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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

American Red Cross Online and App for Pet First Aid

Aug 27, 2019 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

Paw Patrol

September 2019
Story by Natalie Caudle

HUMANS OFTEN VIEW their pet as not simply an animal but a true member of the family. Pet parents often pamper their pooches with toys, treats and trips in the car. The family dog or cat has risen in status throughout the decades, no longer being banished to the backyard, but given a plush bed indoors and being dressed in trendy sweaters during the winter cold. Despite 70 percent of American households owning a pet, most pet parents are not prepared for an animal emergency.  

Animals can unexpectedly face the need for urgent medical care and require quick thinking from their humans. As helpful as the Internet can be, misinformation is plentiful and can bring more harm than help. The American Red Cross has created a trusty resource to the plethora of animal questions – the free and user-friendly app, “Pet First Aid.” 

For decades, the American Red Cross has aided in disaster relief, blood collection and community education. Local chapters have offered first aid and CPR classes, allowing caretakers, babysitters, and parents to learn precious lifesaving skills. In recent years, the Red Cross has extended this service to include animal first aid in a unique course. Available online and  via the app, pet owners and sitters are not only able to troubleshoot various animal health conundrums but receive training for lifesaving skills. The training goes above and beyond the basics. Dog CPR technique varies depending on the breed; for instance, due to the unique chest wall structure of bulldogs and pugs, CPR requires specialized chest compressions. Professional help from a veterinarian is always best, but until proper medical care can be reached, first aid skills and emergency knowledge can save a life. The app walks pet parents through warning signs and CPR specifics, as well as providing information for other types of trauma including seizures, car accidents, poisoning and burns. 

 Pet parents can sometimes find their pet acting peculiar or question if a situation warrants a visit to the local vet. Teresa Woods is the proud parent of three pups and formerly a frequent visitor to the veterinarian. “Unfortunately, I cannot run to the vet every time there is questionable behavior or what I perceive as symptoms of a health issue,” she says. “This app answers so many questions and explains many things I’ve never had the time to ask.” Pet First Aid’s wide range of topics includes allergic reactions, insect stings and falls. 

 Nicole Maul of the Central Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross encourages all pet parents to take the short online course or download the app. “The more knowledge you have, the more useful you are in an emergency situation,” Maul says. Not only is it important to have a critical understanding of necessary procedures prior to a disaster, but also to have a plan and emergency kit in place. Families can easily forget to include their pets in these preparations. Maul, a mom of two canines, urges other pet parents to gain the skills and be prepared. 

 In addition to being a how-to source for animals in dire need, the Pet First Aid app offers information and links to outside resources, lists pet friendly hotels and gives general tips for animal well-being. The majority of the information focuses on the canine and feline species, but important resources can be gleaned for all types of critters. 

 No pet parent hopes to find themselves in a difficult emergency situation. Pet First Aid and the American Red Cross prepares humans to be the best parent they can for their furry family member. For easy app download, text ‘GETPET’ to 90999 or take the online course at •