Getting hit by a car is a common accident for dogs.
But that fact doesn’t give them the superpower to endure such misfortune.
So, your dog who’s been hit might seem fine…
But are they really?
You’re about to discover:
- 9 vital tips when your dog’s been hit by a car but seems fine.
- 5 reminders to note while you and your dog are on the way to the vet.
- 7 precautions to remember to prevent such accidents from happening again.
- And much, much, more…
Table of contents
- My dog was hit by a car but seems fine – 9 tips
- #1: Take them to the vet immediately
- #2: Carefully examine your dog
- #3: They might be in pain…but they’re hiding it
- #4: Keep calm around them
- #5: Watch out for sudden aggression
- #6: Monitor their appetite
- #7: Look out for signs of internal bleeding
- #8: Settle them on an ideal surface
- #9: Cancel physical activities for a while
- #BONUS: Make sure it never happens again
My dog was hit by a car but seems fine – 9 tips
#1: Take them to the vet immediately
I put this first as this should’ve been the very first response to the accident.
Yes, your dog might seem fine on the outside…
However, only a medical professional can check what’s going on inside your dog’s body.
While you’re the nearest person to your pooch right now, you might want to double-check.
Observe if your dog shows the following:
After double-checking your dog, it seems like they didn’t sustain any major injury.
But don’t be complacent…
Your canine might be experiencing more damage than you realize.
An example is organ damage.
Another example is the perforation (or stabbing) of a broken rib on their lungs.
Warning: According to vets, a punctured lung is a serious medical issue.
The first signs of this condition are pain and difficulty breathing.
So, such damages don’t always show at first…
But when it does, it might already be severe. With that, it might be too late.
So, take your dog to the vet immediately.
If you can’t bring your dog yourself, you could call the police or animal control.
Reminders while you bring your dog to the vet
Reminder #1: Don’t rush too much.
Don’t try to drive faster than you usually do or the speed limit. You have to ensure safety even further for you and your pooch.
Moreover, moving too fast could shake your dog inside the car. Too much motion might hurt them.
Reminder #2: Lie your dog comfortably in the back of the car.
If they have a crate, it’s best to transport your dog while they’re in one. That ensures that their movements would be limited.
Reminder #3: Take mental notes of your recent observations in your dog. So that when you arrive in the hospital, you’d be straightforward with the vet.
Reminder #4: Call the vet to inform them that you have an emergency. Doing this will prevent the hospital from being unprepared for your arrival.
Calling them would also help them assess the situation and know what to expect.
Reminder #5: For every medical emergency, time is of the essence.
Your dog might appear to be fine, but you’re never sure.
The more time that you let pass, the more you could be putting your pup in danger.
#2: Carefully examine your dog
It doesn’t matter if the accident happened a few days ago or a few hours ago.
You have to examine your dog’s body.
Yes, they may have come out of the accident looking unscathed…
But the jury’s still out. Only a veterinarian could clear your dog.
So, perform this tip as you’re on the way to the hospital (Given that someone’s with you and driving you there).
Or, if you need time to get ready, have someone else do it for you.
The thing that needs to be done is to get a closer picture.
Your pup might not limp or have no bruises or wounds…
But you have to check what’s inside.
Give your dog a very (emphasizing on the very) careful examination.
Gently massage their body and feel for any bumps.
Lay your palms on your dog’s ribs and feel for any anomaly.
Warning: Don’t press too hard. If there is indeed damage on the inside, pushing hard can make it worse.
I said before that only a vet could clear your dog…
So, what’s the point of doing this?
The goal is to save as much time as possible.
If you felt something on your pup, you could tell the vet immediately. Then, they would note and care for the area right away.
#3: They might be in pain…but they’re hiding it
Dogs instinctively try to hide their pain.
It’s from their ancestors in the wild. They need to look tough so that they won’t be an easy target for other predators.
It’s a rule for survival.
Even though your pooch has been domesticated, they still practice this.
That’s why your dog might sleep in another room for protection.
Some dogs prefer to be alone when they’re in pain or injured.
Moreover, your dog loves you and wants to please you.
If they appear sick, they might feel like they’re disappointing you.
It’s a common scenario that dog parents share. Their fur baby still gets up, despite being hurt, to answer to their commands.
Oh, how dogs love us despite the pain…
Lucky for us, our canine companions aren’t really good at hiding it.
