Pet First Aid Awareness Month – Pet TECHnology

April 1-30, 2012, is Pet First Aid Awareness Month. In its 13th year, this month-long event continues to be a focal point for pet owners and pet-care professionals to learn how to better care for their pets. Each year we empathasize the importance of being a caring, conscientious, responsible and loving pet owner and pet-care professional through educations, training and preparation. Our theme for Pet First Aid Awareness Month is“Pet TECHnology.”


As always, the message highlights the importance of learning the necessary skills and techniques of CPR, first aid and care for our four-legged, furry, family members. Pet first aid is the immediate care given to a pet that has been injured or suddenly taken ill. This includes home care and, when necessary, vetrinary help. Knowing the skills and techniques of pet first aid can mean the difference between life and death, temporary and permanent disability , and expensive veterinarian bills and reasonable home care. According to the American Animal Hospital Associations (AAHA) one out of four more pets could be saved if just one basic pet first aid skill or technique was applied prior to receiving veterinary care.


Skills You Should Know

As pet parents and pet-care professional, we own it to the pets in our lives and our businesses to be trained in these life-saving skills and to have quick and ready access to the pet’s health information. To gain the skills of pet CPR, first aid and care it is recommended your successfully complete a pet first aid class taught by a properly trained instructor. The skills and techniques of a pet first aid and care training should include but not be limited to the following:

  • Restraint and muzzling
  • CPR
  • Rescue breathing
  • Choking management
  • Heat injuries (1st, 2nd,3rd degree burns and heat stroke
  • Cold injuries (frostbite and hypothermia)
  • Shock management
  • Bleeding injuries

April Is Pet First Aid Awareness Month

April Is Pet First Aid Awareness Month










Monday, April 02, 2012 — 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.

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 someone suspects their pet has heat stroke, they should take the pet’s temperature rectally. If the temperature is above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, they 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.

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 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

EMERGENCIES AND YOUR PET Don’t forget to include pets in planning for emergencies in your home or neighborhood:

  • Make plans to take your pets with you if you have to evacuate.
  • Most Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns and other considerations. Know which friends, relatives, hotels, boarding facilities will accept pets in an emergency.
  • Assemble an easy-to-carry kit with emergency supplies for pets:

◦                      Leashes, harnesses and/or carriers

◦                      Food, drinking water, bowls, manual can opener

◦                      Medications and copies of medical records

◦                      Current photos of the pets

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.