x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

App of the Week: Pet First Aid guides us past four-legged emergencies

Pet First Aid is a good resource for any animal lover.

Sausage, a red-haired dachshund aptly named by an 11 year old who had reached his zenith of cleverness, was my best friend growing up. He got a dog treat every time I got a doughnut - that sort of thing. He was in his early teens by the time I left him in mum's hands to attend graduate school.

Once completely in her custody, however, Sausage got a wake-up call: the socialised dog-biscuit welfare train was over. Mum operated a meritocracy and anything on four legs was ineligible for merit.

But Sausage would soon prove that bipeds don't have a monopoly on hunger-inspired civil disobedience. Suddenly deprived, he began to kidnap household items from the living room and hold them hostage under the kitchen table, growling threats to devour them unless mum came up with the milk-bone ransom.

This went on for dozens of months - packets of cigarettes, wallets, wireless phone handsets. And because mum then developed a chip on her own shoulder, she would ignore him when he kidnapped something worthless. Thus, he learnt the relative value of things.

Once, while home for the holidays, I witnessed him put his front paws on the coffee table and nose through a stack of newspapers, past last Tuesday's sport section and last Friday's business section, until he found the weekly TV listings - one of mum's most precious possessions. He must have identified it by its slightly different shape and grey-and-white grid bars. He then just trotted off with it towards the kitchen, tail wagging.

Such pet-propelled evil genius is all fun in retrospect, but what if he had swallowed something poisonous? What could the circuit board in a TV remote do to his digestive system?

The app

If Sausage were still alive and terrorising living spaces today, I'd rest (a bit) easier because of Pet First Aid (Dh15; iPhone, Android), the smartphone app to turn to when pet-related disasters strike.

The details

Filled with videos and illustrations, Pet First Aid opens with simple interactive lists of possible ailments and accidents, filed first under broad categories (Bites & Stings, Bloat & Torsion, Fractures & Sprains, etc). Simply tap on the subject that applies and subcategories will appear, along with general descriptions and explanations on proper treatments.

Pet First Aid is packaged in a clear and concise format, designed to be read by owners in varying degrees of panic.

It's a rather large download (53.4MB), but that includes several instructional videos (like how to properly muzzle a panicking pet) that don't require internet access to run. It also allows owners to store vital pet data, such as veterinarian phone numbers and vaccinations, in one easy-to-reach place.

Pet First Aid is a good resource for any animal lover. After all, even evil-genius pets are worth saving.

Have some great personal finance apps that you want to share? Write to Curt Brandao at cbrandao@thenational.ae