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What to Do If Your Dog Gets Hit by a Car

Dorsi is a freelance writer and researcher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She cares for her beloved Border Collie named Karma.

What to Do If Your Dog Gets Hit by a Car

First of all, don't panic. Your dog might be in shock and already traumatized. Try to stay as calm as possible. Your dog needs you to be calm right now. If your dog will let you, try to see what type of injuries have happened, then call your vet and give them as much information as possible.

If your dog is bleeding profusely or injured badly, try to gently pick them up and slide them onto a flat board, being very careful. Drive your dog to an emergency veterinary hospital (you might be tempted to speed, but keep it safe).

Don't feel bad if your dog is behaving strangely towards you. Your dog had just suffered a traumatic event, and their behavior may be affected.

My poor baby Karma looks awful—you can tell what a traumatic experience getting hit by a car was.

My poor baby Karma looks awful—you can tell what a traumatic experience getting hit by a car was.

Injuries to My Dog After Getting Hit by a Car

Karma is such a sweetheart—even though she was badly injured, she never whimpered or tried to bite us.

Karma is such a sweetheart—even though she was badly injured, she never whimpered or tried to bite us.

Symptoms of Shock in a Dog

When my dog, Karma, got hit by a car, it was one of the most traumatic things I've ever experienced. Karma was suffering from shock after she got hit, and if not treated, she could have died. Here are some of the symptoms of shock in a dog that you need to look out for:

  • Pale mucous membranes (inside of the gums, mouth, eyes, etc.)
  • Weakness
  • Rapid pulse
  • Tangible loss of heat to the extremities, particularly the ears.

In Karma's case, her heart was beating very rapidly, and on the way to the vet, her gums started getting very pale, and she started becoming unresponsive to us.

In general, shock in a dog can be one of the most deadly consequences of a serious injury.

Remember, if your dog gets hit by a car, make sure you watch out for the possible signs of an injury or shock, even if there are no visible injuries.

In Karma's case, most of her injuries were visible, but even in a mild injury, a dog can be injured internally and needs to be closely watched.

Karma Before the Accident

This is my baby girl Karma—if she had gotten killed, I would have lost one of my best friends.

This is my baby girl Karma—if she had gotten killed, I would have lost one of my best friends.

A Traumatic Experience

Karma, our Border Collie pup, slipped out when my sons were visiting with their dad in the front yard. No one noticed that anything was wrong until Karma came slinking back to the house, bruised and banged up.

My oldest son's first words were, "Karma's face is gone!" which put me into a total panic. Not understanding what had just happened, I looked at her in horror and thought that part of her face was missing. Although there was blood everywhere and she was scraped up, her face was not missing, but her face did look terrible. I actually thought she had gotten bitten by another animal because the abrasions on her face were actual holes, and they looked like bite marks.

Not only was her face mangled, but she had abrasions on her feet, and she was walking funny and panting hard. We laid her down in the kitchen, where my husband tried to calm her down and get a better look at her injuries. We all thought that she had gotten bitten by something because the wounds looked like bite marks.

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After a speedy trip to the emergency vet at two in the morning, the vet took one look at her and said it looked like she had been hit by a car. They took x-rays and said she had two broken ribs and had sustained a hit to her liver. Apparently, when she was hit by the car, she must have tumbled, and that's what caused her head injuries and the abrasions on her paws.

Karma spent the night at the vet in intensive care—she was in shock (that's why she was panting hard), and she had to have IVs, antibiotics, and careful observation throughout the night.

$1,000 Vet Bill

After a $1,000 vet bill and a sleepless night, we were able to pick up our baby in the morning and bring her home with us (we actually brought her to work with us, and she hasn't left our side all morning).

We were all completely traumatized and vowed to keep a closer eye on our precious fur-baby.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 13, 2013:

@nikki) I am so sorry. My sons dog just got hit and killed on the freeway in Dec. and it was the saddest thing. Is your dog going to be able to make it?

nikki on May 13, 2013:

I just wish people would stop and say something I live on a farm and my dog just got hit today and I didn't know until the kids next door called when they got to school and my dog was laying on the side of the road with a broken back by himself for almost an hour it was the hardest thing I had ever seen and would not want anyone to ever have to see that so plz if you hit someone dog or cat just stop and let someone know so they can get help for the cat or dog :'(

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on April 30, 2013:

@harry) your baby sounds like a sweetheart - and I did not know Shelties had that herding instinct.

