Dogs and cats getting hit by cars is more common then anyone wants to imagine – but there is hope! Not all HBC’s end tragically, many pets can be saved if the right actions are taken up to and including getting them to your closest emergency veterinary hospital – and you know where that is because you read the blog post before this one!
Issue: Hit by a Car
MAKE CERTAIN THE ROAD IS CLEAR BEFORE TENDING TO THE ANIMAL!!!!! The worst thing you can do is make one accident turn into two.
Keep your pet as calm as possible and find a board (the cover to your car spare tire, plywood, a top to a Rubbermaid storage container etc.) and place your pet on that by sliding it underneath, moving your pet as little as possible – paying special attention to the neck and back. Do your best to gently secure the pet onto the board so they do not jump off and cause further injury while you are transporting them to your car. If you suspect a head injury tilt the board so that you are carrying the pet with the head slightly elevated.
If there are obvious broken bones do your best to minimize motion and be careful as the pet may try to bite if they are in severe pain. If you are far from an ER vet and the pet is moving – which may cause more discomfort to their broken bone(s) – you may attempt a muzzle, then a splint. Muzzle to prevent biting so that you can then splint the break.
Wrap the broken limb below and above the break – never over it. Use gauze or other soft material that you may have available and a stick, wooden spoon or other rigid object for support. Be prepared to cover your pet with a blanket or shirt as they may experience shock where they will not be able to regulate their body temperature.
Your pet may not appear injured as animals can be very stoic but it is still extremely important that you have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible following any blunt force trauma, especially a fall from a height or being hit by a car.
Please remember that following an injury, do not give your pet any medications without first consulting a veterinarian. Even if your pet has pain medications prescribed to him, they may not be safe now that he’s suffered an injury. The most common class of pain medications used in veterinary medicine – NSAIDs – are generally not recommended immediately following an injury because of potential kidney and stomach damage if your pet is not completely stable with good blood flow.
And of course one of the most important things you can do is take every precaution to avoid having your pet hit by a car. Make sure that collar is sized correctly, that latch catches even on the screen door, your window isn’t far enough open for them to jump out and while cats may not actually have opposable thumbs – their brains and ingenuity make up for it! Avoidance, prevention and preparation are your best options for keeping your best friends safe; be their hero today!