A pet owner saved her puppy’s life after he almost choked to death on a plastic toy – using first aid skills she had learned on a charity course just a week before.

Janice Latreche, from Oldham, says her Springer Spaniel crossbreed Milton is alive today thanks to the training she received during a pet first aid course run by vet charity PDSA.

The 48-year-old was at home when her beloved puppy began choking and gasping for breath.

She said: “Milton had somehow got hold of one of my grandson’s action figure toys and was choking on it.

“I could see that he was struggling to breathe but I didn’t panic and remembered the skills I had learned on the PDSA course. I tried to see if I could pull the toy out from his mouth but I couldn’t, so I used a technique which is like an animal equivalent of the Heimlich manoeuvre – and it just popped out.”

As soon as the toy became dislodged Milton was able to breathe and Janice calmed him down before taking him to her vet for a check-up.

Kylie Jones, PDSA vet nurse who taught Janice, said Milton’s case proved why it was important for people to learn basic pet first aid skills:

“Life-threatening emergencies can occur at any time and require speedy action, so it’s important to know what to do in a situation like this. Many people have a basic understanding of first aid for humans but when it comes to pets, a lot of people wouldn’t know what to do.

“Knowing how to respond in an emergency, and being prepared, can make the difference between life and death.

“That’s why we want to pass on this vital information to pet owners and we’re really grateful to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, as they’re funding a series of Pet First Aid courses across the UK this year.”

Janice, who works as a community engagement officer for housing association New Charter Homes, said: “If I hadn’t done the course I don’t think Milton would have made it as I wouldn’t have known what to do. I’m so grateful to PDSA for everything I’ve learned and I think a pet first aid course is something every pet owner should consider doing.”

PDSA vets say it’s important to be prepared in an emergency and are advising pet owners to keep a ‘pet friendly’ first aid kit at home that can also be used while travelling. Pet owners should also keep their vets’ phone number in their phone contacts to help save valuable time in the event of an emergency.

Kylie added: “Learning CPR for pets can also be beneficial. Speak to your vet for advice on attending a veterinary-led first aid course, to learn how to deliver CPR and other techniques.”

For further advice visit www.pdsa.org.uk/firstaid

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