Unfortunately, I lost my precious Karma last year. I think someone poisoned her. It was heart-breaking and I still think about her every day. Best of luck with your girl and may you have many many years of companionship ahead of you...

harry Johnson on April 16, 2013:

I have a Sheltie and before I got her I probably should have read a little. Other than natural causes the leading cause of sdeaths for Shelties is being hit by a car because of their herding instincts. Further reading basically said "no matter how well you think your Sheltie is trained under no circumstances should that dog be walked without a leash". I am really really happy for you that she lived. By the way I in mno way meant the quote I showed you to put blame on you for not being more careful. I was just showing you that so you're aware of a Sheltie untethered not in a yard. One last thing.Your dog is absolutely gorgeous and again I'm thrilled still alive. One of my reasons for getting a Sheltie after having 3 collies was basically everything I did read said you might have a Sheltie live to be 20. At the local dog park I did see one playing that was 18! I'm sort of all cried out after the 3 collies so hopefully she can cry for least for a little while.LOL

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on March 06, 2012:

@Albert) Oh Albert I am so sorry about Pampy. That must have been so traumatizing to see him get hit and suffering now. Please let me know how he is doing and yes I will pray for you both!

Albert on March 05, 2012:

i want to share what happened an hour ago: i have a dog named "pampy'.. i was leaving the house to get my scooter to the nearest gasoline station and i didn't noticed that my dog is following me from behind, then he ran suddenly that he passes me and waits for me on the other side of the road.. i was shouting his name to come back and asking him not to go there because it is dangerous.. --but its too late, he was hit by a bus.. i saw my dog flew and bounce off the road.. my heart crashed, tears fell from my eyes.. i ran to him and carry his blood soaked body on our home.. i checked for his injuries and saw an open deep wound that you could see his bones.. and i think there is a high chance that there is a broken bone inside him.. i gave him a first aid (treating ONLY his wounds).. he was still alive and fighting for his life and the pain he was suffering.. unluckily i couldn't get him to the vet right now because here in the philippines there is no 24/7 vet clinic nearest me.. they just operate from morning til' afternoon (8am-5pm).. it's already 12:43am here by the way.. now, i'm waiting for the time to passed by so i finally get my dog to the vet clinic this morning.. i couldn't sleep, i was crying and hoping that my dog will be fine.. please pray for my dog! :'(

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on February 20, 2012:

@Pamina) I am so sorry about Kobe. RIP Kobe boy.

Pamina on February 20, 2012:

I just lost my dog on jan 27th;( he was a yorkie and his name was Kobe! My mom let him out to potty and he ran out into the road and got hit and the driver took off.. My mom Took him inside and wrapped him in a towel bc he was crying..than she called

Me! It was my nightmare coming true.. I sped home and took him to the vet! He was normal.. Wasn't crying. Maybe bc he was with his mommy.. They took him to the back and I was patiently waiting.. Than he came out and told me that he had a broken back and there was nothing they could do about it! So I had to put him down... :( I miss my son!

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on February 14, 2012:

@Claudia) I'm sorry Claudia. Poor little guy. Hope he's OK.

Claudia on February 13, 2012:

Is any one going to read my message? PLEASE READ IT!!!!!

Camille and Claudia on February 12, 2012:

May 19,2010. Our dog got an accident by hit car.. My mom took our dog Casper to the park. She threw ball and Casper supposed catch the ball somehow he saw baby bird fly so he chased a bird.. I screamed and called Casper also I ran but it was too late, he got hit by car..

My dog was 1 year old before his

B-day.. Casper is doxie and dachshund . The firefighter took him.. My brother told us that the firefighter came by my place and told my bro. that Casper is alive. He will bring Casper to us back when he gets better but never hear from firefighter man long time since last may 19,2010.. We has been looked for our Casper..we still miss our dog!! Want him back!!!!!!!!

Claudia on February 12, 2012:

Poor dog my dog got a car crash he was chasing A bird he got confuse he thought it was a ball but it not a ball my dog is doxie half dachshund he has white paws like a shoe and white in middle brown all over he has black nose his jaw Is broke on left 2 month old reward $100 phone number is 1760??????? The sPca said fireman took him to hospital now he got adpot please post a common .

