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First aid for pets

Red Cross offers course for Pet First Aid Awareness Month

Janet Stark is an instructor for the pet first aid class offered by the Red Cross on Wednesday, April 25.

Janet Stark is an instructor for the pet first aid class offered by the Red Cross on Wednesday, April 25. Submitted Photo

— Pet owners can take an extra step in protecting their furry friends by learning pet CPR. The American Red Cross is holding a pet first aid class on Wednesday, April 25, at its Capital District headquarters on Everett Road.

“The course was created as a natural evolution for pet lovers who were taking our regular CPR and first aid courses, asking what to do if their pet’s breathing passageways were blocked or if they happen to be choking,” said Caroline Boardman, regional communications director for the Red Cross.

The Red Cross has been offering the pet first aid course for about 10 years.

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month and the course will include a presentation on how to prepare for emergencies or what actions to take after an emergency with regard to dogs or cats. There will also be tips to recognize if a pet is sick and a first aid guide and DVD available.

“We are not planning any other events … just offering the course, letting pet grooms and associations know about it and promoting the message to keep awareness out there about general pet safety,” said Boardman.

Janet Stark teaches the pet first aid course. She’s been a CPR instructor since 1984 and thought learning it for pets would be a fun twist.

“It’s a fun course to teach,” said Stark.

Stark said pet first aid and CPR isn’t difficult to do but stresses in each course that pet owners should always call their veterinarian if the problem is serious.

“When in doubt … call and follow the directions of the vet. This is just a quick interim before they go to the vet,” said Stark.

Stark shows students how to bandage pets, stop the bleeding and choking maneuvers for large and small animals.

“How to find and locate where to do compressions, the compression rate to the breathing rate,” said Stark.

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