Here is Some information on How to Keep your Pittie Safe!

The number-one cause of canine emergencies is automobile accidents. The term used by vets is "HBC" meaning "Hit By Car". Some dogs in automobile accidents just end up with minor wounds, bruises, or lacerations. Most dogs, however, end up with broken bones and/or other internal injuries. Regardless of how a dog appears to look externally, if he has been hit by a car then he should be examined thoroughly by a vet as soon as possible.


The majority of dogs hit by cars are running loose. Keeping your dog on a leash can prevent a lot of unnecessary trauma for pets and owners. Many dogs are run over by their owners as they pull into and out of their driveways. Putting up a fenced enclosure or keeping your dog inside helps prevent this.

Before you try to help an injured dog, be careful because dogs that are severely traumatized are also scared and in pain. Since they usually do not know what’s causing the pain, your risk being bitten, even if it’s your dog.

Take a minute to protect yourself by muzzling the dog. You can make a muzzle by using a piece of rope, a belt, your tie, or even a pair of stockings. Start by looping the material over and under the dog’s nose, then bring the material behind his ears and tie.

Injured dogs need to be transported to the vet quickly but calmly. Moving the dog as little as possible is important, especially with certain fractures. You can try lifting a very small dog with your hands, but using a stretcher is generally necessary for large dogs; a board or large blanket will work. Cover up the dog, roll or lift him onto the stretcher, and ease him into the car. It’s easier if you have someone to help: open both doors and one of you can move backward into the car and go out the other side. It is always a good idea to call ahead and let your vet know you’re on your way.

TIP: An injured dog will need to be kept warm. A blanket or coat will suffice.

If your dog is not moving, you need to be sure that he is alive. Touch the cornea which is the center of his eye. If the dog is alive, he should blink.

If your dog is unconscious, treat him just like you would treat a person with a possible spinal injury. Wrap him on a board so his legs, spine, and neck are stiff. Next, be sure that his airway is clear so he is able to breathe. You can gently extend his head and neck, pull his tongue over to one side of his mouth, and use a cloth to clear any secretions from his mouth and nose.

If the dog is also bleeding, the first aid treatment is the same as that used for a person. Apply steady, direct pressure with a clean towel, a piece of gauze, or even your hand to try to stop or at least limit the blood flow. Two pellets of Arnica Montana 20c can be placed on the tongue every 15 minutes for a total of three doses to relieve pain and decrease swelling while on your way to the vet.

Legs that are dangling or obviously broken can be immobilized with splints made of newspaper, towels, or even a pillow.

Once at the hospital, the vet will examine the dog and initially assess vital statistics including rectal temperature, heart rate, respiration, and gum color. If the dog is critical, a catheter or tube will be inserted into a vein – this is called an intravenous fluid line. Medication to prevent shock, along with fluids to stabilize blood pressure, will be administered though this catheter.

Once the dog is stabilized, x-rays to detect broken bones and other possible internal injuries will be taken. You will then be advised of the necessary treatment. You will also be given a prognosis, or told how your dog should do once out of the hospital, and whether or not any long-term complications should be expected.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Hit by Car

When a dog gets hit by a car, everyone feels awful. While dog owners sometimes claim the car’s driver hit the dog on purpose, the truth is that swerving to miss a loose dog in the street is dangerous. Lots of damage and injury can happen that way.

Blaming the car driver is not the answer. Blaming the veterinarian when you learn the cost of emergency and follow-up medical care for what has happened to a dog hit by a car is not the answer, either.

We need to keep dogs out of the street in the first place. People often ask how to teach a dog to come when called once the dog is running loose in the neighborhood. That is the wrong question. A dog getting loose one time is understandable. When it’s obvious the dog is going to try it, the task is to stop the dog from getting loose again.

Traffic Savvy?

Some dogs seem to notice cars moving as if they understand them. That is a deceptive idea. There is no way a dog could understand traffic laws. Guide dogs leading blind people learn specific actions to take at intersections. They also learn to watch for certain things moving and to pull the blind handler back.