Shaila on February 10, 2012:

Hi sup

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on February 10, 2012:

@Rosanne) I am SO sorry Rosanne. How is Snoopy doing?

Rosanne on February 06, 2012:


Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 16, 2012:

I'm sorry Danielle)

Danielle on January 14, 2012:

My dog got hit last night and the guy that hit him doesn't even care and refuses to help with the vet bills...My puppy is now gone forever in heaven.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 09, 2012:

@barbara) That's interesting. I am wondering if he is associating getting hit with your daughter? I would give it some time unless he is getting VERY aggressive then I would definitely consult with your vet. I think he just needs a lot of quiet time to readjust. Karma was acting weird for quite sometime after she got hit. It's very traumatic for them.

barbara on January 06, 2012:

Our dog Biscuit pulled out of his collar, ran into the street after our neighbour's cat and was hit by a car. After spending nine days at the vets, he's home but has become aggressive towards our youngest daughter. She was the one who spoke to him first and tried to calm him while people were jacking the car up. Any suggestions on how to deal with this?

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on January 02, 2012:

@Theresa) Glad to hear he is improving. Thank God he made it. Thanks for reading Theresa.

@Ivan) Wow I'm sorry to hear this. Glad you are both OK. I believe the guys insurance should cover you for injuries and medical and or/vet bills. I would follow up with that. Hope things get better.

keely now 12 years old on December 31, 2011:

much better dorsie and sorry i haven't gotten to type back sooner i just got a new lap top

Ivan on December 30, 2011:

I am feeling very sorry for all these stories and special to the first post of Karma. She is very cute. I came to thus site looking advice on the internet because my german shephard Mason and myself got hit by a 86 year old driver. I was walking my 2 fogs as ussual and he was driving faster than ussual for a condo community in Fl. I went to the hospital and txs God no fractures but my dog, i saw him fly as he received the impact as well so bad that his car windows crashed. He can walk fine and is hungry and no apparent injuries. I reviewed him everywhere and pressed his ribs. Paws, legs and seems no pain byt wonder if he may later develop any consequences of this accident. I am unemployed and all ER request payments upfront. Wonder if any of you have any advice. I have auto insurance so I called Geico but the adjuster will call me next week. Tomorrow is the end of the year and only hope my Mason will be ok.

Theresa on December 29, 2011:

my rescue dog got hit this morning. He is ten pounds and suffered bangs and head trauma. I am lucky, my vet referred us to the emergency hospital, they gave him a round of meds to reduce brain swelling. I had a call earlier that he is responding with vision in both eyes again. The dr said he is cautiously hopeful for recovery. I am just praying he makes it. I will take xtra care this time to make sure he doesn't get past anymore gates. Thanks for the story... I am encouraged.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 29, 2011:

@tay) She sounds like a lucky dog. Myself, I think she will be OK but I'm not a vet. You can also apply for Care Credit with most vets to help pay vet bills. It's a credit card that you have to pay back but they will sometimes issue it right away. You can ask your vet about it if you decide to take her in. Best of luck and I hope she continues to do well.

taymadgal on December 29, 2011:

tonight, my sons were out walking with my daughter's yorkie pom, cocoa chanel, and she was hit by the neighbor lady's suv. She doesn't seem to be injured or sore other than her one eye seems irritated. She doesn't seem to have any of the symptoms of shock that I have read about. She is running and jumping, she ate her dinner just fine, and she has been playing with her tennis balls. Do I have to keep her from sleeping, just in case? I don't have enough money to take her to the vet and I learned when she got sick awhile back that I have to pay upfront or they won't treat the animal.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 26, 2011:

@Megan) Oh my gosh I am so sorry. How devastating. I know it's hard but you did a great thing by helping them with the dog after you hit him. It is not your fault, a total accident so please don't beat yourself up over this. My thoughts and condolences are with all of you.

MeganB1976 on December 24, 2011:

Last night, I accidentally struck & killed my neighbor's dog as I was pulling into my dead end street. Both the owner & one of our other neighbors saw it happen. Apparently, the little guy was across the street from his home and suddenly darted back into the street just as I was going by. He was killed almost instantly.

