Animal First Aid & CPR


Two courses offered locally
By Kevin Krein

There are countless moments of joy, fun, laughter, and maybe sometimes a little frustration that happen during life with a companion animal. At times, there can also be that slight sense of worry—like, what if my dog has been injured, and the nearest 24-hour vet clinic is far away?

Knowing some basic first aid and CPR can bring peace of mind to pet owners and help save a pet’s life.

Entire staff certified

Leashes and Leads in Byron offers myriad services for companion animals, including boarding, grooming and training. Now, they offer animal first aid training and CPR certification.

Megan Ames, director of Human Resources, said almost the entire staff (roughly 90 employees) at Leashes and Leads has been trained and certified in both animal first aid and CPR, with her goal to get those who have not yet been certified before the end of the year.

Ames joined the company six months ago, and prior to that she worked as a veterinarian technician.

“In order to become an [animal first aid and CPR] instructor, I had to go to North Carolina and I went through intensive training to become a certified trainer.”

Ames said it was important for her to have the entire Leashes and Leads staff certified in both animal first aid and CPR.

“At any given time, a pet may be injured—it could be major or minor,” she said. “The odds of having to perform CPR are low, but having everyone on staff being able to assist was key to us. All veterinary clinics aren’t open 24/7.”

Snout to tail assessment

The two trainings that Ames offered to the Leashes and Leads staff for certification in animal first aid and CPR are now being offered to the public.

The courses were created by PetTech®—the first international training center dedicated to first aid and CPR for dogs and cats.

Ames said the two courses are very hands on. “They are a mix of demonstration, lecture, and are interactive,” she said.

The training is referred to as the “PetSaver Program,” and the premier level version of the class lasts for eight hours, covering the skills necessary for administering effective assessment of a situation, CPR for dogs and cats, and first aid.

Within the course, participants cover a number of topics: dental care, senior pet care, restraining and muzzling, primary pet assessment, rescue breathing, choking management, bleeding and shock management, as well as how to do a “snout to tail” assessment for injury and wellness, how to assess vitals, and how to handle insect bites and stings, snake bites, heat or cold injuries, and seizures.

An abbreviated five-hour edition of the course covers a bulk of the same topics, without the information on dental care, senior pet care, or in-depth first aid care that the longer course covers.

Ames added there are three different kinds of CPR to be performed—the process is different depending on the size of the animal—and that in the class participants learn all three iterations.

She also said the class only covers CPR for dogs and cats. “Safely performing CPR on other types of animals is too invasive,” she said.

Certified peace of mind

And it isn’t just Ames who is passionate about ensuring the staff has the understanding and confidence to act accordingly in the case of an emergency. The Leashes and Leads Resort Manager, Alysia Rud, whole-heartedly agrees.

“As a business, we think it’s so important for all our staff to know not only the basics of first aid, but also the steps to take to save a dog’s life. The safety of our pets is our number one priority, and knowing our staff has these skills can help put our pet parents’ minds at ease while they are away from their pets,” Rud said.

While these courses are intended for people who live with companion animals, Ames noted that anyone could be trained and certified.

“Just seeing an animal outside that has been injured—you, as a human being, can provide care for that pet,” she concluded.

The five-hour course is $80 per participant and is for students age
10 and older; the eight-hour course is $120 per participant and is intended for students age 12 and older.

For more information about these classes, or to register, visit, or call 507-282-2710.

Kevin Krein is a Northfield-based writer who has operates the ‘award winning’ music blog Anhedonic Headphones, and hosts a corresponding podcast. His writing has also appeared in River Valley Woman and on The Next Ten Words. He is a ‘cool rabbit dad’ at heart, but is now a ‘foster failure’; he and his wife now live with a special needs cat named Ted. Follow Kevin (and Ted) @KevEFly (Twitter) and  @kev_e_fly (Instagram.)