Keeping 4-legged officers safe: Milwaukee police handlers receive K-9 CPR training

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee police handlers are freshening up their first aid and CPR with a training that could potentially save their four-legged partners' lives.

We went inside a training facility for the Milwaukee Police Department's K-9 unit on Thursday, March 24, to learn more about how and what they learned in CPR and first aid training.

"We send a K-9 in first to search the area and make sure the area is safe for the officer to go in," said K-9 Handler Shawn Burger. "The potential risk of injury for the dog is pretty severe." 

Often the first officer to pursue or chase a suspect, it's important for handlers to know how to render aid to a dog.

"A dog can only go about 10 minutes without oxygen," said Burger. 

He demonstrated CPR on a stuffed canine because practicing on dogs can be dangerous, no matter how close the handler and the dog are. 

"I guess the biggest thing is the major cuts, like being stabbed or shot," said Burger. "You've got to muzzle them. It doesn't matter who you are."

All 14 handlers on the Milwaukee police force are now equipped with the education to save any dogs life -- whether it's helping a choking dog or administering Narcan to a dog who's accidentally sniffed drugs. 

"Anybody that needs a narcotics search, our dogs will go out and search the vehicle," said Burger. 

Officers need to be able to make quick, lifesaving decisions for their K-9 partners. While many of the CPR steps are the same for humans and dogs, there are some differences. 

"He's going to push halfway depth down, and just like a human," said Burger as officers demonstrated CPR. "His heart is right there so if you push on the other side, it's going to be ineffective."

A dog's heart is on the right side of their body, so positioning the dog properly and doing chest compressions to the proper area is pertinent. MPD dogs work the same full-time schedule as their handlers, which creates a close bond between the partners.

"They know when you put on that uniform they want to come with you," said Burger.

For canine handler Burger, it's peace of mind knowing he can be there for his partner Apollo. 




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