The blind person learns the route and directs the dog. The route makes use of curbs and of specific ways to cross streets. Much time goes into this training, and it still doesn’t make it safe to let the dog wander the streets.

A particularly dangerous notion is that a dog who has been hit by a car will be traffic savvy and will never be hit again. On the contrary, many dogs have been hit by cars repeatedly. If, on top of the other injuries, the dog experiences brain damage, all sorts of learning may be impaired! Don’t count on a dog “learning” to avoid cars.


Dogs who chase cars are at increased risk of being hit, and the habit can also cause injury to whoever is holding the dog’s leash when a car passes. Thus, teaching dogs not to chase cars is training time well spent.

Use other behaviors that are incompatible with chasing to condition your dog to ignore passing cars. Giving you eye contact and moving with you causes the dog to be too busy to chase, and is a great way to start taking your dog’s attention off cars. Also work on stays in quiet settings, move the stays into view of cars at a distance that keeps the dog calm, and eventually take training to the point the dog can reliably hold a stay in a safe spot near passing cars. [See Attention, Please!, Eye Contact, Stay Training, and Chasing.]

Teach every human who interacts with your dog not to ever chase the dog. Let’s say that again another way: NEVER chase a dog. This is counterproductive to dog training in a major way, and of immediate importance is that it puts the dog’s life at risk.

When you chase a dog, you trigger the dog’s instinct to run—to run away from you. People constantly do this with dogs as a game. Playing “keep away” with a dog running from you with a toy or a possession of yours is also you chasing the dog. Do not do this! Every time you do it, you strengthen the dog’s patterning to run from you.

If you need to get a dog to come to you and the dog is not trained, run AWAY from the dog. This is counterintuitive, but it works very well. If you can’t run, walk. Try backing away from the dog in an inviting manner. Try squatting down. Examine the ground as if something fascinating is there. Or lie down on your back. But whatever you do, NEVER chase a dog! Teach this to your children and to everyone else who will listen: Never chase a dog!

If you want to play running games with a dog, have the dog chase you. Do not end the chase with rough stuff, or you could wind up teaching the dog to run at people and grab them. There are various safe ways to end the chase. Having the dog sit, down, present you with a retrieved object, run alongside you in the same direction you are going, or present the head to your hand for stroking are all safe behaviors.

Teach your dog to come when called by patterning the dog to expect good things. Have a reward for the dog every time if possible. Sometimes it might be enthusiastic praise and (if the dog enjoys it) petting, but surprise the dog with good things beyond those as often as possible. [See Rewards and Motivators for Your Dog.]

If you need the dog with you for something the dog won’t find enjoyable, walk over to the dog instead of calling the dog to you. Don’t chase! Walk to the dog and make this pleasant, too.

You can also use the various tactics of moving away from the dog. If you have plenty of time, you can call the dog to you, give rewards, and then keep the dog with you a bit before doing that thing the dog won’t like. Be your dog’s safe place. Don’t give your dog reason to fear, distrust or avoid you. The dog’s life can depend on trusting you.


Even when you’ve done plenty of training, it’s never safe to assume the dog is “cured” from chasing cars. Dogs will be dogs, and when sufficiently stimulated, they’ll do things you never thought they would do. A dog owner’s management responsibility extends for the lifetime of the dog.

When your dog is outside, the best means of confinement are a real fence or a leash in your hands. An electronic confinement system will frequently fail when a dog becomes sufficiently stimulated to either forget about the shock or be willing to take the shock in order to express the instinct that has been triggered.

A tie-out adds to the risk of chasing cars as well as chasing everything else, because it “loads” the dog. The dog sees things pass and wants to get at them, but that desire is frustrated. When a chance comes to chase, the dog will take it more quickly and pursue more aggressively because of the built-up frustration. Chasing cars leads to various ways of getting hit, a common one being that the dog is struck by a car traveling in a different direction from the one the dog is chasing. Dogs tend to get so focused on one thing that they don’t notice other things going on around them.