Or humans had just done numerous research that helped us identify pain in dogs.
Regardless, your pooch might only be putting on a strong face.
But, internally, they might not be fine at all.
According to PetMD, here are the signs of pain in dogs:
- Panting without any physical exertion.
- Unusual posture, which is an arched back and a lowered head.
However, I understand the point that your dog seems fine. So those signs might not be shown by your fur baby at all…
With that, let’s look at a more subtle area.
Dogs in pain tend to have behavioral changes. Those are:
- Excessive licking.
- Reluctance to be touched.
- Sudden aggression towards another dog or person.
#4: Keep calm around them
As I explained in the previous reason, your dog might be in pain. They’re just trying to hide it…
With that, you might need to keep calm around them.
I understand you’re worried about your pooch.
However, it would be best for both of you to approach this situation smoothly.
I say this because your dog can actually mirror your stress.
This research suggests so. It says that the stress levels of the dog and human can even synchronize.
So, being stressed could be projected on your dog, who might secretly be in pain. Such could make things more hurtful for both of you.
#5: Watch out for sudden aggression
Pain brings discomfort, whether mild or intense.
With that, it also brings irritation.
I also mentioned a while ago that dogs in pain tend to become suddenly aggressive. It’s one of the notable behavioral changes of a dog in agony.
That’s why the AVMA warns dog parents to handle an injured dog with caution.
That’s because pain makes your canine unpredictable. Even if they’re usually gentle, you must assume aggression.
Here’s a do’s and don’ts on handling your recently hit canine:
Do’s on taking care of your dog in pain
Assess them carefully
Perform your assessment (from tip #2) on your dog carefully. Once your pooch seems uncomfortable, it’s a sign for you to stop.
Put a muzzle on them
It may seem cruel, but it’ll be for the best.
That’s because your dog might be compelled to bite if you try to move or examine them.
Note #1: This should ONLY be done if your dog isn’t vomiting and having trouble breathing.
Note #2: You could use this reminder while taking your dog to the vet.
Wrap them in a blanket
This might help calm them down and restrain them without hurting them.
Don’ts on taking care of your dog in pain
Don’t try to hug your dog
Yes, you might be trying to comfort them, but it’s not effective.
Moreover, you’re still not sure of their inside situation. You might squeeze them and make internal injuries even worse.
Don’t put your face near them
This is to prevent them from biting your face.
Your dog might not appreciate you being too close.
#6: Monitor their appetite
One way to tell if your dog’s really fine is to monitor their appetite.
If they’re okay, they will eat on their regular schedule and amount.
If your dog’s not fine, they might eat less or not at all. Such is a reason to be concerned.
According to experts, pain or discomfort reduces your dog’s appetite.
In this scenario, that inappetence could be caused by the following:
- Head injury.
- Organ issues.
- Broken bones.
- Abdominal pain.
- Pneumothorax, which is a collapsed lung.
- Internal bleeding, which I’ll discuss in the next section.
Note: If your dog doesn’t want food, don’t give them any.
That’s because if they’re indeed in pain, they might need something done to them by the doctor.
I’m talking about them needing to undergo surgery.
And if it’s urgent, your dog needs to fast for at least 12 hours before the operation.
So, let your dog in pain not eat for a while. Just makes sure that you tell the vet when you bring your canine to the hospital
#7: Look out for signs of internal bleeding
Sure, an open wound or evident bruises aren’t in sight…
But like I said, how about your dog’s insides?
Being hit by a car could cause your dog to have internal bleeding.
Such a condition is a dangerous one for your canine.
When overlooked, it could be deadly. The prognosis for this condition is 1 to 2 months.
If your dog has internal bleeding and it’s not taken care of, they might die before or after the given prognosis.
The early signs of internal bleeding are a fast heartbeat and shallow breathing.
Then, it becomes severe over time.
Other signs might appear about 2 weeks after the accident. Those are:
- Pale gums.
- Severe bruising.
- Abdominal swelling.
- Blood in urine and poop.
- Coughing or vomiting blood.
Warning: If left untreated, your dog could go into a coma. It’s also a symptom of your dog being in the late stage of shock.
Your dog might go into shock
Shock is a crucial medical emergency.
In this condition, your dog has extremely low blood pressure.
It’s because the blood in his body isn’t properly circulating anymore…
The internal bleeding caused obstructions on your dog’s blood vessels.
