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Red Cross offers first aid app for your pet dogs and cats

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If your pet was seriously injured or stopped breathing, would you know how to respond? A "Pet First Aid" app available from the American Red Cross would give you the answers at your fingertips.

The Red Cross is calling attention to the app during April because it is Pet First Aid Awareness Month, according to KAAL TV.

The app is applicable to dogs and cats. It includes advice on all sorts of everyday emergencies your dog or cat might encounter, like eating something toxic or bleeding due to an injury. It has videos and step-by-step instructions to follow. It allows you to create profiles for your individual pets and program your vet's contact information.

The app also uses GPS to locate the nearest veterinary hospital or pet-friendly hotel during emergencies.

Red Cross officials say one reason they developed the app is to help people in disasters who are worried about how to care for their pets.

"We have found sometimes in disaster situations that people won't evacuate if they don't have something they can do for their pets, and we've just realized throughout the years that pets are so vitally important to people that they can be a part of human preparation for disasters," Joellen Barak, with the American Red Cross, told KAAL.

The Red Cross collaborated with the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine to develop the app. Deborah Mandell, a veterinary professor at Penn, said the app is useful for pet owners because the information is easily accessible, such as knowing "what's normal so they can know what's abnormal much sooner," the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

Mandell cautioned that the app is not a replacement for more in-depth health information for pets.

The app is available for 99 cents on Apple and Android mobile devices.

There are pet first-aid apps available from other sources as well, including Jive Media and PetMD.

This leads to another question: What should you include in a first aid kit for your pet? Actually, a lot of the same things you'd have on hand for the people in your household -- various sized bandages, cold packs, antiseptic cream, alcohol wipes, etc. Here's a more complete summary from a Pet Talk newspaper column.

Here's a video from the Red Cross with more information on their pet first aid app:

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