How to Survive a Dog Attack
How to Respond After Hitting a Dog or Cat With Your Car
Striking a dog or cat with your car is a traumatic event for the animal and you. There are a number of steps you need to take to handle the animal you’ve hit, stay out of the way of traffic, and protect yourself.
Securing the Scene
Pull off to the side of the road immediately.Slowly drive or coast your car to the shoulder of the road. If you were in a lane near a median when you struck the animal, then you might need to pull onto a soft patch on the median. Make sure you are completely out of any lanes of traffic, but relatively close to the pet you hit.
- Ideally, you won’t have to cross the road to reach the stricken animal.
Place signals around.If you have reflective triangles or flares then place them at 10 feet, 100 feet, and 200 feet intervals towards approaching traffic. If this has occurred at night, then you should also put on your 4-way emergency flashers by activating the button on your dashboard.
Call the authorities.If you are injured dial 9-1-1 immediately. Otherwise, you need to call the police within 24 hours to report the details of the accident regardless if you have found the owners.
- If you don’t have a working cell phone, and no call box is nearby, tend to the animal first. Do not leave the scene unattended.
Take out your emergency supplies.If you have a first aid kit, then this is the time to take it out. Take out anything you can use as a blanket, and as a bandage too. You may also need something you can bind the animal’s mouth with if it’s overly aggressive.
- Some animals will become aggressive when injured.
Move the animal.Use a coat or blanket to cover the animal’s head and eyes, which will help keep them calm and provide some protection if they try to bite. Then, swaddle the dog or cat in a blanket or similar large cloth with both arms. If you have a thick piece of wood or similar object that can be used as a stretcher under the blanket and pet, then this is a good way to lessen the chance for injury. Pick them up with as little jostling as possible and move them either to your car’s back seat or a safer part of the roadside for further care.
- If the animal looks to be severely bleeding and/or have broken bones you will need to apply first aid before moving them.
- If the animal seems aggressive, rip off a long strip of t-shirt or cloth and wrap it around their muzzle in a figure-eight motion. Secure it behind their ears to prevent them from biting.
Aiding the Animal
Look for injuries on the animal.Look particularly for bleeding, fractures (exposed bones or limbs at odd angles), burns, signs of shock (shallow breathing, nervousness, dazed eyes, erratic pulse if you can take it), and problems with breathing. Phone ahead to an emergency veterinarian or have a helper do it while you tend to the pet.
Put securing devices on the pet.Except for the case of a pet that is not breathing you need to keep the animal restrained at the muzzle and body to apply other kinds of first aid. You can use simple, but tough fabrics like a t-shirt or rags to wrap around the dog's snout or cat’s head for a muzzle. Wrap them around enough times to restrict motion, but not cut off breathing. Tie a simple knot to secure the wrapping. Do the same for the legs if they are not broken.
- Try to use clean rags to avoid infection.
Stop the minor bleeding.For external bleeding, apply clean gauze from a first aid kit by pressing a pad of it on the wound and holding it in place for 3 minutes until a clot forms.
- If you see bleeding from internal areas such as the mouth, rectum, or urine then all you can do is keep the dog or cat calm until you get it to a veterinarian.
- For more severe external bleeding you will need to use a tourniquet.
Apply a tourniquet.If the dog or cat has extensive external bleeding on a limb, then you need to apply a tourniquet and bandage. Use gauze from the first aid kit or an elastic material you have on hand to tie a knot between the wound and the body. Press a gauze or clean cloth bandage onto the wound. Remove the tourniquet for 20 seconds every 15-20 minutes and reapply it if necessary.
- A pet losing this much blood will require a veterinarian’s attention immediately.
- Do not leave the tourniquet on for more than 10 minutes. It will start to cut off blood supply to the rest of the limb, leading to tissue damage or even death.
Apply ice or water to burns.If you notice burns from either your car’s or road chemicals on the dog or cat, then you need to apply cold water and/or ice. Flush the wound thoroughly with water and apply an ice compress until you can get the pet to a veterinarian.
Stabilize fractures.If the fracture isn’t too severe you can try to create a makeshift splint from cloth and a solid piece of wood. Align the wood on both sides of the broken dog’s or cat’s fractured limb, wrap both tightly with the cloth or blanket. Tie off the cloth.
