What You Should Do if Your Dog is Hit by a Car

It’s an accident no pet owner wants to consider: vehicle trauma. But if your dog is hit by a car, even just slightly, it’s important to know how to respond. Vehicle accidents can be potentially fatal to dogs, so understanding the right way to handle this situation is crucial as a pet owner.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most important steps you need to take when dealing with a dog who has been hit by a car. Read through this information and remember that the most important step is to go to the emergency vet as soon as possible. 

dog is hit by a car

Steps to Follow During This Situation

Stay Calm

Before any other steps, it is important to remember to stay calm. You may be worried and frantic if your dog has just been hit by a car, and this is normal. However, the calmer you are, the better you will be able to make the right decisions for your pet.

Additionally, you will need to be calm enough to drive your pet to the emergency vet. You should not drive if you’re in the middle of a panic yourself, so take several deep breaths before you deal with the crisis at hand.

Handle with Care

Be very careful when handling your dog after a vehicle accident. Your dog is likely to be panicked or in shock, and   may become aggressive or defensive as a result. You could risk being bitten by your pet   stay away from her mouth and head when handling her.

Carefully load the dog into a car in order to safely get to an emergency vet to be examined. You can wrap them in a towel or blanket to make it easier to move.

Talk to the Driver

If the driver of the vehicle who hit your pet has let you know about your pet’s injury, or if you are otherwise able to contact the driver, do so calmly. Get as much information as you can about the accident so you can provide the emergency vet such as: how fast the car was going, where the dog was hit, how long ago it happened.

Additionally, you may want to get some further contact information from the driver. Although drivers are not obligated by law to pay for vet bills following a vehicle accident, many are kind enough to do so anyway.

Check Your Dog

Look over your dog thoroughly to see the extent of the damage. In many situations, a vehicle injury will leave your dog with visible, outward damage that makes it clear just what has happened. However, sometimes, vehicle injuries will only cause internal damage and bleeding instead.

If your dog is panicking during this time, try to keep her in a safe part of your home where she cannot risk hurting herself further. A bathroom or crate is a good solution, as there are few pieces of furniture that could cause further harm to your pet in this area.

Call the Emergency Vet

Contact your emergency vet as soon as you know what happened to your dog. Let them know the details of the injury and tell them you will be arriving shortly. By giving them a heads-up, you can allow them to prepare for your pet’s arrival.

It is very important to do the research ahead of time and find a quality emergency vet in your area. When you take time to choose an emergency vet before a crisis occurs, you can stay calmer during an actual emergency situation. You’ll know where to take your pet, which can give you some peace of mind.

Go to the Vet Promptly

The sooner you go to the vet, the better your dog’s chances will be at a full recovery. Even if you believe your dog was not injured too badly, go to the emergency vet so she can be fully examined to make certain.

Many times, dogs will hide their pain, and you may not realize just how serious your pet’s injuries are before it is too late. In some cases, dogs may have internal damage that is not apparent outwardly.

Contact VEG if Your Dog Was Hit by a Car

As you can see, it’s important to respond quickly and appropriately if your pet has been hit by a car. By reacting the right way, you can help your pet get the care she needs to recover from a vehicle injury in many situations.

If you have any questions or concerns, or if your pet has been hit by a car already, go to the emergency vet right away. VEG has locations all over the country, with most of them being open 24 hours a day and all of them being open 24 hours on weekends and holidays. All of our hospitals are staffed with compassionate, caring professionals who always put the wellbeing and comfort of your pet first. So don’t wait, make sure your pet gets the care she needs by calling and speaking to one of our emergency vets now.


Dr. Kate Sullenberger DVM, VEG San Ramon

Oregon State University Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine

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About VEG

VEG is a network of Emergency Veterinarians located across the country. We are dedicated to helping people and their pets when they need it most. If your pet is ever in an emergency situation, use the link below to find our nearest location so we can get your pet the help they need.