It was like a nightmare. The owners are devastated, and although they have assured me that they don't blame me, I couldn't feel worse. I can't get the image of his little body laying in the streetout of my mind, or stop hearing the heartbreaking wails of his mommy & daddy. She was too distraught to function & her husband didn't want to leave her alone,so I told them what I knew of the local emergency vet and what their options would be in terms of disposal.According to their wishes, I took his body to the emergency vet & handled all of the costs. I don't know what else I can do. Is there a protocol that follows a situation like this? I just wish I'd come home maybe 5 minutes later. These poor people. And just before Christmas.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 20, 2011:

@Keely) What a scary experience. Are you OK now?

Damien) How is your dog doing now?

Damien on December 12, 2011:

My dog got hit by a car and I found him outside the road of my house . I brought him back in the house and he is whining and trembling . The vet is close as its night time and I hope my dog can bare till tomorrow to see a vet ..

lol on December 08, 2011:

bury it

keely o'neill on December 06, 2011:

i am a 11 years old girl who just 4 weeks ago jumped out of the truck my dad owns. my dads girl friend was driving and we were like 2blocks awway from home and she started making a funny noise like she was ckhoking so i natrully asked (not knowing she couldn't here me)asked "jeana are you okay" she didn't answer.and then there was a thud and the blue truck jumped and i lokked forward and saw just in time the 35 speed limit sighn go over the truck. and emidiatly i thought a' she;s having a stroke or heart attack' and we by this time jena was shaking her hands and her tounge was looled out so we wee like in front of the aparments that were in front of my grandmas house so i turned torward jenae and said "jenae i'm gonna go get help" and i turned torward the passanger side and opened it (don't get me wrong we were going like 70mph) and it buffeted me back alittle btu i opened it and stepped out onto the moving road and tipped sideways onto my left arm. i heard a crunch. i got up (don't know how or if i had been uncosssiues when i stepped out of the moving vehicle) i was crying,standing i the middle of the road screaming "Jeana" "jena". the car was still moving and it got onto a patch of grass right behind it lay a thick of trees. so not wanting to see what happened next i ran to my granmas house and told her "debbie debbie she went down the lane into the trees" (debbie is my dads ex) grandama asked whos debbie? i remebered jeana "jena went itnto the trees" grandma looked at lee. (her boyfriend) and said "go check it out" so now

my arm is better but i had broken my shoulder, and fractered my pinckie,wrist and hand.

jeana's hole left side of her left leg is hattered and broken. it turns out jeana had a sezer.

any qeustions please anwer back (comment on dosie's site)

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 02, 2011:

@Ada) Glad to hear this helped and your fur-baby is recovering!

Ada on December 01, 2011:

Thanks for the help. Because of this web site i knew what to look out for! my dog is doing ok now but her back leg still gives her trouble,but i have a brave gloden retriver that's very luky!AAnd tell Karma i said hi.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on December 01, 2011:

@Yesenia) Thanks for reading. Karma is doing great.

@Yashoo) I am so sorry Yashoo. That must have been devastating. Feel free to talk about it here.

Yashoo on December 01, 2011:

what should I have done if I saw a small puppy getting crushed to death by a car in front of my eyes

Yesenia on November 29, 2011:

I hope your dog gets cousin's dog went through that too.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on November 29, 2011:

@Joy) I know what you mean. It always stays with you when you truly love them.Thank you for reading.

@maryjane) Yes it seems so, doesn't it? I am glad to hear your dog is recovering and yes, it's a very scary thing.

ronny motown on November 27, 2011:

HEHE guess that's some BAD karma!

maryjane707 on November 26, 2011:


Joy on November 26, 2011:

Christine & AngelKiss, My heart cries for your recent losses, so fast but painfully traumatic. (Christine, our Crystal (read above) mysteriously appeared to 2 family members twice, as did my father to me days after he passed, wearing a big smile & looking happy. I believe spirits need to say good-bye properly before moving into the light.) Since losing Crystal, we've since adopted 4 std poodles (2 rescues) in Crystal's honor, all a loving joy. One is so much like Crystal in spirit and personality, it's as though Crystal never left us...still gives me goosebumps. There is still much love on the other side :)

Joy on November 25, 2011:

Very sorry about Sosy...but happy for Karma's recovery. Lost my 7yo sweet std poodle several years ago when my precious angel got loose off her leash and got hit and thrown by a truck on the road. (My young nieces sneaked out to walk my dog on a busy street without my knowing it.) Crystal died as we arrived in our vet's parking lot. Devastating to this day. Luv you forever my sweet angel Crystal! Hugs to Karma.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on November 14, 2011: