cell phone turned off? Go to your nearest Pet Store and print yourself a tag that says something like the following, getting an ‘Easy Clip’ to take it on and off your guests.
Currently In The Care
Of Dog-Sitter:

3. Know your Emergency Contacts Before You Need Them

The last thing you want to be doing is searching for the right information during an emergency. Gather this all ahead of time and put in on your fridge; you never know when you’ll need it.
We made a Dog Emergency Contacts Printable for the fridge and I’ve added it to Biscuit Downloads for you to use!
 For us this includes:
  • Rover.com 24/7 Ask A Vet Hot-line (Dog-Owners: Replace this with YOUR Pet’s Vet)
  • Our 24/7 Pet Hospital and Emergency Center
  • Our closest Pet Hospitals, even if not 24/7
  • National Poison Control Hot-Lines
Additional Tips:
  • Put these numbers in your phone as well as on the fridge. You may not be home when you need them.
  • Put a re-occurring event on your calendar or in your to-do list software to check that this information is up to date every 6-12 months
Do you keep anything else on your dog’s emergency contacts list?

4. Even YOUR SWEETEST dog may bite if hurt or injured

This tip is for your safety and so you can provide the best care to your dog. It is one of the key things that was different about Dog First Aid from Human First Aid, which I have also taken. A dog that is afraid and hurt may bite, so if you need to give care to your dog you should tie a muzzle with gauze or a nylon leash, which we practiced doing in the class.
Here are two videos (the first with more clear directions, the second with a live-wriggling subject):
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5. Situation dependent…you should likely only be giving care if someone else is behind the wheel

You cannot call local emergency numbers for your dog. In the United States, we do not have dog-ambulances. If your dog really needs help fast, and you’re alone, you should be in the car driving to your local hospital or vet rather than giving extended care.

Find a Class in Your Area

If you haven’t taken human CPR and First Aid before, I’d highly recommend that as well. The Dog First Aid Classes are sparsely offered, so you may be interested in knowing that I observed some of the principles of First Aid are the same across dogs and humans; things like burns, insect stings, or puncture wounds. I noticed many commonalities in the recommended courses of care. See what classes you can find to learn for yourself!