An increasing number of dog owners in the North-east are taking measures to protect their pooches, by learning canine first aid.
The classes, which have seen a spike in popularity over the past year, equip owners with skills which could buy their furry friend valuable time should the worst happen.
Kerry Rhodes runs Rhodes to Safety, which is coming to Aberdeenshire in April.
Originally a first aid trainer for humans, the self-professed “dog lady” decided to branch out into canine first aid after countless inquiries from her pupils.
She said: “Almost every class I ran, I would have numerous people ask me if they could learn first aid for their dog or use this first aid on their dog.
“So Rhodes to Safety started from there. People want to know how to protect their family and loved ones, and pets are very much a part of that too.
“It’s about giving people vital knowledge which could save their dog and buy them time before they can reach a vet.
“Sadly, in many instances, people don’t know what to do if their dog runs into problems and they panic and feel helpless.”
Kerry said these canine skills are especially important for those who live in or venture out into rural areas.
“Say you are taking your pet up a Munro, or you are on a hike miles away from the nearest vet, you need to be able to act quickly and buy time if something happens.
“I now do about 90% canine first aid and the rest is human, so it’s incredibly popular. I think that’s because people feel that sense of responsibility to their pet.”
The unique course teaches owners how to control bleeding, assess broken bones, manage a dog’s choking, resuscitate an animal which has stopped breathing and proactive tips for other problems such as poisoning, lungworm and colitis.
Accompanied by her two Rhodesian Ridgebacks – Axel and Chi – Kerry uses her capable canines to demonstrate a range of potentially life-saving skills.
Kerry said: “Students don’t bring their own dogs to the class, we do the demonstrations using Axel and Chi and our three CPR dummy dogs.
“The ridgebacks are big dogs and that’s what makes them perfect for teaching with.
“For example, on a bigger dog it’s far easier to detect the heartbeat, so it’s easier to learn what to look for.
“Plus they have a great temperament and are used to lots of people being around them, so they are great for the classes and thoroughly enjoy themselves.”
Although teaching some essential skills, Kerry is keen to stress that the course is not about playing the role of a vet.
“This is as a measure to buy you time to get your pet to the vet.
“They are by far the best people to treat your dog.
“Recently we’ve had seven serious incidents with dogs, all reported to us by owners who attended this course.
“Five of them were able to apply these skills and ultimately saved their pet’s life because of them.”
Rhodes to Safety will be coming to Daviot Village Hall in Daviot, near Inverurie, on April 28.