Save Your Pet in a Pet Hit By Car Accident- Travel Animal Doctor

Save Your Pet in a Pet Hit By Car Accident- Travel Animal Doctor

Travel Animal Doctor

Learn how you can quickly act in the case of a pet hit by car accident. -Travel Animal Doctor

There were over six million acknowledged pet hit by car accidents in the United States last year. -Travel Animal Doctor

It is important to be prepared in case a pet hit by car emergency is to occur.

See “My Pet was in a Hit By Car Accident!” for the beginning of this three part series. The second article, “Prevent Your Pet from Being Hit By a Car” provided solutions to avoid these emergencies.

This is the third and final article I am writing to help the pet owner save their pet in a hit by car emergency.

This content may be slightly difficult for a pet owner to read because graphic terms must be used.


Travel Animal Doctor
Thomas Hawk / Foter / CC BY-NC

There can be extreme trauma induced in a pet hit by car incident. Mental and physical injuries that often come with this intense trauma include concussions, fractures and shock. Multiple body organs that normally work in unison in a healthy body become dismantled, with the most common injuries being: diaphragmatic hernias, organ rupture and lung contusions. Internal bleeding can ensue and fluid build up in the lungs can make it impossible for your pet to breathe.

If a car hit your pet you need to call a veterinarian as soon as possible. If you are for some reason unable to get to a veterinarian, here are some tips you can use to save your pet. It is important to get him to that veterinary hospital as soon as you can after a pet hit by car accident.

1) Keep your animal on a flat surface

Keep your pet’s back immobile following a pet hit bar accident. It is extremely important to use a board, a blanket or towel with a person on each side to keep the animal as still and immobile as possible. If the animal’s back was traumatized during the accident then you do not want to make the trauma worse.

2) Use caution when approaching and handling an injured animal.

Use a muzzle on an injured animal. An animal that has been in a pet hit by car collision will NOT be in the right state of mind. The last thing you want is to be bitten badly by your pet when you are trying to help. Be safe when handling your injured pet. When your injured pet is moved to a safe location, promptly start managing his clinical signs.

3) What to do if your pet is unconscious:

Make sure your pet has a patent airway and check the pulse and respiration rate of your pet. To check for a pulse, use your index and middle finger beneath the wrist, the inner thigh, below the ankle or at the level of the heart. A patent airway simply means that the airway is open and unblocked. To ensure your pet has a patent airway, clear the mouth of blood or mucus with your finger and tilt the head back to straighten the airway. Notice if the chest is rising and falling for respiration. If your pet is coughing up blood then immediately get her to a veterinarian’s. If your pet is not breathing and you do not detect a pulse, perform CPR. See the steps below for proper directions to artificial respiration and cardiopulmonary resuscitation for your pet.

4) What if my pet is not breathing?

The following is how to perform artificial respiration: Clear the mouth of blood or debris with your finger. Then tip the head back to straighten the airway. Hold the mouth shut and breathe into the nose to expand the chest. If the pet is a puppy be gentler with your blow. If the chest does not expand then look in the mouth again and clear the airway with your finger, straighten the head, close the mouth and repeat. After the chest expands release the seal so your pet can exhale. Give a breath every two to three seconds to reach twenty to thirty breaths per minute until there is normal breathing or until you get to a veterinarian’s office.

5) I gave the dog a breath, and now I cannot detect a heartbeat.

  • Perform another artificial respiration.
  • Make sure your pet is laying on its right side.
  • Place your hand/hands over the rib cage where its elbow touches the chest (at the level of the heart).

The latest chest compression instructions I could find from American Red Cross, are the following:

For all sized animals compress the chest 1/3 to 1/2 the width of the chest and make sure chest is up fully before repeating next compression.

Small Dogs

  • For small dogs (Yorkshire terrier, chihuahua, maltese, etc) and large round chested dog (Dobermans, greyhounds, etc) place one hand over the other with heel of hand directly over the heart.
  • For small dogs you can also do the one handed technique in which your hand is around the sternum at level of the heart and the thumb is on the up side with the fingers underneath.

Round Chested Dogs

  • With round chested dog (Rottweiler, retriever or german shepherd, etc) place one hand over the other with the heel of the hand placed on the highest and widest part of the chest.
  • Lock your elbows with shoulders above your hands.

Barrel Flat Chested Dogs

  • Finally with barrel flat chested dogs (Pugs, French bulldogs, Boston terriers, etc) place the dog on its back and place one hand over another with the heel of the hand placed on the highest part of the sternum.

Chest Compressions

  • Perform 100-120 chest compressions a minute.
  • Perform in cycles of 30 compressions then 2 rescue breaths (see how to perform artificial respiration above). Every 2 minutes check for heartbeat and breathing.
  • If there are two rescuers switch out every 2 minutes to avoid missing compressions. Get that pet to a veterinary hospital.

In absence of CPR the dog will not revive past 10 minutes.

6) How do I know if my pet is in shock?

You know that slippery membrane on the inside of your cheek and lips that line your body cavities?

These, as well as other body passages that communicate with air, are your mucous membranes.

  • Normally it should be pink.
  • If you press on this area in a normal animal it should get lighter and then go pink again when blood flow returns to the area.
  • If shock is present, the mucous membranes will remain pale and they may be dry when they are normally wet.

Other Signs

  • The tongue may also be dry and shriveling.
  • If your animal feels cold to you, is panting heavily, or has a weak pulse he is in shock.

Managing Shock

  • Manage shock by making sure the airway is unobstructed, control any bleeding with direct pressure, obtain a thermometer and place it in the animal’s rectum.
  • If the temperature is below 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit use hot soda or water bottles, blankets, towels or even a blow dryer to raise the body temperature to 100-102 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you are immediately able to take your pet to a veterinarian, place a warm blanket over your animal for transport.

Remember to talk calmly and try not to raise your voice or have loud music playing around your pet on the way to the veterinarian’s.

Jamie McCaffrey / Foter / CC BY

7) Bandage deep wounds.

If your pet is heavily bleeding after a pet hit by car incident, apply direct pressure to the area and compress the wound to stop the bleeding by applying a bandage tightly. Do not attempt to remove a foreign body that is protruding from a wound; instead stabilize it to limit the movement.

8) Get that pet to a vet AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

The quicker you can get to professional care, the better. This will increase the chances of survival for your pet.

  • A veterinary staff has emergency experience to treat your animal quickly and with efficiency. They also have the necessary equipment to stabilize your animal if he is presented soon enough.
  • Even if your pet appears to be okay, immense trauma could have occurred inside the body that you are unable to see from the outside.

If your pet is considered a dependent in your family, do not play roulette with your pet’s life.

It is important to remember that American Red Cross changes their protocol for CPR and artificial respiration on a regular basis.

Arrival of the latest scientific research can give rise to new and improved protocols.

  • While I have written a recent version of artificial respiration and American Red Cross instructions, there are always improvements.
  • For the most up to date versions visit their website.
  • If interested, American Red Cross also offers 2.5- 3 hr Pet First Aid courses.  Dog and cat kits can be found on their website with informative DVDs for as little as $17.00.

This is the last of the three articles on pet hit by car accidents.

Just remember that it is always good to be prepared when it comes to emergencies with your furry little friends.

If you have not yet read the first two, click here to read, “My Pet was in a Hit By Car Accident!” and here to read, “Prevent Your Pet from Hit By Car Trauma”. – Travel Animal Doctor

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