Why I’m thankful for a Red Cross app I thought I would never need

By: Christy Peters, American Red Cross Communications Manager

Growing up, my parents sat firmly in the “no pets” camp. Until the week my father left on a business trip and my mom found herself at the local shelter, adopting a tiny mutt. Family lore varies as to what led to this decision, but one thing was for sure. My father, upon returning home, could not take back the puppy all three of his children were now in love with. Our tiny rescue puppy was a lot of fun and a lot of work and, much to my father’s dismay, wreaked havoc on our house on more than one occasion. She died while I was in college and my parents quickly returned to the “no pets” camp and remain there to this day.

I also sat firmly in the “no pets” camp for most of my adulthood. And then I met my now husband who, at that time, owned a dog, cat and horse. He is also a registered veterinary technician who spends his days helping other people’s pets. I quickly realized marrying him met entering a new world as a lifelong pet owner. So here I am, a reluctant but committed dog mom to an American Bulldog named Tyler Eugene. (Our cat passed away in 2015. The horse still lives on our property, but has a new owner, so I get to enjoy him without the added pressure of keeping him alive).

Since April is National Pet First Aid Month, it’s the perfect time to share my love for the Red Cross Pet First Aid app. Sure, I’m married to a vet tech, but there have been plenty of times Tye and I have been alone and if something happens, it’s nice to know I have this amazing resource at my fingertips. The app is free and provides instant access to expert guidance on what to do in emergencies, how to include pets in your emergency preparedness plans, and suggestions for a first aid kit. The app also helps owners keep their pets safe by learning what emergency supplies to have, when they should contact their veterinarian, and where to find a pet care facility or pet-friendly hotel. The Pet First Aid App can be downloaded by texting GETPET to 90999, by going to redcross.org/apps, or by searching American Red Cross in app stores.

Pet owners can also take a free Red Cross Pet First Aid course on their home computer. The online course takes about 30 minutes and you will learn the basics in caring for cats and dogs through a variety of topics – from understanding and checking your pet’s vital signs, to preventative care for cats and dogs, to caring for the most critical emergency situations – including breathing and cardiac emergencies, wounds, bleeding, and seizures.

Of course, all these terrific resources do not replace regular veterinary care, which is extremely important. But I know my family and Tye would agree that, in an emergency, we’re all thankful the Red Cross has mom’s back.  

Protect pets from “dog days” heat

By Beth Bracale, American Red Cross volunteer

August 9, 2019- Phew! We’ve survived the wave of heat and humidity that smothered Northeast Ohio in July. Like me, my pets are enjoying the cooler temperatures. But we know more heat is on the way. The “dog days” of summer are coming, and they aren’t called that because dogs enjoy them. How can we help pets survive life-threatening conditions caused by hot weather?

Cooperative Fetching

Photo credit: Ron Bracale

Keep in mind the natural elements that are essential for life:

WATER: Animals and birds need plenty of water, especially when it’s hot. Give them free access and refill bowls as needed. Clean the bowls each day and make sure the water is fresh. Some animals enjoy sitting or standing in a baby pool filled with water. You can stick your feet in and keep them company!

AIR: Fresh air is important for our pets. Try to give them time outdoors without putting them at risk of overheating. If they’re enjoying the air conditioning indoors, provide them the ability to move into or out of the blowing air. Birds, especially, need to be protected from drafts.

LIGHT: If you close your curtains during the day to keep your house cool, give pets a chance to absorb some sunlight now and then if they choose. Access to shade is crucial. My light colored, short-haired dog loves to lie in the sun for 10 or 20 minutes. My long-haired black dog only lies in the sun on cool days. Remember that dark colors amplify the heat!

Little Bit Pool

Photo credit: Beth Bracale, American Red Cross volunteer

EARTH: Your pets are walking on bare feet. If the pavement is too hot for your feet, it’s too hot for your pet’s. For those of you who walk your dogs along the beach, keep in mind how hot the sand is. The air coming off the lake may seem cool but the sand holds the sun’s heat even after it sets.

TEMPERATURE: Monitor the temperature of your pet’s environment, keeping in mind its specific needs. Reptiles need to stay warm. Mammals need a way to cool off when it gets too hot. If your hamster is in an aquarium, it’s going to get hotter more quickly than if it’s in a cage. Of course, NEVER leave any pet in a car during the summer! Car temperatures can reach over 120 degrees in just a few minutes.

