Pet CPR: Learn how, with vet tech David Watts!  »

This is David Watts, an Antioch, Calif., vet tech, demonstrating how to perform CPR on Caspar, a “resusci-dog” used as a veterinary teaching aide.

Did you know that there are animal-specific CPR techniques? The Contra Costa Times ran a neat little article about Watts, who owns a pet-ambulance company and teaches people how to perform life-saving techniques on their pets, specifically cats and dogs. Could you perform the Heimlich Maneuver on a hamster? Maybe, but you’d have to be awfully careful.

It seems like the techniques don’t differ too much between people and animals, but while my parents made me take a class on adult, child, and infant CPR before offering my services as a babysitter, I’d never heard of pet CPR before my friend Kelly sent me this article. “The thing is,” she said to me, “I’m not sure I’d be able to do it on my own dog, even if I knew how.” Which I think is interesting. I wonder if it’d be less terrifying doing chest compressions  or mouth-to-mouth on a dog than a baby. What do you think? Is the concept of holding your precious pet’s life in your hands more or less intimidating than an infant’s?

You definitely should check out the article for basic instructions and tips on preparing for domestic animal emergencies. Plus, for interested parties in the Bay Area, Watts offers classes on both pet CPR and combination pet CPR/trauma management. They cost $35-$45, and interested parties should call (925) 956-2911 for more information. Presumably they happen around Antioch, where Watts is based.

[Photo by Dan Rosenstrauch for the Contra Costa Times]

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