K-9 Units: Learning to Save Lives

Police partners learn doggy first aid

By Brian Reynolds


Every K-9 police unit forms a special bond. That’s why on Sunday, July 27th, just over 50 police-dog handlers attended a first aid course for dogs at Canada West Veterinary Specialists in Vancouver, BC. K-9 units respond to dangerous situations where minutes matter. If something happens to their pooch of a partner what they learn on course could be the difference between life and death.

K-9 units respond to crimes that are in progress such as robberies and break ins. That’s why police dogs are trained to master many disciplines. The Vancouver Police Dog Squad responds to over 10,000 service calls a year. Their dogs can be used for tracking, criminal apprehension, evidence recovery, narcotics, and the detection of explosions and discharged firearms.

The police-dog handlers at the course learned a variety of skills from finding a pulse, applying bandages to their partner, and canine CPR. Most police dogs are German Shepherds so the first aid course also covered the breed specific issue of stomach torsion. Officers were taught how to alleviate bloating from this deadly problem by sticking a catheter needle into the dog’s stomach to release the built up gas. The skills the police officers acquire will undoubtedly buy them some time before they can get the proper medical care and maybe even save their partner’s life

K-9 police units form incredible relationships. The dogs are trained to the highest standards and it’s a relationship that goes beyond regular police partners because the dog goes home with the handler. The police dog isn’t just a partner, he’s a part of the family.