How to Engage in National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Did you know April is the National Pet First Aid Awareness Month? This marvelous initiative was created by the American Red Cross as an attempt to help pet owners across the country (and the world) learn how to help their four-legged loved ones in the case of a medical emergency. We don’t doubt your pet’s health is critically important to you, so why not take a few minutes to determine some of the common hazards they might face and how to properly deal with them?

  • Heat Stroke – This is one of the most common health issues pets can face. Because dogs and cats don’t sweat like humans do, they’re much more sensitive to high temperatures. Symptoms of a possible heat stroke include heavy panting and signs of anxiety, even when lying down, an inability (or unwillingness) to walk, or deep red gums. If you have a thermometer, a rectal temperature check can help determine the situation. Anything over 105 degrees F is dangerous! If you think your pet is suffering from a heat stroke, the quickest and easiest way to cool them down is by pouring cold water over them from a water hose. Once they’ve cooled off, take them to the vet right away, as the heat could’ve caused organ damage.
  • Choking – Let’s face it, lots of our pets constantly eat things they just randomly find lying around the house or outside. Sometimes those objects can be toxic in and of themselves, or might be too large to swallow properly. Just like there’s a proper technique for helping a choking human, there’s also a strategy to helping dogs or cats dislodge any item stuck in their throats. Watch the following video for a comprehensive review of how to handle a choking dog situation:[videojs]

 A few other steps you can take include signing up for local Pet First Aid courses. These are often available through local shelters, humane organizations, Red Cross clinics, or private trainers. There are also numerous books available on pet first aid, such as Red Cross’ very own Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid manuals! Lastly, PETA has created a helpful guide to creating your very own Canine First Aid Kit.

Has you ever had to help your pet through a potentially life-threatening situation? What do you wish you’d know at that time? How have you prepared to deal with future health problems?

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