April is pet first aid awareness month
Heat stroke is one of the most common problems pets face, during warm weather, when they are not acclimated to the higher temperatures. The inside of a car can reach 120 degrees. The Red Cross advised owners to not leave animals in the car, even during short trips. This can lead to heatstroke. The signs of heatstroke include:
– Heavy panting and being unable to calm down, even when lying down.
– Dark red gums. The pets may have a fast pulse rate, or they may not be able to get up.
Take pets’ temperatures rectally. If the temperature is higher than 105 degrees Fahrenheit, cool the animal down, by spraying it with a water hose. Stop spraying the animal, when its temperature reaches 103 degrees. Bring the pet to the veterinarian immediately as heat stroke can lead to organ dysfunction.
Open doors and windows can be hazardous to a pet. The animal may try to go outside, increasing the risk of falling from windows or being hit by a vehicle.
Some plants and flowers can also be hazardous. Many lilies are poisonous to cats. Visit the ASPCA Poison Control website, to find out which plants and flowers are poisonous to animals.
If an animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact a veterinarian.
Courses about how to care for pets are available at many Red Cross locations. The Red Cross has also developed dog and cat first aid guides, with DVDs that teach responsibilities like spaying/neutering, giving medications, performing CPR and preparing for disasters.
Follow these steps, to help keep pets healthy:
– Give pets a lot of exercise and provide them with plenty of fresh, cool water.
– Take pets to regular, annual checkups and keep them up-to-date on vaccines, especially rabies.
– Get pets spayed or neutered.
– Keep dogs on leashes, when outside.
– Know how to perform CPR and provide basic first aid. Include pets, when planning for emergencies.
Most Red Cross shelters cannot accept pets because of health and safety concerns and other considerations. Know which friends, relatives, hotels and boarding facilities will accept pets, in the event of an emergency.
– Assemble a carrying kit with emergency supplies for pets, including leashes, harnesses and/or carriers; food, drinking water, bowls and manual can openers; medications and copies of medical records and current photos of the pets.