Chasing cars down a fence line can also increase a dog’s risk of doing it outside the fence, so it’s best to manage away from this behavior. A sight-proof fence works well, especially if the dog is also double-fenced by another fence set back from the one at the property line that blocks the dog’s view. Not only does this reduce the car-chasing; but it also eliminates fence-fighting with neighbor dogs, and keeps your dog from biting neighbors who reach through or over the property-line fence.

Another option is to never leave your dog unsupervised in the yard, even a fenced yard. Then every time the dog starts to get interested in something potentially dangerous on the other side of the fence, you can call the dog to you. Until the dog is steady to come when called no matter how excited, you can keep the dog on a long line with the other end of the line in your hand. This solution only works when you are right there to apply it, though. The rest of the time, you’ll need to keep the dog indoors or in another safe place.

When exiting or opening a door from a building or vehicle into an open, unfenced area, always use a double barrier. With a meticulously trained dog, one of the barriers might be the dog’s training and your alert, skilled handling; but people far too often overestimate these abilities. The training should be there as a back-up, but careful habits make for a much better routine.

One simple habit is to put a leash on the dog before you open the house or car door. You can create a pattern in the dog not to exit that door without first having the leash put on. Whenever you have your dog and car and a few minutes in an enclosed place such as your garage, do a little practice. If the dog gets out without permission, put the dog back into the car to wait for permission to exit. Take time for this whenever you arrive someplace and have put the leash on the dog and opened the car door. If the dog gets out without permission, put the dog back in to wait for it. This is time well spent.

Escapes from the back yard can be eliminated by putting in a second gate so that the dog is behind another gate when anyone opens the main gate. You can reduce escapes by putting a spring on the gate so that it will not stay open but is automatically shut by the spring.

Escapes through the front door of the house are also best eliminated with a double barrier. You can put the dog behind another door, on leash, or into a crate before opening any door that leads into the open. You can keep a baby-gate or other barrier between the dog and the door so that the dog can’t get to the door at all unless you open the gate. If the dog jumps one baby gate, you can stack another above it, or have a barrier custom-made.


A dog being hit by a car is an emergency. Even if you don’t see signs of injury, the dog needs to be examined by a veterinarian right away. Dogs hide their pain--even fatal injury--if they can. It’s a survival instinct, since showing weakness in the wild can get an animal killed.

Call the veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic as you head there quickly so they can prepare to give your dog prompt aid when you arrive. Since an injured dog may behave wildly (if unconscious, the dog may come around en route and go wild), muzzling the dog is wise. As with a human, you want to avoid movements that could misalign bones or joints and increase injury. One way to handle an injured dog is to have two or more people use a blanket as a stretcher.

Providing treatment is expensive for the veterinary care facility, and that expense has to be passed on to the dog’s owner. When people are upset about their injured dogs, they may feel this is hard-hearted on the part of the medical team, but that team could not be there without the finances to keep it going.

Every dog owner needs contingency plans to pay for veterinary emergencies. This is part of the cost of having a dog. Having a dog hit by a car is often avoidable, but not every veterinary emergency can be avoided. A savings account, a credit card or a paid-on-time pet insurance policy are options for this need. In a perfect world, every dog-owning household would have a savings account ready for veterinary expenses. In this world, though, we each just have to do the best we can.

A dog who is hit by a car may never be the same. Of course, many do not survive. Those who do may be left with various kinds of damage. A competition career can be ruined. Special care may be required to heal the injury, to deal with pain later and possibly to handle future disabilities from the injuries.

Dogs tend to accept things as they are, and your dog might live a satisfying life after a hit-by-car injury. It’s much better, of course, never to have to find out how the dog would do. Before you even bring your new dog home, check out all the ways the dog could get loose and plan your strategies. With careful preparation and constant vigilance, you and your dog have an excellent chance of never going through this experience.
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