How to React and What to Do if Your Dog Gets Hit by a Car


If your dog gets loose and is hit by a car, it is critical that you immediately take him to the vet for treatment. Even if he is still able to move around, he may have suffered from internal injuries. Staying calm is the best thing that you can do to ensure your dog survives the accident.


  • Call your vet from the scene so that he can be prepared to take your dog into treatment as soon as you arrive at the clinic.

Safely Catch Your Dog

In some cases, your dog may still be able to run around after being hit by a car. Even if he normally comes to you on command, the fear and pain of the accident may cause your dog to run from you. While attempting to catch your dog, be aware of traffic and stay off of the road to prevent another accident.

If you have your vehicle with you, pull it to the side of the road and turn on your hazard lights. Move slowly and use a low, calm voice to avoid further agitating your dog. If you can get close to your dog, loop a leash around his neck or attach it to his collar. If your dog retreats from you, try to lure him to you with food or treats. If you cannot catch your dog or are endangering traffic, contact your local police or animal control to assist you in catching your dog.

Prepare Your Dog for Transport

Once you have contained your dog, prepare him for the ride to the vet. Make sure that you and your dog are clear of traffic.


  • If your dog is in a lot of pain, he may attempt to bite you as a way to protect himself.

You can apply a muzzle to keep yourself safe while you are giving first aid and getting him into your car. If you don't have a muzzle for your dog, use a piece of cloth such as a bandage or sock and wrap it around his muzzle. You want it to be tight enough so that he cannot bite you, but loose enough so that he can pant and breathe.


  • Do not muzzle a dog if he is vomiting as this may cause him to choke.

If your dog appears to have broken bones, you can immobilize the limbs by using a rolled up newspaper or magazine as a splint and securing it with a bandage. Your dog may have injured his spinal cord during the accident, so keep his back as still as possible as you lift him into the car. Ask for assistance if possible, and consider placing the dog on a board or on a blanket to lift him.

First Aid Before Reaching the Vet

If your dog is bleeding, it is important to stop the bleeding if possible at the site of the accident. Do this by wrapping a cloth or bandage around the wound and applying pressure. If your dog is having trouble breathing, open his mouth and loosen his collar to open the airway as much as possible.

The trauma from the accident may cause your dog to go into shock. Symptoms of shock may include rapid breathing, pale gums, weak pulse and glazed eyes. Your dog may be cold to the touch. If you see signs of shock, cover your dog with a blanket to keep him warm and transport him to your vet immediately. Do not give your dog any water or food by mouth, and do not give any medications unless directed by your vet.

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