April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month and a great opportunity for pet owners to brush up on tips from the American Red Cross to keep their animals safe and healthy as we head into spring and summer!

Red Cross pet mannequins used for Pet First Aid training.

Red Cross courses are available to teach people how to care for their pets.  Dog and Cat First Aid Guides are available with a DVD that teach basic responsibilities like the importance of spaying/neutering and how to give medications, to performing CPR, recognizing if your pet is sick and preparing for disasters.  The guides are available on the Red Cross Store.

 
What to be prepared for during this time of year?
 
 
HEAT STROKE
Heat stroke is one of the most common problems pets face in the warmer weather when they are not yet used to the warm temperatures. Pet owners should remember that the inside of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees in warm weather and should not leave their animals in the car, even during short trips. This can quickly lead to heat stroke. The signs of heat stroke include:
  • Heavy panting and being unable to calm down, even when lying down.
  • The pet’s gums may be brick red, they may have a fast pulse rate, or they may not be able to get up.

If you suspect your pet has heat stroke, you should take the pet’s temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, you should cool the animal down. The easiest way to do this is by using the water hose. Stop cooling the animal when the temperature reaches 103 degrees. Bring the pet to the veterinarian immediately as heat stroke can lead to severe organ dysfunction and damage.

 

Pet First Aid

 

OTHER HAZARDS
Open doors and windows can be hazardous to a pet. The animal may try to get outside, increasing the risk of falling from windows or being hit by a vehicle. Some plants and flowers can be hazardous. For instance, many lilies are very poisonous to cats. Visit the ASPCA Poison Control web site to find out which plants and flowers are poisonous to animals. If someone thinks their animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, they should contact their veterinarian.

PET FIRST AID
Courses are available at many Red Cross chapters on how to care for your pet. The Red Cross has also developed Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid Guides with DVDs that teach basic responsibilities like spaying/neutering and giving medications, to performing CPR and preparing for disasters. Visit Redcross.org/training or call 1-800 RED CROSS to see when classes are available. The Guides are available through the Red Cross Store.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR PET HEALTHY
Pet owners can follow these important steps to help keep their pet healthy:

  • Give pets plenty of exercise.
  • Make sure they have plenty of fresh, cool water.
  • Make sure they get regular yearly checkups with their veterinarian, and are up to date on vaccines, especially rabies.
  • Get pets spayed or neutered.
  • Keep dogs on leashes outside – another animal may be too much temptation
  • Know how to perform CPR and provide basic first aid until veterinary care is available

Pet First Aid Awareness Month is a great time for people to learn how to protect their pet and keep them healthy. More information on how to keep pets in good health are located on the Red Cross Pets and Disaster Safety Checklist.

Upcoming Cat and Dog First Aid Course

Saturday, April 28, 2012

10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Price: $70

American Red Cross

 2751 Bull Street

Columbia, SC 29201

To register, please contact the American Red Cross Training Support Center 1-800RedCross (1-800-733-2767), option 3 or register online at www.redcross.org

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