The 99 cent Pet First Aid app gives iPhone and Android smart phone users instant access to expert information so they learn how to maintain their pet's health and what to do during emergencies.
"Pet owners need to learn the signs of a healthy dog or cat so they can recognize health problems early," said Deborah C. Mandell, VMD, DACVECC, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, and staff veterinarian and adjunct associate professor at Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. "Catching potential illness or injury early can make a huge difference in treatment success."
Owners have access to step-by-step instructions, videos and images for more than 25 common first aid and emergency situations. Users learn 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 their veterinarian.
- Use "click-to-call" to contact their veterinarian.
- Find emergency pet care facilities or alternate veterinarians with the "animal hospital locator."
- Locate pet-friendly hotels.
- 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 Red Cross app contains resources to help owners include pets in their emergency action plans.
"History shows that people have not evacuated during disasters because they did not want to leave their pets behind, and including pets in emergency planning before a disaster occurs helps keep the entire household safe," Mandell said.
Pet owners may also take a Red Cross Pet First Aid course so they can practice the skills and receive feedback. People can go to redcross.org/takeaclass for information and to register.
The Red Cross has made great strides in making emergency information available whenever and wherever people need it. 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.