6 Reasons You Should Get Certified in Dog First Aid

Getting a dog first aid certification is one of the best things I’ve done as a pet parent.

The knowledge was especially handy that time my hubby and I hiked 6 miles into the woods to camp with our Dachshunds and Chester had an allergic reaction to a bug bite.

After a moment of panic, I was able to gather my thoughts and take control of the situation.

Chester scraped his paw on that trip too. It was the first time it had ever happened in all of our years of hiking.

I was able to clean it up and decide that he would be fine to walk out if I cut the extra flap of skin off.

A scrape on Chester's paw he got from hiking

Dog first aid training also helped me when Gretel ate chocolate.

I had her tethered to the seat belt in her car seat and ran into the store for a minute.

I had placed my newly purchased, 3 oz. dark chocolate truffle in the back seat where she couldn’t reach it.

What I didn’t realize is that the seatbelt can be stretched and extended when the car is not on. And stretch she did… right to my chocolate truffle.

I knew to try and induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide and take her to the emergency vet.

After a scary night at home of a racing heart (hers and mine) and muscle spasms (hers), she was ok… thankfully.

If I hadn’t been trained in dog first aid, I wouldn’t have been able to pull myself together after the initial panic and take action.

I wouldn’t have had everything I needed to handle mishaps in my first aid kit because I didn’t learn until I took the first aid class.

I wouldn’t have felt confident enough to induce vomiting in Gretel to help reduce her toxic reaction to the chocolate.

My training has even helped others.

A couple of months ago my friend was staying at my house while I was out of town.

Her dog ate some chocolate. She remembered my article, looked it up, induced vomiting in her dog (with the hydrogen peroxide I had on hand for situations just like that), and everything turned out OK.

I also know I can help other people if their dog gets injured while hiking or traveling and I share what I know here on this blog.

It’s all thanks to my years of pet first aid training.

I think earning a dog first aid certification is essential for any owner. Here’s why.

6 Reasons You Should Get Certified in Pet First Aid
(Hover Over This Image to Pin)

Top 6 Reasons for Taking a Dog First Aid Training

I think all pet owners should be trained in pet first aid because:

1) It increases your confidence

Knowledge is power.

Once you have been properly trained to handle pet emergencies, you’ll be more likely to feel you can handle anything that might come up.

2) Because your pets deserve the best

You want your pets to have the best care and that starts at home.

Knowing how to assess and address an injury or illness between when it happens and when you can get them to a vet can save your pet’s life.

3) You and your pet can be more adventurous

Sometimes adventures take you off the beaten path.

Whether you are visiting a tiny seaside town or hiking 5 miles into the woods to camp, you may not always be near a veterinary clinic during open hours or even near one at all.

With pet first aid training, you can assist your pet until you can get them expert medical attention.

4) You’ll learn to recognize symptoms before something goes wrong

Being educated about symptoms of shock, hypothermia, dehydration, etc. can help you catch the condition in the early stages before the situation reaches emergency levels.

5) You’ll know how to use what’s in your pet first aid kit

You researched everything that should be in a first aid kit, or bought one specifically for pets, but do you know how to properly splint a broken leg or apply a compress so it will actually help stop the bleeding?

The contents of your first aid kit may be useless if you don’t know how to properly apply them to wounds.

6) It could save you money

A dog first aid class is the best investment you can make in your pet’s health… and it’s inexpensive compared to most medical bills.

For example, the super thorough, one-day Walks ‘n’ Wags pet first aid class I took is $199 and the certification is good for 3 years.

That’s only $67 a year, or less than 19 cents a day, for something that might save your pets life or save you money on vet bills.

Learn to save a life with pet first aid certification from metrodogseattle.com

Not only have I used my dog first aid training to help my pets, and those of my friends, but I consider that it may have saved my life too in the case of Chester’s allergic reaction deep in the woods.

By the time my Hubby and I got to camp, we were hungry and tired.

Our first reaction once we saw Chester’s swelled face was to pack everything up and start hiking quickly back to the trailhead in the dark.

I know a bit about search and rescue and I know that heading out into the woods when you can’t see, you are tired and hungry, and you are being pushed by your emotions, is a recipe for disaster.

That’s how people get lost and die.

My pet first aid training allowed me to take a step back, calmly assess the situation and also know exactly what dose of Benadryl to give Chester.

After a bit, the swelling started to go down and he started feeling better. We decided to stay put and everything worked out.

Who knows what danger we might have put ourselves in if we had hurried out of there in a panic.

Where to Get Pet First Aid Certified

Finding a pet first aid class can be a challenge in some areas of the country.

There isn’t one offered in some places. In others, someone decided to teach a class but they lost interest and no longer offer them.

I’m lucky in Seattle because there are a lot of options to choose from. I’ve tried several of them ranging from the basic Red Cross first aid to something more comprehensive.  

By far, I think the highest quality is the Walks ‘n’ Wags pet first aid certification.

The Walks ‘n’ Wags pet first aid certification is intended for pet care professionals, dog and cat owners, rescue workers, first responders, groomers and shelter workers.

Course completion offers continuing education credits for PSI, IAABC, IACP and CBCC-KA members.

I took the one day training in person with Metro Dog Seattle.

To sign up for a pet first aid class in Seattle with Metro Dog, or to find out more, visit their website or call 206-284-3647 (DOGS).

It can also be taken online at your own pace through Walks ‘n’ Wags.

Final Thoughts

Getting a certification in dog first aid is one of the best things you can do for your pet.

Being trained in emergencies can help you handle things until you get to the vet and can help you address your dog’s needs if they get injured hiking or camping.

It can also help you determine if the issue calls for a trip to the vet, thus potentially saving your from spending money you don’t need to just to find out it’s there’s nothing to worry about.

By far, the highest quality pet first aid class I’ve taken is from Walks ‘n’ Wags pet first aid.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


    1. Hi Danielle. Yes I do. I listed my recommended place in reason #6 but realize it might not have been clear to some. I updated the post so the information is easier to find. I recommend Pet First Aid Seattle, offered by Metro Dog. The instructors are highly-trained and they offer regular classes (typically once a month). Their instructors are trained through the nationally-recognized Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid program. It’s THE most comprehensive pet first aid class you will find in the state. To sign up for a pet first aid class in Seattle with Metro Dog, or to find out more, email PetFirstAid@MetroDogSeattle.com or call 206-284-3647 (DOGS).

  1. Excellent post Jessica. I thought I was well prepared with a few YouTube videos and always carrying my pet first aid kit (that friends and family made fun of) but I hadn’t thought about taking it a step further with a class. I’m going to check into local classes. Thanks!

  2. Hi! I shared on my Facebook page and get some requests for Portland based classes, do you have a few in addition to Metro Dog or any that are free of charge to the community in Seattle? I’m going to include on my resource page. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for sharing such great information (did not know about Gretel eating the dark chocolate, that is very scary). Mom found out about first aid courses for pets and should be doing something soon too. She used to be squeamish but not so much any more (guess it’s all her surgeries). She even did pretty good with Taffy’s dog bites. We hope to learn CPR and other important first aid for pets. Love Dolly

      1. FB group request? I checked but didn’t see anything from you. Let me know if I need to do something on my end. Chester thinks he’s a pretty big deal and likes to spread his awesomeness around. Ha, ha.

    1. My Step Dad recently had heart surgery and he said any squeamishness or modesty issues he had went out the window. Ha, ha. I am sure your Mom can relate. Pet first aid training is important for all pets but especially those entering their golden years. Hope your Mom finds a class she likes.

  4. Very informative and useful for having my own pets. As I run dog training classes this information will be very useful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.