As the number of dogs living in urban and suburban areas increases, sadly, so does the number of motor vehicle accidents involving dogs, ranging from minor injuries like bumps and bruises, moderately severe injuries such as fractured bones, through to extremely severe injuries leading to death.
And even with some less severe injuries, dogs can still die despite receiving all the appropriate emergency treatment needed.How and where motor vehicle accidents usually happen
Most motor vehicle accidents involving dogs occur:
• In a driveway
This is by far the most common place, especially with small dogs.
• Walking off the lead
Dogs walking off the lead sometimes decide to cross the road without their owner. Even the most obedient dog can do this on occasion, so allowing your dog to walk unrestrained near busy roads is always a risk.
• To stray and lost dogs
Some die, while the luckier ones get picked up by a stranger and brought to the closest veterinary clinic.What do I do if my dog is hit by a car?
If your dog is involved in a motor vehicle accident, you should immediately take him or her to:
• Your local vet clinic, or
• A veterinary emergency centre if your usual veterinary clinic is closed.Signs of shock
Traumatic injuries from these accidents vary a lot and your dog’s condition can change quickly and suddenly. Often they are in shock and will need to be stabilised as soon as possible. If your dog is in shock it may:
• Have a rapid pulse (more than 120 - 140 beats per minute)
• Have pale gums
• Pant rapidly and shallowly
• Be poorly responsive to you
• Be unconscious (in severe situations).
Once your vet has stabilised the shock, your dog will be reassessed and may need further diagnosis such as x-rays.Pet insurance
Emergency veterinary treatment for motor vehicle accidents can become very expensive. Pet insurance is a good way to ensure that your dog gets all the treatment it needs without restriction on costs. Of course, the best thing we can do as dog owners is try to prevent motor vehicle accidents from happening in the first place.How to reduce the risk of motor vehicle accidents
Restrict your dog’s access to the driveway and be very watchful when you’re driving into and out of your home.Around roads
While most accidents happen around busy traffic, they can happen on quiet roads too. Walk your dog on a short leash around these areas at all times, even if he or she is usually very obedient and walks close to you. The last thing you would ever want is for your dog to run across the road at that one moment when a car is passing. Sadly, it happens all too often. Remember that your dog may never learn to avoid cars or cross the road without you - even if they were in a recent accident.Restrain your dog in your vehicle
Each year, almost 5,000 dogs are injured or killed in Australia as a result of falling from a moving vehicle. That’s why it’s so important to restrain your dog in your vehicle, particularly in the back of a ute or flat-deck truck. When restraining your dog:
• Always tie their leash to the vehicle not an object
• Never sit your dog on top of cargo - if they fall off they could be injured or choked
• Never use choker chains as they could also strangle the dog during a sudden break
• Never leave your dog near chainsaws and other dangerous tools
• Remember that hot days in the back of the ute can cause heat stress.
Learn more about how to keep your dog safe at Heart your dog.