I recently had the opportunity to attend a pet first aid and CPR course led by PawsNClaws911 owner, Tom Rinelli. Tom teaches several pet first aid classes throughout New Jersey and Long Island. Tom has an impressive history in emergency medical care and utilizes his training to instruct both EMS professionals and, through PawsNClaws911, pet parents and pet professionals.
The course covers what to do in several emergency situation, including assessing the environment and the animal in distress. This included descriptions of symptoms that might be associated with major medical issues in pets and a description of the most common emergency situations requiring treatment. The lecture portion of the course covered treatment for shock, poisoning, fractures, seizures, and burns.
Hands-on training included emergency muzzling or restraint of an animal, rescue breathing and CPR for larger dogs and for small dogs and cats, and choking protocol. In addition, we practiced treating bleeding injuries of various severity. These skills were demonstrated thoroughly, and participants practiced several times throughout the course to get comfortable with the procedures.
I was honestly impressed by the course, particularly the “hands-on” approach that PawsNClaws says sets it away from other providers. I am certain that I would not leave a lecture-only course with half the confidence that the hands-on practice provided. Of course these were done with stuffed dogs and not real animals, but the practice and repetition was extremely helpful. To prove this to us, at the end of the course we were asked to muzzle the dog with our eyes closed, which we completed successfully, to my own surprise.
I think the content covered was reasonably thorough for the amount of time spent. Obviously, only so much can be covered in 4 hours, and the course is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Just as you are not going to leave your human CPR class ready to graduate medical school, this course is not going to make you a veterinarian. It is, however, going to prepare you to deal with many veterinary emergencies and fell more confident should an emergency arise. I also found the instructor to be entertaining and knowledgable. He took the time to answer questions and clearly was passionate about pets.
Overall, I thought this was time well spent. I highly recommend PawsNClaws911 to pet owners and pet care professionals. Of course, if this particular class isn’t available in your area, other organizations provide pet first aid classes, and I recommend looking into taking a class.
Thanks again to Tom from PawsNCLaws911, and to Guardians of the Ribbon, a group supporting those with cancer in North Jersey, for sponsoring the event. Again, I have no affiliation with either of these groups, and don’t make any money for reviewing or endorsing their organizations.