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Pet First Aid Awareness Month


April is National Pet First Aid Awareness month. So we figured it would be a good time to bone up on some first aid skills . . .

We cannot stress enough that you SHOULD NOT get online during a pet emergency or when your pet is seriously ill. In an emergency, it’s not a great time to research and learn. Prepare yourself ahead of time so that if and when an emergency does arise, you’ll be ready with first aid that might just save your pet.

To be prepared when your pet is in need you might want to purchase is the American Red Cross Dog First Aid manual and/or American Red Cross Cat First Aid manual. Go ahead and read the book and watch the 30-minute DVD video that features step-by-step instructions on safety procedures, disaster preparedness and dealing with medical emergencies. These reference guides provide quick answers to questions about caring for your dogs and cats. Red Cross Dog First Aid and Cat First Aid manuals can teach you how to:

  • Administer medications
  • Recognize an emergency
  • Perform CPR and first aid
  • Treat common problems and emergencies requiring immediate attention
  • Stock a pet first aid kit

To order a copy of Dog First Aid or Cat First Aid, contact your local chapter or visit the Red Cross online store. You might also want to consider a class. American Red Cross Pet First Aid classes give pet owners the confidence and skills necessary to tend to unexpected emergencies until they can get their pet to a veterinarian. Many Red Cross chapters across the country offer classes with hands-on training in Pet First Aid procedures.

Another step in being prepared for that emergency is to have a
AKC Pet First Aid Kit
on hand. You should have the kit purchased and stored in a safe place to use when necessary.

An excellent iPhone application is available for Dog First Aid – PetMD and Cat First Aid – PetMD. PetMD offers resources for pet health at your fingertips. The application gives you clear and fast advice wherever you are.

Pets can succumb to heatstroke very easily! Treatment must begin very quickly to give them a chance of survival. Never leave your pet in the car on warm days. If your pet suffers a heatstroke move them out of the direct sunlight if possible. Cool them down by placing a cold wet towel around the neck and head being careful not to cover the eyes, nose or mouth. Rewet and reapply the towel every few minutes. Use a hose to run water over the animal’s abdomen and between the hind legs. Massage your pets legs as the water is running. The water will absorb the body heat so keep the water wiped off their body. Transport the pet to a vet as soon as possible.

If your pet has a weak pulse, shallow breathing, nervousness or dazed eyes they could be in shock. Your pet could go into shock following a severe injury or a serious fright. Try to keep them restrained, quiet and warm. Transport the pet immediately to a veterinarian. If unconscious it is important to keep the head level with the rest of the body.

If your pet has been injured and is bleeding. Approach the dog slowly, when injured you never know what your dog will do. Minor bleeding can be handled with minimal effort. The first thing to do is apply pressure to the area to stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding has stopped cover the wound with a clean cloth or sterile dressing.

For those of you that have the ability to deal with serious bleeding an excellent article “How to Give First Aid to your Dog” gives in depth information and is worth reading. If any wound is spurting blood, it means an artery has been cut and it requires immediate professional attention. Apply pressure and get your pet help as fast as you safely can.

Being prepared may save your pet’s life!


About Author

Devoted pet owner and now, devoted pet editor, Judi worked in traditional offices, keeping the books and the day-to-day operations organized. Taking her dog to work every day for over a decade never seemed odd. Neither did having an office cat. She knows what it's like to train a new puppy and she's experienced the heartache of losing beloved companions. Retired, she currently lives with her spoiled dog and four chickens (who are, interestingly enough, also spoiled).


  1. Thanx for the post. As a paramedic and double dog owner this is so important.

    I will be taking my dog first aid and CPR course in May. Can’t wait!

  2. Thanks for sharing this vital information. I was a veterinary tech for many years, and never could get over how many people have pets but know absolutely nothing about what kind of needs the pets have, or what to do in an emergency.

  3. We have launched a pet first aid website. The course covers all the basics of caring for your pet and includes many subjects. If you would like more information, let me know. The course works worldwide.

  4. Turn Your Pet Into A Well Behaved Family Member on

    It is so important to know basic pet first aid, so you’re not left helpless in an emergency. I can’t imagine anything worse than watching your pet suffer and die, and not knowing how to help. It’s definitely worth the effort to learn.

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This post contains affiliate links, which means we earn a commission for sales referred from links on our site. We're also Amazon Associates, so we may earn from those qualifying purchases, too. Learn more!