Updated: Nov 20, 2019
One of the most commonly asked questions we get at Pet Rescue Education is; "who oversees what information is taught in pet first aid classes? Is there a Red Cross for pets? Can I get certified?"
The quick answer to these questions is...there is no hard and fast rules. Outside of a vet clinic operation, there is no oversight, by a government agency or veterinary association, to what material is taught, who is allowed to teach it, and how long a certification* good for.
Thankfully, most pet first aid businesses and individual instructors come from a knowledgeable and experienced background, are committed to providing the best possible information to their clients, and may even work closely with vet clinics or other pet medical care providers to ensure their information is accurate. So this "lack" of oversight is nothing to fear, however it can be confusing.
In the veterinary or human medical emergency setting, there are groups that determine generally what the "positions" are - such as veterinarian, vet tech, EMT, paramedic, etc. - what each position must know and what procedures they can and can't do, their testing requirements and length of certification. These can be at the international, national, and/or state level, sometimes all three. Depending on the requirements issued by the oversight bureaus, health care providers must meet hiring, training, and work requirement standards of care.
There are also elective certifications available in both systems (human and pet) to add more knowledge and credibility to an organization or individual. For example, the Professional Animal Care Certification Council (PACCC) has a system of education, testing and networking to provide pet professionals additional information on animal care and management.
Check out these links to get a sense of these organizations:
Please note this is a very basic explanation of the system.
Since our background at Pet Rescue Education comes from both the pet and human medical world, we strive to combine our experiences from both. For example, our Professionals course allows students to take a written and skills test, just like the human world, to truly earn their certification. By completing this test with 90% accuracy, a student truly has proven they know the information and have the ability to act. We also work closely with veterinarians to provide the best possible information.
So, as you research different options for pet first aid & CPR classes, keep in mind that there are franchises, online courses, in-person training, and small businesses - all with their own pros and cons. We recommend you do some research into the company before you enroll in a course: who will teach your class and what is their background, do they work with veterinarians, how long is the class, does it include hands-on practice, what are their previous customers saying about them? In addition to that basic information, reflect on what you would like to get out of a course. Are you a pet owner just looking for basic info on how to help your fur babies? Are you a pet pro looking to protect your clients pets and educate staff?
We hope this quick article sheds a little light on some parts of the industry that cause confusion and that it makes your choice in pet first aid courses a little easier to make.