Red Cross offers first-aid, CPR classes for cat, dog owners

petsKnowing how to give first aid could save the life of someone you love — even when that “someone” happens to be a furry, four-legged animal.

Last month, local pet owners learned how to manage urgent care situations involving their pets during the American Red Cross Stuttgart Station’s cat and dog first aid class.

“Our objective is to reach the community with information on how to be prepared for emergencies that involve their pets, and how to protect themselves and the animals from further harm, injury or suffering during emergencies,” said Susan Tipton, Stuttgart ARC health and safety chairman.

The class may also help pet owners reduce vet bills by teaching them how to catch problems early, and improve their pets’ quality of life.

Melissa McCaw, a doctor of veterinary medicine, taught the four-hour class, covering topics such as knowing what’s normal for a specific breed, treating injuries and illnesses, handling medical emergencies, breathing and cardiac emergencies, and building a first aid kit.

McCaw demonstrated first aid techniques using life-size stuffed animals, and engaged the students in role play while offering tips and other information that pet owners may need in an emergency.

The students practiced various techniques, from how to safely approach an injured dog to administering CPR to cleaning and bandaging a wound.

Caring for a wounded pet can be nerve wracking, but a bit of knowledge can go a long way toward healing the injury and preventing unnecessary pain and illness.

“Wounds are like icebergs … and being prepared is better than not having an idea what you’re doing,” McCaw said.

“It’s really great to have a vet teach the program,” said Rayna Samples, who attended the class to learn how to make initial assessments and care for her dog, Sweet Pea. She said the highlight was the realism of the CPR training.

“I really liked using the stuffed dogs and having a variety of sizes of dogs to do CPR on …you could choose the stuffed dog that was most like your own [pet]. She said she also appreciated learning how to restrain an animal with a towel.

The ARC Stuttgart Station intends to offer the pet first aid class every month this year.

The next class is scheduled for Jan. 19 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the ARC center on Panzer Kaserne. Registration is required. Participants will receive an ARC cat or dog first aid book and a DVD home reference guide.

For more information, call DSN: 431-2812, civ. 07031-15-2812.

Emergency preparedness also applies to pets

Make a plan, be informed

When preparing for an emergency, be sure to include arrangements for your pets, including pet-oriented first aid and emergency supply kits.

Know in advance how you will handle your pets if you need to evacuate. Locate pet-friendly hotels or shelters in advance for use in an emergency.

If you must leave your pets behind, make sure they have access to food, water and shelter.

What’s in a pet first aid kit?

A first aid kit contains almost all of the supplies you may need for your pets, including:

  • Assorted bandages, compresses, adhesive tape
  • Hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, antibiotic ointment
  • Tweezers, scissors, penlight, grooming clippers
  • Blanket, towel, disposable gloves, medications

Emergency preparedness kit

  • Pet identification
  • Pet first aid kit
  • Medical records, phone number of your veterinarian
  • Food for a three-day evacuation, one gallon of water
  • Can opener, food and water bowls
  • Bedding, toys
  • Leash, harness, carrier
  • Cat litter/pan
  • Garbage bags
  • Newspapers
  • Paper towels
  • Bleach