What to do When Your Pet is Hit by a Car

By Joe Musielak, DVM

The most important thing you can do for your pet in this instance is to remain calm and prepare as best you can.  You can help by keeping your pet warm and using a soft blanket to transport your medium to large sized dog into your car. Cats are less likely to injure themselves further if transported in an appropriate sized carrier.

Transporting your pet to your regular veterinarian or the closest emergency hospital is your first step. It is important to be as safe as possible while doing this. Your injured pet may bite you out of fear or from the pain because of their injuries. Move your pet gently and slowly to get them into your vehicle.  Drive SAFELY and be prepared financially.
Upon arrival, the receptionist, assistant or technician will perform a triage and assess if your pet is stable or if it needs to immediately be rushed to the treatment area. You can best assist us by filling out paper work and remaining in the reception area. We will give you an update as soon as possible and keep you informed as to your pet’s condition.
Pets that have an encounter with a vehicle will have some sort of damage. It may be nothing more than mild bruising, but more significant damage can also result. Millions of animal across the nation are killed by vehicular trauma every year.
To assess the damage to your pet, the following protocols are often essential:
1. A physical exam.
2. Blood analysis (complete blood count and chemistry analysis). This helps us to determine the extent of injury to internal organs.
3. X-rays of injured limbs and also the chest and often the abdomen.  (X-rays can help you to identify damage to internal structures.)
4. IV fluids and pain medications to help control shock.
5. Hospitalization and observation overnight. The first 24 hours after vehicular trauma are often the most critical.