SOS: What to do if your car hits a pooch
August 2, 2018
You’re driving home after a long day at the office and suddenly you and a furry-friend cross paths and you slam on the breaks. In the blink of an eye you find yourself shivering with shock. The dog is lying on the side of the road in distress as you realise that you hit the poor pooch. What now?
Before you panic, act. The injured dog needs attention, and her humans need to know, too; your next steps make all the difference in this dreaded situation. Follow these guidelines from dotsure.co.za and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA):
- Try to stay calm
- We’re talking actual calm. Take a few deep breaths and have a sip of water (you keep fresh water in the car, right?).
- Once you’re more relaxed, you’ll think more clearly and be less likely to make mistakes that could end a helpless dog’s life.
- Call the DOG-ter
- Before calling, check if the injured animal is still breathing. The chest should expand between 12 and 24 times per minute (count the number of breaths in 10 seconds and multiply it by 6 to get a per-minute estimate).
- Don’t assume the dog is dead if you can’t see obvious signs of life – that’s a job for a medical professional and that’s where you have to go. Now.
- You’ve got a local vet’s 24-hour emergency number on speed dial, right?
- Give the vet a call ASAP. Warn them that you’re on your way with the injured animal. This way, they will be able to assist you immediately on arrival.
- Tell the vet what’s wrong with the pet, for example a broken leg or a bleeding nose etc. If you can tell that the dog is still breathing, and its breathing rate (see above), tell the vet.
Call the owner
- If it’s not your fur-ball that’s injured, check the dog’s name tag for a number.
- Call the owner to inform them of the accident and ask them to meet you at the vet.
- No number? Ask the residents of the nearest house, if there is one within yelling distance. Leave the vet’s number with someone if you can.
- Don’t wait around for the hound’s mom or dad to arrive at the scene of the accident. Death doesn’t come at convenient times, so hurry!
- TLC the pet
- The wounded one might be in pain and shock. Watch out for aggressive behaviour.
- Make sure you handle the dog gently.
- Wrap a blanket or car seat cover around the pooch, and keep her mouth and nose exposed.
- If a wound is bleeding, apply pressure to it and try to bandage it with a sock or piece of clothing. Nothing in the car? Use something you’re wearing.
- Try to keep the dog as still as possible. Severe movement could cause more damage to limbs or internal organs.
- Don’t give the doggo any medication, food or liquids (not even water). Giving it to them here could complicate life-saving treatment at the vet.
- If the dog is having trouble breathing, remove her collar, open her mouth and check her airway for any obstructions. Just be careful of bites.
- Get to a vet
- Don’t drive irresponsibly on your way to the vet. You could add to the injury if her body is moved by the motion of the car.
- Put your hazard lights on to indicate an emergency; considerate drivers will give way to you.
- Once you’ve arrived safely at the vet, keep reassuring the dog in low tones, even if you don’t know the gal.
- Stay with her for as long as possible. She and her human will appreciate it.
- Make a claim – you’ve got this!
- Vet bills can be costly. If it’s your own dog you hit by accident, and she’s already covered by dotsure.co.za, you can claim on her medical expenses for the incident.
- If you’re not the owner of the injured pet, we hope you can find the legal guardian. They might have pet insurance.
- Insurance terms can be confusing, so just to be clear, our liability cover is for incidents caused by your insured
Click here to find out how to claim:
Guard the hearts of man’s best friend!
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