What if your pet does overheat? The American Red Cross now offers online training in First Aid for Dogs and Cats at https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/first-aid/cat-dog-first-aid. Sign up now and be prepared!

keets on hand

Photo credit: Beth Bracale, American Red Cross volunteer

The Red Cross also offers a first aid app for pets. It provides instant access to expert guidance on how to maintain your pet’s health, what to do in emergencies and how to include pets in your emergency preparedness plans.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

Keeping Pets Safe in the Heat

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross Board Member and Volunteer Leader

petfirst-appToday is the first official day of summer, although we’ve already had a number of days with temperatures into the 90’s.  Heat and humidity can be uncomfortable for us, but it is far more uncomfortable, even dangerous for our pets. Here are some tips for keeping your pets safe in hot weather.

Never, ever leave your pets in the car. It seems obvious, but we still see so many people who want to bring their dogs along for the ride. Many justify this by saying their dogs love car rides, and love to be with them. But running in to the store for “just 5-minutes” put your dog in jeopardy.

First, of all, what if you get distracted? What if there is a long line at the check-out? 5 minutes turns into 10 while the temperature in your car soars. On an 75-degree day, temps can reach over a 100 within 30 minutes, even with the car window cracked.   

If you see a pet in a hot car, take action. Take down the make, model and license of the car and go into the place of business to report it. Call the non-emergency number for the police to report the situation. And you can get involved by asking store managers at local restaurants, malls, and businesses to put up signs asking customers to not leave their pets in their cars.

The Humane Society has things you can do if you see a dog in a hot car.

Some dogs are more prone to have difficulty in hot weather than others. Dogs with short snouts, heavy fur, that are overweight, or breathing issues are are higher risk of heat stroke. If you notice heavy panting, fast pulse or any of these symptoms, take immediate action to cool down your pet. Dogs with white colored early are more susceptible to skin cancers, so keep your dog out of direct sunlight in the summer for long periods.

Hot asphalt is dangerous to pads. A dog’s feet pads are tender, and burn easily. The rule is, if it is too hot for your bare feet, do not walk your dog on it as it is too hot for their feet too. Walk your dog on the grass. Dogs sweat through their feet so their paws are an important temperature gauge and their pads must be protected.

Provide shade and water  Keep plenty of fresh cool water available for your dog inside and out. Carry a water bottle with you on walks and keep a portable collapsible pet bowl with you to keep your dog from dehydrating. If your pets spend lots of time outside provide a spot with plenty of shade. Tarps or tree shade are better than a dog house, as they provide air flow. Dog houses often make the heat worse. In excessive heat, many dogs love a small baby pool filled with water to cool off.  Add ice to water bowls.

Download the Red Cross Pet First Aid App for more information on how to include Pets in emergency preparedness plans, in case of a natural disaster or other emergency situations. The app also features instructions for first aid emergencies. Find the app in your app store or you can text GETPET to 90999 for a link to download or go here redcross.org/apps. You can also take the Red Cross First Aid online course. Access the course here  redcross.org/catdogfirstaid and go through the content at your own pace.

  

 

First Aid for Fido and Friskie

Pippa_CatDogFirstAid (002)

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month.  It’s the perfect time for pet lovers to take the American Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course and download the Pet First Aid App.

“All pet owners, pet-sitters and dog walkers should know what to do in an emergency until veterinary care is available,” said Deborah C. Mandell, VMD, DACVECC, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, and professor at Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “The Red Cross Cat and Dog First Aid online course and the Pet First Aid App are both easy and convenient ways to learn life-saving skills.”

Take the course. People can access the course on their desktop or tablet at redcross.org/catdogfirstaid and go through the content at their own pace. It takes approximately 30 minutes to complete the course. Participants can stop and pick up where they left off if Fluffy needs a treat or it’s time to take Fido out to the dog park. The interactive course includes:

  • How to determine a pet’s normal vital signs so that owners can notice if there are any irregularities;
  • Step-by-step instructions and visual aids for what to do if a pet is choking, needs CPR, has a wound, or is having a seizure; and
  • Information on preventative care, health and tips for a pet’s well-being.

Download the app. The free Pet First Aid App provides instant access to expert guidance on how to maintain your pet’s health, what to do in emergencies, and how to include pets in your emergency preparedness plans.

Speedy_CatDogFirstAid (002)The app will also help cat and dog owners keep their pets safe by learning what emergency supplies to have, when they should contact their veterinarian, and where to find a pet care facility or pet-friendly hotel. Users learn how to assemble a pet first aid kit and an emergency kit. Owners have access to step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations including how to treat wounds, control bleeding, and care for breathing and cardiac emergencies.

The Pet First Aid App can be downloaded by texting ‘GETPET’ to 90999, by going to redcross.org/apps, or by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in app stores.