If your pet is in a traffic accident the best thing to do is keep calm and don’t panic:
- Get someone to phone the nearest vet.
- Approach the pet from the front so they can see you.
- Avoid any sudden movements.
- Speak gently, using the pet’s name if you know it.
Next, assess the situation:
- What’s the danger to you and others? Always make sure it’s safe to intervene.
- Direct the traffic around the accident if you can.
Then you can move the pet away from traffic and get them to a vet:
- Don’t move the pet if you think they might have damaged their spine – unless your vet tells you to.
- If the pet can walk, gently coax them to a car and help them get in.
- If they can’t walk then lift them with one hand under their hind legs and the other around their chest. If they’re too big to carry, use a blanket, coat, rug or firm board as a make-shift stretcher.
- As you move them, make sure their breathing isn’t obstructed.
CPR for dogs
If a dog stops breathing, remember your ABCs:
A for Airway:
- Pull the tongue forward.
- Check there’s nothing in the dog’s throat.
B for Breathing:
- Look and listen.
- If the dog isn’t breathing, extend the dog’s neck, close their mouth and blow down the dog’s nose. Use your hand a ‘funnel’ so that you don’t put your mouth directly over the dog’s nose.
C for Circulation:
- Check for a heartbeat or pulse.
- If you are sure there is no heartbeat, compress the chest twice per second vigorously enough to achieve obvious chest compression.
Read more about giving CPR to pets.
Heatstroke in pets
Pets can quickly overheat in hot weather. Avoid heatstroke by:
- Never leaving your pet in a hot car.
- Making sure they always have access to shelter and shade.
- Not walking dogs in the hottest part of the day – wait until it’s cooled down.
If you think your pet has heatstroke, treat it as an emergency. You’ll need to gradually lower their body temperature so they can recover.
- Move your pet into a shady, cool area.
- Pour small amounts of room-temperature water over their body. Don’t use cold water as this could put your pet into shock.
- If you can, wrap your pet in wet towels and put them in front of a fan.
- Let them drink small amounts of cool water.
- Keep pouring water over them until their breathing starts to settle. Don’t cool them down so much they start to shiver.
- Once they’ve cooled them down, take them to the vet as an emergency. They’ll need to be checked over.