Transporting an injured dog

After identifying an injury or illness, the next step is to safely transport your dog to the nearest veterinarian. Improper technique when transporting a patient can result in further injury or complications.

  • Handle your dog as little as possible
  • Make him comfortable by encouraging him to lay down and stay
  • Rough handling may cause further internal bleeding, more damage to the soft tissue surrounding a fracture, and many other complications
  • Lie your dog on his side - if he seems to resent this, or seems to have more difficulty breathing in this position, then leave him in whatever position is most comfortable
  • Minimize movement - you can tape or tie the dog to a flat surface especially if there is a suspected back injury. Do not attempt to tape a struggling animal.
  • Do not put pressure on the stomach - this is very important for the dog who is having difficulty breathing, has been vomiting, or has pain in the abdomen
  • If the dog seems paralyzed or unable to get up, a spinal injury is suspected, and the dog must be immobilized to prevent further damage to the nerves - get a firm, flat support such as a piece of plywood - grasp the skin over the back of the neck and over the small of the back and gently slide the dog unto the support - try to keep the back and neck straight - tape or tie the pet to the support
  • If your dog is unconscious, position the head in normal alignment with the body - it should not flex abnormally downward or extend excessively upward. Improper flexing or extending can cause decreased blood drainage from the brain and cause serious damage
  • If your dog has vomited, or appears likely to vomit, then put the head lower than the level of the heart - this will allow any vomitus to run out of the mouth and not into the windpipe and the lungs - be aware that a dog with serious head injuries is likely to vomit even if unconscious
  • Cover dog with a blanket - this not only has a calming effect, but also prevents heat loss
  • You can also use a blanket to transport your dog if there is no sign of back injury - gently slide the dog to the center of the blanket, roll the edges to get a better grip, and gently lift the blanket and dog into the transport vehicle (this is usually a two person procedure)

Transporting an injured cat

Cats should be restrained in boxes, crates or a covered laundry basket for transport. Follow the guidelines for dogs if there has been trauma