American Red Cross Pet First Aid App and How to Perform CPR on Your Dog and Cat with Veterinarian Dr. Debbie Mandell and Laura Howe


If you’re a pet owner who owns a smart phone, there is one must have app you need to ensure your dog and cat are healthy and safe, and that’s the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App. I was honored to have the chance to speak with American Red Cross spokesperson, Laura Howe and renowned veterinarian Dr. Deborah (Debbie) Mandell, VMD, who has served since 2007 as an American Red Cross’ National Pet Care Advisor. They joined me to dish on the common ailments Dr. Mandell sees in the pets she treats, and how to keep pets healthy and safe. Laura discussed what makes the Pet First Aid App so beneficial and why every pet owner needs it; and Dr. Mandell demonstrated how to perform CPR on your beloved pet in case of emergency, and the necessities you need in your pet first aid kit.


Dr. Deborah Mandell and American Red Cross spokesperson Laura How dish on the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App. Image courtesy of the American Red Cross.

Dr. Deborah Mandell and American Red Cross spokesperson Laura How dish on the American Red Cross Pet First Aid App. Image courtesy of the American Red Cross




Candace Rose: Dr. Mandell, what are some common ailments you see in pets you treat, and what can pet owners do to help keep their pets healthy and safe?

Dr. Debbie Mandell: “We commonly see breathing problems, shock, wounds- such as bite wounds and lacerations. Dogs and cats try to hide their signs and only show subtle signs until the disease is fairly advanced. If pet owners can recognize those signs, it can make a huge difference in treatment success.”


Candace Rose: Laura, how can the pet first aid app help?

Laura Howe: “Well, the Pet First Aid app is great, it’s going to give you 25 different health and emergency scenarios you might face with your pets. You’re going to get all sorts of really great information from the app. You’re going to learn about things like allergic reactions, and bleeding. You’re also going to learn about CPR which is really one of the best parts of the app. I’m really excited that Dr. Mandell is here with us because she’s actually going to demonstrate how you do CPR on your dog. *Please see video above to watch Dr. Mandell demonstrate how to do CPR on your dog.”

Dr. Debbie Mandell: Veterinary CPR guidelines have just been standardized and they follow human CPR guidelines in that you do 30 compressions and two rescue breaths.

You place one hand over the other, you lock your elbows, put your shoulders over your hands; you perform 30 compressions to a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute. You want to compress the chest one half to one third the width of the chest. You perform 30 compressions and two rescue breaths. Now where you place your hands can be different depending on the breed of the dog and chest conformation, and that is all spelled out step by step.

If you have a small dog or cat, you can actually do one handed chest compressions or two handed chest compressions, and again, that’s all spelled out in the app.”

Laura Howe: “If you don’t have a vet like Dr. Mandell immediately handy, you can also look in the app because there are great CPR video tutorials. So all the things that Dr. Mandell showed you, you can see the video tutorials in the app for cats and dogs of different sizes. There are also some fantastic features of the app- there’s a whole list of toxic substances, so you know what those are and what might be dangerous for your animal. There’s also a pet friendly hotel locator, emergency vet locator, and a section where you can upload a photo of your pet along with all of their medical information and your vet’s phone number so you can just direct dial your vet right from the app in case you have an emergency, so you don’t have to be looking around for that vet phone number.”


Candace Rose: What should we include in a first aid kit for our pets?

Dr. Debbie Mandell: “You want to include items such as gauze, sponges, cotton roll, tape- things in case you have a blood emergency. You want to have a thermometer, nail clippers, muzzle – to keep yourself safe; and all of this is listed in the app.”

Candace Rose: Laura, does the Red Cross offer pet first aid courses?

Laura Howe: “Well, the Red Cross offers pet first aid courses in many communities. You can go to and you can find out where in our area we might be offering pet first aid classes. And the great thing about first aid courses is you can take wonderful information you see from the app, learn it in the class, and actually practice some of those skills in person, so that’s important. You want to go to to learn more about the classes. And if you want to know more about the app and how to download it: is where you want to go.”



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