What Happens If Someone Hits Your Dog With A Car?

By DogDialog Team on 11 October 2017

It’s one of our greatest fears as a pet owner, and one that many of us dread to think about. However, if it should happen that your dog is hit by a car or other vehicle, it is important to know what to do in order to act fast and help your beloved pooch. It can be hard in that moment of frenzy and panic; you will naturally find yourself in shock, and, no matter how logical you normally are, there’s every chance you’ll freeze. It is the same if you are the person who has accidentally hit a dog – it’s a horrible feeling that no one wants to encounter.

In order to save the dog’s life or best help them in the aftermath, there are steps to take and procedures that you can follow. Do you know what to do if you run over a dog? Or if it is your pet? These are questions we’re often asked at PetDialog. Knowing this useful information, whether you are the dog owner or car driver, can be hugely beneficial.


Prevention is better than cure

Ultimately, the most important thing for all involved is to try and prevent this from happening in the first place. It may seem obvious that you would want to protect your dog, but often accidents can happen in a split second. Always keep your dog on a lead when you are walking near a road. Even if they’re usually good walkers, there is no way of knowing if something may surprise or spook them. If you are walking in parkland, be aware of any roads bordering the area that your dog could run on to.

As a driver, it is crucial to stick to the speed limits and slow down if you think a dog nearby is acting unpredictably. Keep an eye out for hazards, and ensure you have enough space between yourself and the car in front to stop quickly if required.

Call the police

In the event that your dog is hit by a car, or you are the person who has hit the dog, the first thing to do is call the police. When it comes to running over a dog, UK law states you must report a collision of this nature.

It is also the law that the driver involved in hitting a dog must stay at the scene until the police have allowed them to leave. This will typically be once they have arrived and taken down accounts of what has happened. If the driver has driven off or doesn’t hang around, you should call the police using 999 and try to get their car registration details to pass on to the police as a ‘hit and run’, who will then conduct follow-up investigations.


Safety first

Your next priority is your dog. If your dog is in the middle of the road, your instinct may be to run out to them without concern for anything around you. However, you need to ensure you won’t be at risk from other cars or traffic if you do so. You may need to put a hazard sign out or ask the driver to put their car hazard lights on. If other people are around, you could ask them to help slow the traffic.


Calling an emergency vet

If your dog is still alive following the collision, you will need an emergency vet or 24 hour vet. If you are lucky enough to have your phone on you at the time, you will be able to make the call yourself. Ideally, it is always best to have your vet’s number preprogrammed into your mobile, as well as their emergency number, if they have one. If you are not near to home, you could also conduct a Google search using your 3G or 4G for ’emergency vet clinic near me’. This will bring up relevant local results. Calling the vet as soon as possible should be the priority, as it will take them time to get to you, especially if it is out of hours.

The vet may advise you, depending on your dog’s injuries, the time of day and transport available, that it may be quicker and safer for you to get your dog to them. However, be aware that the police will still need to be informed of the accident, and there could potentially be liability issues for either the driver or dog owner.

Looking after your dog at the scene

While at the scene, you will most likely feel very limited in ways to help your dog. However, if they are still alive, your first concern should be trying to help keep them calm and still, to try and stop them from gaining any additional injuries. It may be safe and sensible to remove your dog from the road, depending on how they are.

If you can, try to perform any essential first aid, such as ensuring their breathing isn’t obstructed and stemming any bleeding. Try to keep them warm and calm in case they go into shock – you can wrap them in your coat or jumper and talk soothingly. Don’t give them any food or water, or give them any medication, without checking with a vet first as this could delay or interfere with any treatments they may need.


Getting everyone’s details

Before you leave the scene with your dog, it is important to get the details of other people present, including witnesses and the driver or the dog owner, if that isn’t you. It will also be helpful to know which police officers are on the scene.


Follow ups

No matter what injuries your dog has, it is always advisable to take them to a vet in case there are any internal problems. If the dog is missing its owner, try to check around for who it may belong to or look for details on the dog tag. A vet will be able to scan for a microchip and offer basic and essential emergency support but will need the owner present for any other treatment questions. You should ensure the vet has all your details to give to the owner when they are located, and that the police are still called as per the UK law.


Legal liabilities

In some instances, the driver who has hit the dog may have to pay for the treatment required by the dog, depending on who was liable for the accident. If the dog is put to sleep, the person at fault may have to compensate the owner as well. Sometimes this will be done by the person willingly, and in other cases, it may need to go to court.

Depending on the type of dog insurance you have, you may be covered for any costs incurred. It depends very much on who has been found liable, and in some cases, the dog owner may be responsible for paying for any damage or costs to the driver’s car.

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