What To Do If You Hit A Dog With A Car

dynamic, car accident - By Staff Writer on Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 14:26

With the amount of dogs and cars in this world it is inevitable that they will collide every now and then and while it is a heart-wrenching situation to be in, accidents do happen.  If you happen to be driving and a dog runs in front of your vehicle you need to know what to do to save its life.  The steps are very similar to what you do if your dog gets hit by a car but you need to remember that you do not know this dog so you need to give it the best care possible while remaining vigilant of your safety.

Stay calm
Accidents are scary regardless of what your vehicle hits so you need to try to remain very calm.  In addition, you will be dealing with an injured animal that you do not know and they will pick up any fear or anxiety so you must remain calm to deal with the situation.

Assess the situation

  • Approach the dog very carefully.  Injured dogs can turn vicious so move slowly and confidently as you approach.  If the dog is up and walking around you need to get it immediately to a vet.  Even if the dog appears ok externally it could have life threatening internal injuries that will not show symptoms until it is too late.
  • If the dog is limping chances are it has a broken bone and you will need to be extra vigilant not to touch or move them.
  • If the animal appears aggressive do not approach it.  You should call 311 to help you get it out of the street and to a vet.

Check The Dog’s Tags
If the dog has a collar and tags check the tags.  Look for a rabies tag to make sure it is vaccinated.  Look for a phone number to call the owner.  We recommend waiting until you reach a vet to call the owner.  You will want to focus on the problem on hand before contacting the owner.


If the dog is not breathing and has no pulse use CPR to revive it.  Please note that while we are dog lovers we do not recommend doing this without a CPR guard if the dog looks like a stray or has no tags.  Rabies is transmitted through saliva and you do not want to contract it.

Stop Bleeding
Any bleeding should be staunched with whatever is available until you can get your dog to the vet.  If it is just a scrape you can wrap the area with moderate pressure to stop the bleeding but if it is gushing blood you need to apply pressure with your hand to the location.  If you are unable to stop bleeding with your hand use a cloth and wrap it tightly above the cut, like a tourniquet, until the bleeding stops to prevent major blood loss.   If the bleeding is on a limb you will need to allow blood flow to the rest of the limb every few minutes.  Monitor the spot and untie it every 10-15 minutes to allow blood flow to the area for a moment and retie.  Have someone monitor the bleeding and tourniquet while you transport your dog to the vet.

Moving the dog
Use caution when lifting the dog to avoid further internal damage or aggravate any broken bones. Carefully slide a board under the dog.  Chances are if it is injured it will be laying on its side so move it as little as possible and keep it in that position.  Use the flat surface to move the dog from the scene paying attention not to jostle it too much.

Preventing Shock
Much like people the dog may go into shock from the event.  Use a blanket or anything you have to cover the dog and keep it warm on the way to the vet.  Speak to it in a reassuring voice and remain calm the entire time, the dog is likely to be confused and this interaction will help keep it calm.

Call Ahead

Call the closest vet you can find.  Call information and find a veterinary emergency center and have them patch you through to alert them of your arrival.  

At the vets
If you are unable to move the dog again, alert the vet that you are there and ask them for help.  Once the dog is in the hands of the vets, contact the owners and notify them of the location of their dog.  If you are unable to stay and wait for them leave them all your information in case they have questions, it likely was not your fault but you should always do the right thing.  


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