Stop using your cat as a foot warmer and get ready to take your pup to the beach – spring is here! As your furry friends might know, April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. The American Red Cross has tips, apps and courses to help pet owners keep animals safe and healthy.
SPRING AND SUMMER TIPS
As we head into spring and summer, here are the top five tips to help protect your pet during outside excursions:
1. Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, cool water.
2. Know the signs of heat stroke – heavy panting, unable to calm down, brick red gum color, fast pulse rate, unable to get up. If you suspect heat stroke, take your pet’s temperature rectally. If it is above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, cool the animal down. You can use a water hose. When the temperature reaches 103 degrees, stop cooling and take your pet to the vet immediately.
3. Never leave your pet inside your vehicle, even for a short time. Temperatures can quickly climb to 120 degrees which can quickly lead to heat stroke.
4. As temperatures rise and you keep the doors and windows of your home open, keep an eye on pets that may try to get outside and be injured from a fall from a window or hit by a vehicle.
5. Some plants and flowers can be hazardous for your pet.Visit the ASPCA Poison Control website to find out which plants and flowers are poisonous to animals. If you think your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian.
PET FIRST AID APP
Pet owners can also download the Red Cross Pet First Aid App. The 99 cent app gives smartphone and tablet users instant access to information on what to do during an emergency with their pet until veterinary assistance is available. The app includes step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations.
PET FIRST AID GUIDES AND COURSES
The Red Cross developed Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid DVD guides to help you care for your pet. From basic responsibilities like spaying/neutering and giving medications, to performing CPR and preparing for disasters, these guides provide the information pet owners need to keep their pets healthy and safe. The guides are available through your local Red Cross chapter or you can visit the Red Cross Store.
Many Red Cross chapters across the country also offer Pet First Aid courses, where dog and cat owners learn how to provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.