Why Pet First Aid is Important for Everyone

Anything can happen to anyone, at any time.  I was at work when I received a message that something had happened to Bella, one of our rescue cats.

Cute little Bella

Bella suffered an injury, due to an accident in our own home. She had been playing on our carpeted shelving units (yes, we have cat shelves to provide vertical space in our home for the entertainment of our kitties, another topic for another day).  Normally we love these shelves and they are great for our cats for many reasons, but our little daredevil was lacking coordination on this particular day.

cat shelves
Awesome cat shelves in our living room.


While she was playing, something went wrong and she fell, and Bella could not catch herself in time. She dangled from one of the shelves, and in doing so, did this to her claw (I apologize, the picture is gross):

Bella's claw
Injury to Bella’s toe. You can see where she had ripped her claw right off.

What you are looking at is where Bella’s claw used to be.  While she was trying to hang on, she ripped one of her claws out.  Along with the extensive bleeding that resulted from that, poor Bella also lost control of her bowels.  Lucky for her, Melanie was home.  Not only is Melanie a certified pet first-aider, but she is also a pet first aid instructor.  Most importantly to Bella, she is Bella’s human, her mom, the one she goes to for treats, head scratches, and night-time cuddles.

Our little Bella was a mess.  She needed to be bathed from being covered in her own feces and had quite a bit of blood coming from her toe.  Melanie immediately put pressure on her paw to control the bleeding and took her to the shower to quickly clean her off, all while checking for other injuries Bella  might have sustained.

Bella after being cleaned up, just prior to being transported to the vet.

Once the bleeding was stabilized and her paw was bandaged, Melanie took Bella to the veterinarian where she was examined to check for internal injuries. Her paw was checked by our vet and she was given a round of antibiotics and pain killers.  Bella had to spend a few days in our laundry room with special cat litter that would not get stuck in her toes.  Luckily for Bella, mom was there, and she knew what to do to help her.

She is recovering well and enjoys her visitors, both human and furry varieties (especially Buddy the cat, one of her dearest friends.)

Buddy, one of Bella's close friends, staying by her side while her toe gets better.
Buddy, one of Bella’s close friends, staying by her side while her toe gets better.

We took pet first aid initially because we are professional pet sitters.  We needed to be ready in an animal emergency, as we are exposed to several animals each day, from the cats, dogs, and other critters we pet sit for, to the strays we find on the street, to our own little fur babies at home. Eventually the odds are going to catch up, and we are going to need to respond to an emergency sometime.   As we have talked to people taking our pet first aid classes, we hear stories of people in emergency situations with animals all the time and it is clear that every pet owner should take first aid.  Everyone’s story is the same yet different – the scenarios vary but the choice to take our pet first aid class stems from the same reason every time.  It is because something happened to an animal and they were forced to respond and it scared the heck out of them.

If you are wondering how Bella is, she is doing great.  Her injury happened on February 5th and the picture below is Bella on February 20th.  You can see that she already has a nice and healthy new claw growing in.

Bella's new claw, growing in nicely.
Bella’s new claw, growing in nicely.

Why wait until something happens first? Visit https://thecatnextdoor.com/about/pet-first-aid-training/ to see our training schedule, and book to obtain your certification in pet first aid.

First Aid Isn’t Just for People

This has been a very interesting and educational first year of business for us at The Cat Next Door Inc.  A little less than a year ago, we were sitting as students in a class that we didn’t know existed…pet first aid.

It has proven to be a very valuable resource for us, not only in our chosen field of work of pet care, but in everyday life.  We interact with others every day regarding their pets, we have heard a lot of stories, and we get asked a lot of questions.  Would you know what to do if your dog ran too far out of your site at the off-leash park and came back to you with a mouth full of porcupine quills?  How about if you found your cat unconscious? Would you know what to do next?

Human first aid is not the same as pet first aid.  Although human first aid training gives you an excellent base for general theories, there are many differences between the two.  Pet first aid isn’t there to replace veterinary care – the purpose is to keep an animal safe, stabilized, and as comfortable as possible until you transport the animal to a veterinarian.  This is very much like human first aid where certified first aiders keep people safe, stabilized and as comfortable as possible until an ambulance arrives.  Aside from that general principle, the programs are very different.

Now it is a year later, and Melanie is now a certified first aid instructor. Our first class takes place here in Airdrie on November 15, 2015 with more classes to be scheduled in the New Year.  We are very excited to be able to provide this service.  It is one we feel strongly about, and believe everyone can benefit from this specialized training.

Learning pet first aid will change the way you look at injuries and illness in animals.  If you have ever felt nervous and unsure of what to do in these situations, you will feel much more empowered to make good decisions on behalf of our furry friends who can’t tell us what is wrong with them and how they are feeling.  You will learn how to read the signs and take appropriate action.  You will learn to take notice of behavior changes indicating something is wrong, and you will feel more prepared to help.  With a good balance of theory and hands-on practice, you will find this program interesting and informative.

If you learn the skills and are able to apply that knowledge to save even one animal, that feeling will fill your heart with warmth for a lifetime. Check out the pet first aid page on our website to sign up!