Pet First Aid

In a perfect world, no pet groomer would ever need to use any form of first aid on any pet they groom, but the last time I checked, the world still wasn’t perfect. In the grooming environment, all kinds of emergencies can crop up. From a clipped-too-short claw that won’t stop bleeding to a “scissor kiss,” it is essential to remember that groomers work with sharp instruments on unpredictable, moving animals, and accidents can happen. Beyond grooming-related mishaps, groomers may be present when a dog has a seizure, heart attack or exhibits some other symptoms from an underlying health condition that they and perhaps the owner know nothing about.

There are a variety of animal first aid classes available. I asked Mary Oquendo, a Master Instructor with Pet Tech since 2007, why it is important for people who care about animals to be educated on how to take care of emergencies. She said, “Knowing the first step to deal with any injury will speed healing and reduce pain but may very well save the pet’s life. Minutes can make a difference. Those that are prepared and trained in pet first aid will be faster to respond as they know what that first step is rather than wasting those precious minutes dealing with flight, fight or freeze reactions because they know what to do.”

While online classes are available and can be helpful if there is no other option, Oquendo says, “A pet first aid class should offer hands-on training. Hands-on training builds muscle memory. Muscle memory allows you to take that first step that much faster.”

Check with companies such as Pet Tech to find local classes, They often offer classes at grooming conventions. Another option is to contact your local Red Cross  to see if they offer classes near you. Your favorite search engine will provide other opportunities as well.

Knowing how to proceed during any health crisis is a vital skill for pet care professionals to possess. You will feel more confident handling animals daily when you know you have been educated to manage various emergency situations appropriately. Gaining certification in pet first aid also shows your customers that you take their animal’s health and well-being seriously. Once your training is completed, you can assemble a first-aid kit with essential products and keep it handy, hoping that you will never, ever need to use it.


By Daryl Conner, MPS, MCG 

Daryl Conner has been devoted to making dogs and cats more comfortable and beautiful for almost 40 years.  You can find her happily working at FairWinds Grooming Studio with her daughter and infant granddaughter, or typing away at her latest grooming-related article. Daryl was awarded both a Cardinal Crystal Award and Barkleigh Honors Award for journalism.  She shares her meadow-hugged antique Maine farmhouse with her practically perfect husband and too many animals.