For many of us, pets are a part of our family and in my grandmother’s case; her pets are referred to as her fury grandchildren. Just as we would take the time to learn lifesaving skills for our family members, it is equally important to learn lifesaving skills for our pets too. Just ask yourself, what would Lassie do? And she would most definitely say; sign up for a pet first aid class.
April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month and the American Red Cross offers tips to the millions of pet owners as a way to keep their animals safe and healthy, especially as warm weather approaches. Many Red Cross chapters across the country, including the Central Valley Chapter, offer Pet First Aid and CPR courses. The Red Cross has also developed Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid Guides with DVD's to help you care for your pet. From basic responsibilities like spaying/neutering and giving medications, to performing CPR and preparing for disasters, these guides provide the information pet owners need to keep their pets healthy and safe.
Pet owners can follow these important steps to help keep their pet healthy:
- Give pets plenty of exercise
- Make sure pets have plenty of fresh, cool water
- Make sure pets 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
Don’t forget to include pets in emergency plans as well:
- Plan to take pets along if ordered 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 accept pets in an emergency.
- Assemble a portable kit with emergency supplies for pets:
So this April, in honor of Pet First Aid Awareness Month, contact your local American Red Cross for more information at (559) 455-1000 or visit us on the web at http://www.arccentralvalley.org/.