A HELENSBURGH vet's surgery is urging pet owners in the area to learn 'animal first aid' training so they can help their prized family members when in need.

A new survey by the vet charity PDSA found that nine in 10 pet owners have never had any first pet aid training - and three quarters of people wouldn't know how to perform CPR on their pets.

The charity encouraged more people to learn the basics, which dould help in an emergency such as a seizure, heatstroke or even road traffic accident.

And their survey found 80 per cent of owners don't have a pet first aid kit, and they often don't feel equiped to manage common illnesses.

Karen Murphy at Lomond Veterinary Clinic said: "Providing first aid can improve the chances of survival and recovery in emergency situations and can hopefully prevent a minor injury from turning into a serious one.

"Basic first aid techniques include controlling bleeding via direct pressure on a wound, applying cold water to a burn or scald, cooling dogs with suspected heatstroke with wet towels or blankets, or confining dogs with suspected limb injuries so they cannot move about too much and further damage their legs.

"We would always suggest that people contact their veterinary surgeon for advice but learning some basic first aid techniques can really make a difference."

PDSA said they created a free pet first aid guide that could help save their pet's life.

Almost two thirds of pet owners agreed they should have basic first aid knowledge.

PDSA vet Lynne James said: “The figures highlight the extent of the skills gap when it comes to basic pet first aid skills.

"However, owners often don’t realise how important first aid training is until they need it, which can sometimes be too late.

"As with humans, taking the right actions in the first few minutes following an emergency before seeking veterinary attention can make a huge difference on the outcome of the situation.

"The good news is that while it may seem like a big task, there are practical tips that owners can learn, which will help them treat and potentially save the lives of their pets."

The PDSA guide is available at www.pdsa.org.uk/get-involved/our-campaigns/free-first-aid-guide.

Further dog first aid advice is available at www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/dog/basic-first-aid-for-dogs.