Full-time dog-walker Rhiannon Taylor took a one-day course in pet first aid after realising one of her charges could die if stung by an insect.

"The dog is allergic to bee stings," she said. "If anything as simple as that happened, it could be life-threatening and I didn't have any training about what to do."

An Auckland man made national headlines recently when he saved his beloved chihuahua Peanut after it had a seizure and stopped breathing.

Taylor, 20, from West Auckland, insists she wouldn't hesitate to administer the kiss of life to a pooch.


"If it's the dog's life that's at stake, what is that compared to a few germs?" Taylor said.

Pet first-aid courses have been introduced to New Zealand by Sydney-based Sarah McCoy, who runs a franchise in Australia called Pet Tech.

"The idea is to buy vital time and keep it alive until you can get it to a vet for proper treatment," McCoy said.

The most common emergencies included dogs choking on treats such as dried pig-ears and rawhide.

"When a dog is in a situation like that it has about eight minutes until it's gone," she said.

Poisoning was another danger because dogs tended to put a lot of things in their mouths they shouldn't.

She planned to come back to New Zealand in January to expand her fledgling operation. Courses cost $169.

* Dressings and bandages

* Adhesive tape (25mm roll)

* Cotton buds

* Latex gloves

* Digital thermometer

* Blunt-end scissors

* Tweezers

* Eye dropper

* Syringe (12cc, without needle)

* Antihistamine (gel caps in blister packs work well)

* Antibiotic ointments

* Vinegar or baking soda (helps neutralise acid burns)

* Small torch