- Bad splints can’t make the fracture worse. If you are unsure about the splint you are making then leave it up to the veterinarian. Just make sure you are transporting the pet with as little jostling as possible.
Treat for shock.If you’ve observed the stricken dog or cat acting nervous, breathing shallow, or the eyes darting about then it may be in shock. If the animal is unconscious this is also possible. In any case, you need to keep the dog or cat warm and restrained so it does not hurt itself. Keep the animal’s head level with the body. Get it to the veterinarian immediately.
Administer rescue breathing.If the dog or cat is not breathing you can perform a procedure similar to that used on humans. Open the dog’s or cat’s mouth. Pull out the tongue gently until it is flat. Make sure there are no foreign objects. Close your pet’s mouth again. Breath directly into its nose until the pet’s chest expands. Repeat this every 4-5 seconds.
- If there are any foreign objects in the throat, then you should remove them with pliers or tweezers first.
Do chest compressions.In the event, the stricken dog or cat has no heartbeat you should lay your dog or cat gently on its right side. Hearts of these pets are in the lower left side of the chest area. For a dog, press in on the heart area one-inch deep (adjust harder or softer for the size of the animal). For a cat, hold your hand around the animal's chest so your thumb is on the left side and your fingers are on the right side of the chest. Compress the chest by squeezing between your thumb and fingers. Press 80-120 times/minute for large animals, and 100-150 times/minute for small ones.
- Do not do this simultaneously with rescue breathing.
Look for identifying information.See if the pet you struck has owner’s information on the collar, matches any posters or ads in the area, or has a radio frequency identification chip (RFID). Call the owner and inform them of what has occurred, where you are taking the pet, and ask for any special instructions that might be necessary for the care of the pet.
Take the pet to an emergency veterinarian.Once you’ve administered first aid to the pet you should keep it warm and secured in your back seat if your car is still drivable. Call, locate, and drive to the nearest emergency veterinary clinic or animal hospital so the dog or cat can get more complete care. If your car is immobilized then you should call 9-1-1 and the police may be able to transport the pet for you.
Look for damage on your car.Take photos of the car from all angles if possible. Ask a family member or friend with a camera to come and take photos if you can’t.
- Take photos of damage and area before you leave the scene or your car is moved for any reason other than clearing traffic.
Contact your insurance company.You need to file a claim that includes the photos of the damage to your car, the police report, and any information you collected on the pet (including its owner). You can call your insurance company’s claims representative or file online.
- The company will evaluate your car’s damage values and recommend one or more repair shops to use. This will require comprehensive coverage on most policies.
Take your car in for repairs.Use one of the shops your insurance company covers so you get properly reimbursed.
- This most likely will mean body work if you hit a dog or a cat.
QuestionThis could be someone missing pet, so should you take pictures or post notices in case the owner is looking for it?
Licensed Veterinary TechnicianLicensed Veterinary TechnicianExpert AnswerYes, taking pictures after you've moved the animal is a good idea. Make found notices with the pictures and post them up around the area where you found the animal. You should also take the animal to a local vet to scan for a microchip.Thanks!
QuestionWhat can I do if my dog is recovering from being ran over? He's fine but he's showing low energy and coughing.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHe could be suffering from internal injuries. Consult your vet. If you've already done so, and they had no specific recommendations, just try to make your dog comfortable and let him rest.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do if I crash into a dog and there are no phones or vets available?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTake the dog into your car and drive to the nearest vet. If the dog has a major wound/opening, apply pressure with a cloth/rag until you've reached someone who can help.Thanks!
QuestionWhat do I do if I crash into a dog with rabies?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerCall animal control or the police for help.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if the dog/cat is not breathing?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour first instinct may be to call 911, but instead call the nearest vet and ask for instructions regarding how to move the animal or help him in any way.Thanks!
QuestionIf I hit a dog at night on a busy highway, I could get run over. I am 67 and have a bad back and I'm allergic to dogs. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf this happens, you absolutely shouldn't put yourself or anyone else in danger to help the dog. When you're able to pull over, call the police and/or animal control and let them know what happened and where. They will dispatch someone to handle the situation.Thanks!
- Seek emergency veterinary care for any severely injured animal.
- Have a first aid kit stored in your car at all times.
- Keep your car’s headlights, brakes, and tires in good working order to avoid accidents at night, or under poor road conditions.
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