The Army Public Health Center's Veterinary Services and Public Health Sanitation Directorate have teamed up with the Public Health Communication Directorate in creating a new mobile app called milPetEd, short for Military Pet Education. The app provides Soldiers, family members and retirees with animal health information, an interactive Veterinary Treatment Facility finder, and even a section where users can submit pictures of their furry, feathered or finned friends.

According to Katie Riley, a health communications specialist with the Public Health Communication Directorate, "The Military Pet Education app was created to provide Service members, beneficiaries and retirees with easy access to animal health information on phones and tablets."

The comprehensive and accessible app leads the user through the various aspects of having a pet, from the basics such as considering what sort of pet would be best for you and your family, to the harder topics such as understanding the grief that accompanies losing a beloved pet. The app includes a variety of articles, all written by U.S. Army veterinary service personnel. While the app currently focuses primarily on cats and dogs, it provides some information about what to do with smaller pets or farm animals in case of an emergency.

"Future additions to the app will include information about horses, birds and other creatures people may have as animal companions," stated Lt. Col. Wendy Mey, a preventive medicine veterinarian in the VHS Directorate. "It is important for people to know that the information on the app was written by Army Veterinary Service personnel with our military beneficiaries in mind."

MilPetED includes extensive animal health information, ranging from general information about the importance of preventive care to species-specific information, such as preventing dog bites. In addition to physical health, the app offers information about helping animals who are experiencing emotional or behavioral difficulties.

The app offers advice that is relevant to the whole family, such as instructing parents and caregivers about the importance of teaching your children about proper animal etiquette, and the proper way of introducing a new infant to the family pet.

"Many may only visit the Veterinary Treatment Facility once or twice a year. We needed to come up with a way to ensure our Service members, beneficiaries, and retirees had easy access to trusted information at their fingertips," said Riley. "The Military Pet Education app was created to be the one place Service members, beneficiaries and retirees need to go to obtain animal health information tips and resources on any of their devices."

The app officially launched Sept. 12, and is available for free download from iTunes and Google Play.