Rapid City’s Canine School offers courses with potentially life-saving advice for four-legged companions

RAPID CITY, SD – Whether at the dog park or at home, emergencies can strike our four-legged friends at any time, and immediate help can make all the difference.

Dogs go for a walk

On Sunday, residents gathered at the Happy Tails Dog Training Center for a class on the use of CPR and first aid with pets.

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, one in four pets would survive an emergency situation if just one first aid technique was properly used. And for the first time in Rapid City, residents could learn how to give life-saving attention to animal companions.

“We’ll be doing general wound care, providing first aid, taking vital signs so you can tell when a dog or animal is in distress, things like that, and talking about things we can do. But really, we’re focusing on the CPR techniques,” said instructor Heather Schuller.

Before performing CPR, Schuller recommends the “ABC” method: checking an animal’s airway, breathing, and pulse

In dogs, there are three main breast shapes that come into play.

The average is an egg-like shape similar to Labradors, the keel shape is a deep and narrow curve seen in breeds like Greyhounds and finally the barrel shape is characterized by rounded chests typically found in breeds like Bulldogs.

For dogs with an average chest, compressions are given on the left side at the highest point of the chest just above the elbow.

A keeled chest doesn’t have as much fat, which requires compression near the left elbow near the heart. For stockier, barrel-chested breeds like pit bulls and bulldogs, you should place the dog on its back and begin compression at the center of the chest

For cats and smaller dogs, including kittens and puppies, wrap your hands around their body and begin compressions with your thumbs near your left elbow.

100 to 120 beats per minute is the recommended rhythm, like in humans. However, the number for compressions is different.

“Cardiopulmonary resuscitation compressions are 30 compressions in two breaths,” Schuller said. “And breaths are from mouth to snout. Where it’s not in the mouth, we use the nostrils to get them aired that way.”

Knowing how to perform CPR on an animal can be crucial in getting them to a doctor. And while owners would certainly prefer never to see a medical emergency, this ability can mean the difference between life and death.

To learn more about taking the course and getting certified, contact Heather Schuller at [email protected] or by phone at (605) 430-6646.

About Clayton Arredondo

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