First-Aid Class With a Twist: It's for Pets

When the family pet is feeling down, animal lovers too often turn to their medicine cabinet in search of relief for their canine or feline pal.

That violates pet first aid Rule No. 1: What makes you feel better can kill your pet.

"People just assume they can use over-the-counter medicines on their pets, like giving a cat Tylenol. You'll kill it more often than not," warned Laguna Niguel veterinarian Clayton Simon.

Pet first aid can be tricky. That's why the Orange County American Red Cross is offering its first-ever pet first aid class this weekend.

Instructor Cathy Andrews aims to teach pet owners techniques about handling pet problems, including reviving an animal that has stopped breathing.

"It's a very basic class, even kids can understand it," she said.

The three-hour course begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at 600 N. Park Center Drive in Santa Ana. The $30 registration fee includes a copy of "Pet First Aid," a 109-page Red Cross primer on animal emergency care. For those who can't make the class, the book costs $10.

Andrews said another class is tentatively scheduled for June.

The course takes on common myths, like dogs eat grass because they are sick.

"Why do they eat grass? Because they can and they like it," Cruz explains. "I don't think there's anything wrong with it. You just need to make sure the grass they are eating wasn't recently treated with pesticides."

Information: (714) 835-5381, Ext. 100.

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