Pets are an important part of many families, and April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month–the perfect time to ensure you have the skills to take care of your furry family member.
Pet First Aid Tips
Do you know what to do during a pet emergency? Here are some common emergency tips:
To determine if your cat or dog is severely dehydrated, pull up on the skin between the shoulder blades. It should spring right back; if it stays tented this is a sign of a dangerous level of dehydration.
Signs of pet poisoning include bleeding externally or internally, dilated pupils, drooling or foaming at the mouth, seizures or other abnormal mental state or behavior.
If your pet has a seizure, make sure it is in a safe place, but do not restrain the animal. Keep your hands away from its mouth as your pet may not be able to control movements and could bite you.
Signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion include collapse; body temperature of 103 degrees F or above; bloody diarrhea or vomiting; wobbliness; excessive panting or difficulty breathing; increase heart rate; gums are very red; and increased drooling.
Pets bitten by other animals need vet attention to prevent the wound (even if minor) from becoming infected and to check for internal wounds. Never break up a dogfight yourself because you could be bitten.
If your pet is bleeding, apply direct pressure using gauze over the bleeding site. If blood soaks through, apply more gauze (do not removed soaked gauze) until you can reach a veterinary hospital.
Pet First Aid App
More lifesaving information is available on the Red Cross Pet First Aid App that helps dog and cat owners to provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available. Owners have access to step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid emergencies. Check out the Top 5 Features of the Red Cross Pet First Aid App.
The Pet First Aid App can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
You can also take a Red Cross Pet First Aid course to learn and practice these skills. Just go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.