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Emily Welker, Published January 17 2014

For pets, new first aid app could be a lifesaver

WEST FARGO – Forget the debate over kissing your dog or cat on the lips. Mouth to mouth for ailing pets is just one of the first-aid tools developed for our furry friends, and now, a new Red Cross First Aid app can show you how.

“It’s a pretty slick app,” said Red Cross spokesman Brian Shawn. “For a pet person like me, it has everything you need to know to take care of your pet.”

The app shows smartphone users how to identify early warning signs that a pet is sick and needs a veterinarian.

It also brings up the location of the closest animal hospital or emergency vet clinic, which can be invaluable for pet owners taking advantage of the pet-friendly travel trend that’s hot in the hospitality industry.

And it can even walk you through basic first-aid for Fluffy, to help him survive and stabilize long enough to get him to the vet in an emergency situation.

“The Pet First Aid 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,” said Red Cross Dakotas Region CEO Judy Green.

The Red Cross app also helps identify pet-friendly hotels nearby, and helps create a pet profile with tag identification number, photos, and a list of its medications and instructions.

For those pet owners who learn better with a hands-on demonstration, the Dakotas Red Cross offers pet first aid classes about twice a year, which will teach you how to perform CPR on your pet and how to check its vital signs.

And, lest those readers without a love for all creatures great and small question why pet care is part of the Red Cross’s job, Shawn has a ready answer: a pet’s wellbeing can hinge directly on whether a person goes to safety or not in an evacuation.

“We know from superstorm Sandy people would not leave without their pets,” said Shawn. “When we had the Casselton derailment, one family wouldn’t leave without their dog.”

To get the app, go to redcross.org/mobileapps.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541