Canine First Aid & Lovatt Pet Photography

We have people who know how to do First Aid in the workplace, should any of us have an accident, it gives peace of mind. Yet millions of people in the UK walk their dogs every day with a high chance of any of them needing First Aid should an unfortunate incident arise, many of which don’t know basic Canine First Aid.

There is no legal requirement that says that because I am a dog photographer that I should have some knowledge of Canine First Aid should anything happen on a shoot. Should I as a photographer assume that the owner knows First Aid or just leave that responsibility to them. For me, the safety of an animal on one of my photo shoots is paramount. From a personal perspective I would be heartbroken should an animal get injured, it’s hard enough watching the RSPCA adverts.

This is why when I saw the advert at Dogs Trust Manchester that a Canine First Aid course would be held there I immediately booked.

The course was run by Rachel Bean RVN, a qualified Veterinary Nurse and Animal Behaviourist. Never having been on a first aid course I didn’t know what to expect. Rachel has a fantastic teaching style that really makes learning enjoyable and relaxed. The course is a mixture of theory, working through the workbook and discussing situations, and practical, making it very easy to take in what you are being taught.

We went through the legal aspects of canine first aid, as by law only a Veterinary Surgeon can diagnose and treat an animal, but first aid can be administered in order to preserve life or relieve pain and suffering. Doing a first aid course does not mean that you are now qualified to bypass having to see a vet, but it goes a long way to helping an animal while getting to the vet.

The course is very in depth, covering how the different types of wounds and how to deal with them. What to do if your dog is stung by an insect, suffers from poisoning, epilepsy, shock, hypothermia and hyperthermia, choking and so much more, including the do’s and don’t s under each circumstance. This is really important as some of the things you would think you should do in some instances are definite don’t do.

The practical side was so much fun. Learning how to do canine CPR on Casper the resuscitation dog with Rachel over seeing that you carry out the correct steps. Learning how to take a dog’s pulse, thanks to Rachel’s gorgeous dog Wisp for being a willing participant for that. To then learning how to bandage a dogs head/ear and leg using real life dogs. There were lots of wonderfully patient dogs who allowed us budding first aiders to practice on them. My little group had the wriggliest puppy ever which certainly added to the challenge, but then made it all the more satisfactory when the bandage was completed.

Photos below taken by Rachel Bean of me carrying out the bandaging and CPR exercises.

Rachel Bean Canine First Aid Course

Me holding the wriggly puppy having her leg bandaged. Photo credit: Rachel Bean RVN

Canine First Aid Workshop - Rachel Bean RVN

Photo Credit: Rachel Bean RVN

Rachel Bean RVN - Canine First Aid Workshop

Wriggly puppy checking out the bandaging. Photo Credit: Rachel Bean RVN

Canine First Aid Workshop Rachel Bean RVN

wisp patiently letting me bandage her ear Photo Credit: Rachel Bean RVN

Rachel Bean RVN Canine First Aid Workshops

Outer bandage now being applied to Wisp Photo Credit: Rachel Bean RVN

CPR at Canine First Aid Rachel Bean RVN

Me completing the CPR exercise on Casper Photo Credit: Rachel Bean RVN


I came away at the end of the course feeling that should an emergency arise on a photo shoot, I now had some skills to help a dog in the first instance before getting to a vet. Having the workbook to take home allows me to keep refreshing my knowledge, which I will most definitely be doing. I also had the most fun course in a long time, a serious subject, yet made so enjoyable.

There are many Canine First Aid courses coming up all over the country, as people realise that there is a need there with responsible pet ownership coming up along with more dog walking businesses. However, some of these courses are run by Human First Aid tutors, who may have never given first aid in aEve real life situation. Surely, it’s common sense that if you want to learn about canine first aid and how real life situations would be dealt with that you would choose a course run by a qualified veterinary nurse or surgeon. You wouldn’t take your dog to the Doctors for treatment, but to the Vet, therefore surely the same should be the case for whose course you attend.

Rachel runs these Canine First Aid Courses up and down the country. She will also run a course on your premises if you know a group of people who would be interested in the work shops. To find out more about Rachel visit her website here and for information on upcoming courses visit here Canine First Aid Workshop Facebook page here.

Even a little Canine First Aid knowledge could be a life saver before you manage to get to a vets.

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