It is every dog owner’s worst nightmare. You hear the screech of brakes followed by a thud, and rush out to see your dog lying injured by the side of the road. Your distress can make it hard to think straight!

Although it’s easier said than done, don’t panic. If your dog sees that you are upset, it will make them even more anxious.

The first thing to do is to ask a passer-by to phone your veterinarian to let them know you are on the way. If your dog is seriously hurt, and your vet is not very close, contact the nearest vet clinic. They can stabilise your dog, and make arrangements for them to be transferred to your regular veterinarian.

It’s important that you put a muzzle on your dog. Even if your dog has never even looked like biting anyone, they are in pain and that can make any dog snap. Tie a piece of string around their nose and tie it behind their ears to stop it falling off.

There’s no need to administer too much first aid at the scene of an accident. If there is any profuse bleeding, put a soft cloth over the wound and apply pressure. Don’t worry about splinting legs because it’s not always effective, and may actually be very painful.

When you are moving your dog to the vet clinic, try to keep them as still as possible. Gently move them onto a flat piece of cardboard or a blanket, and do your best to stop them moving their head and spine. Carefully lift the blanket or cardboard into your car for the trip to the vet clinic.

If your veterinarian has been given advanced notice of your arrival, they should be able to examine your dog immediately and start the appropriate treatment.

In Summary – This is one situation where prevention is better than cure. However, if your dog is hit by a car, the most important thing you can do is to get them to your veterinarian as quickly as possible.