That causes your canine’s blood and body fluids to decrease drastically.
There are many types of shocks, but this one is called ‘hypovolemic shock.’
According to PetMD, it affects the following systems of your dog’s body:
Symptoms of hypovolemic shock in dogs:
- Cold feet.
- Weak pulse.
- Respiratory failure.
- Resistance for activities.
- Severe lethargy and weakness.
Warning: As mentioned before, shock is a medical emergency. Your dog will need immediate medical attention.
If prolonged, shock might severely damage your dog’s cardiac system.
“Can my dog’s shock be treated?”
Fortunately, it can be treated using fluid therapy.
Vets will have to monitor your dog’s heart and respiratory system closely.
Once your pooch survives, there are still long-term effects to face. Those are:
- Low levels of protein.
- Abnormal cardiac rhythms.
- Electrolyte level disturbances.
- Risk of cardiac arrest or heart attack.
#8: Settle them on an ideal surface
If you’re observing your dog, make sure that they rest on a hard and leveled surface.
Your fur baby can rest on their dog bed, too.
However, the floor is an ideal place for them to lie down.
That’s because the surface is even and would encourage your dog to lie flatly.
By doing so, they can relax properly. Whatever’s going on inside their body would be less disrupted.
Cushions and dog beds would encourage your dog to curl. If they do, the pressure might apply to a body part.
Lastly, the floor can help them lie still.
#9: Cancel physical activities for a while
Now that your dog’s lying on the floor, keep it that way as you assess the situation.
To not make your dog exert any effort, cancel physical activities for a while.
You should also place their food and water bowls near them.
They might appear fine, but you should still follow this tip.
Activities might cause conditions that you can’t see to turn even worse.
If your dog has a broken joint or bone, playing can complicate them.
Then, if your pooch has internal bleeding, activities wouldn’t help slow its prognosis.
So, it’s best to let your dog take some rest.
Cancel walks, playdates, and even cuddles for a while…
Not until you have a professional clear your dog for such.
Remember: You should still bring them to the vet immediately. These are only measures to take if there are delays in bringing your dog to the hospital.
#BONUS: Make sure it never happens again
Your brave pooch appears to be fine after being hit by a car…
So, you had your dog examined. Regardless if the vets found something minor or intense, your pooch has survived it…
With that, there’s one thing that you might agree on:
It wasn’t a pleasant experience for you and your fur baby.
So, everything’s not done yet. There’s still one thing left to do…
And that’s making sure that your dog would never experience this again.
Did you know? A staggering 1.2 million dogs are hit by a car in the United States each year.
That data is from the book ‘American Roadkill: The Animal Victims of Our Busy Highways.’
Moreover, it’s an alarming number for a fearful occurrence.
But, there’s more:
Research says that 95% of animal-vehicle collisions involve domesticated animals. Dogs make up 80% of the first statistic.
Those numbers are confirmed in Southern Spain in 2018.
Furthermore, most dogs who get hit by a car don’t survive at all…
That’s why you’d really need to make sure such doesn’t happen to your pooch anymore.
But, dogs would escape and wander if they saw the chance.
So, follow this list of precautions to make sure this doesn’t happen again:
Precaution #1: Don’t leave them unsupervised when they’re outside.
Precaution #2: Train your dog to “sit” or “wait” as you both exit the house.
You could also train them not to run immediately once a door gets opened.
These commands are also helpful when you and your dog are on a street curb.
Precaution #3: Open the car window, but not wide enough for your dog to jump.
Precaution #4: If you’re using an extendable leash, be extra cautious. You have to be mindful of the street around you.
Precaution #5: Make sure your dog’s out of the way when you’re backing your car up.
This is called a ‘driveway accident,’ and it’s surprisingly common.
Precaution #6: If your canine’s still intact, you might want to consider castration.
Spaying or neutering can help lessen your dog’s desire to roam.
Precaution #7: Don’t make your dog get deliveries from the door like newspapers anymore.
That’s because such could excite them.
There are occurrences where they’d chase the newspaper guy on a bike.
Dogs love to chase moving objects like bikes and cars.
It’s their predator drive that makes them hyper-focused on such things.
That urge adds to the reason why dogs are prone to vehicular accidents.
That’s why preventing such might be a challenging task to do…
But it’s not totally impossible, especially when you take proper precautions.