IT was the invaluable knowledge that Steve Goodall believes saved his dog’s life.

When Scooby began showing signs of distress, instead of panicking Steve was able to diagnose him and get him prompt vet |treatment.

Scooby was suffering from a life-threatening condition and vets told Steve that if he had waited another 20 minutes the situation would have been much more |serious.

Dog trainer Steve, of Bursledon, believes it was the skills he learned on a pet first aid course just weeks before that helped him save his dog.

Luckily, Scooby got the right treatment, and after two days a ball he had swallowed was cleared from his system and he went on to make a full recovery.

Steve said he had checked Scooby’s gums and breathing as the course instructed to determine the problem, which was bloat – a condition where the stomach swells and which can be fatal.

“I have got the confidence to look at injuries and other medical conditions.” said Steve, 36, of Pine View Close.

Pet first aid classes in the south are increasing in number.

The courses teach a wide range of skills, including bandaging cut paws, treating insect bites, general health checks and recognising symptoms of common conditions.

They also cover what to do in more serious scenarios such as heatstroke, electric shocks and accidents.

Animal Aiders run sessions throughout the country with roughly four events per year in the Hampshire area, including Southampton, Fareham and Portsmouth.

It is holding a pet first aid course for Scallywags, a dog behaviour and training school in Shedfield, tomorrow.

Sophie Flux, who founded Animal Aiders, based in Bury St Edmonds, said the idea was not to replace vets but to give pet owners practical help and potentially reduce unnecessary visits to the vet.

Courses are delivered by veterinary nurses or vets, with advice for dog, cat and horse owners available.

Ms Flux has seen increasing interest since she launched her business seven years ago, but a noticeable rise in the last year.

Many clients have told how they were able to help their pet from choking or patch them up.