App could be lifesaver for beloved four-legged companions

Marci Gore • Feb 4, 2014 at 12:02 PM

For pet owners, few things are more frightening than when their beloved four-legged companions have a medical emergency.But now, thanks to the American Red Cross Pet First Aid app, available for 99 cents on Apple and Android mobile devices, pet owners have instant access to lifesaving information so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available. “If your dog or cat got hit by a car, the app will help show you how to treat wounds and control bleeding,” said Susan Oliver, who works with the preparedness health and safety services of the American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee.

“It also shows you what to do in cardiac emergencies, heat and cold-related emergencies and how to find emergency pet care facilities.” The Pet First Aid App provides step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations, including burns and falls. Other features in the app allow pet owners to:• Create a pet profile including tag identification number, photos, list of medications and instructions.• Use the list of early warning signs to learn when to call their veterinarian.• Use click-to-call to contact their veterinarian.• Find emergency pet care facilities or alternate veterinarians with the animal hospital locator.• Locate pet-friendly hotels.• Test their knowledge with interactive quizzes and earn badges that they can share on their social networks along with their favorite picture of their pet.Users can also enter information about their pets that can be stored in the app and emailed to a veterinarian ahead of a visit.History shows that people have not evacuated during disasters because they did not want to leave their pets behind. The Red Cross Pet First Aid app contains resources to help owners include pets in their emergency action plans.According to the Humane Society of the United States, in 2012, 62 percent of American households included at least one pet. With numbers like these, Oliver says the Pet First App is an invaluable tool to have.“This app cost less than $1 to download and we all hope we won’t ever need it, but it’s always smart to be prepared in case we do,” she said.The Pet First Aid app and other Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android devices by searching for American Red Cross or going to redcross. org/mobileapps.Oliver also reminds pet owners that the Red Cross offers Pet First Aid classes.For more information on classes, call 1-800-REDCROSS or visit http://www.redcross.org/take-aclass.

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