BOSTON — Pets are an important part of many families, and a new Red Cross pet first-aid app puts lifesaving information right in the hands of dog and cat owners so they can provide emergency care until veterinary assistance is available.
The 99-cent app gives iPhone and Android smartphone users instant access to expert information so they learn how to maintain their pet’s health and what to do during emergencies.
“We understand the important emotional role that pets play in the lives of families, and this tool helps pet owners learn how to recognize health problems and when to contact the veterinarian,” said Leighton Jones, chief disaster officer for the Red Cross of Massachusetts. “This new app provides 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.”
Additional topics include burns, car accidents, falls, and what to do for cold- and heat-related emergencies. 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 the veterinarian;
• Use the ‘click-to-call’ feature to contact their veterinarian;
• Find emergency pet-care facilities or alternate veterinarians with the animal-hospital-locator feature;
• Locate pet-friendly hotels; and
• 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.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals embraces the strategy to better prepare pet owners.
“I have no doubt that learning more about common emergencies — from exposure to cold, accidental poisoning, and broken limbs — will empower pet owners with the information they need to save their pet,” said Dr. Kiko Bracker of Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, which sees upwards of 75 pet emergencies every day in its emergency and critical-care center. “I applaud the American Red Cross of Massachusetts for its efforts to put this vital information into the hands of every pet owner — and I encourage pet owners to take the app’s quiz to learn as much as they can about common emergencies and how they can be treated.”
History shows that people have not evacuated during disasters because they did not want to leave their pets behind. The Red Cross app contains resources to help owners include pets in their emergency action plans. Pet owners may also take a Red Cross pet first-aid course so they can practice skills and receive feedback. Users can go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.
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 by searching for American Red Cross, or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.