CPR Classes for Dog and Cats – Are They Worth It?

There are a plethora of classes being offered to teach pet care professionals (non-veterinarians) CPR and almost an equal number of pet care professionals tout themselves as being CPR certified. That’s great – more education is always better than less. But is CPR where pet professionals should be spending their finite time and training resources?

According to DVM Magazine, the survival rate for dogs and cats experiencing cardiopulmonary arrest (and thus needing CPR) while at a veterinary hospital is only 6 to 7 percent. DVM Magazine did not provide any numbers for dogs and cats needing CPR outside of a clinic – but I’m assuming the success rate in those situations can’t be any better and is probably worse. To put that in context, the human survival rate is about 20%. So why is there such a big difference?

Well it turns out that unlike in humans, where there are standardized practices for administering CPR, there hasn’t been a set procedure for dogs and cats. After 18 months of reviewing CPR data, a guideline was developed and is now available from the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.   The entire document is over 130 pages long so hopefully a user-friendly and maybe even non-veterinarian friendly version will be available soon. Hopefully this standardization improves the success rate of CPR both at veterinary clinics and out in the “real world.”

If you’ve taken a pet CPR class or if you are teaching pet CPR, what do you think? Are the classes worth it? Do you think standardization will help CPR be more successful?

Thanks for reading!