Helping animals in a road traffic accident
*This is a basic and general guide.
For those who love animals, it would be someone’s worst fear to see an animal involved in a road accident. In a situation where an animal needs immediate aid it's vital to act as quickly as possible to protect and bring them to safety.
The police, RSPCA and a vet would need to be consulted in the event of an accident.
Bringing an injured animal to the vet is vital to identify who the owner is to contact (or they may be stray and or not have a microchip and cannot be identified).
Having pet insurance is important in the event of an accident and emergency surgery.
Accidents should always be reported to the police and RSPCA.
When approaching an injured animal always be cautious and never put yourself at risk.
An injured animal could be in shock, pain, bleeding, experiencing breathing problems.
It’s important to get help asap if it’s available especially to help with directing traffic and making sure traffic is aware of an accident and are safe. Perhaps put something out to warn drivers that there has been an accident event twitch on your hazards lights, especially when it starts to get dark.
Call the RSPCA and let them know your location and what accident has happened and condition of the animal. RSPCA 24-hour service line is 0300 1234 999
If you are waiting for help to arrive, approach the animal with caution and remember the animal could have various reactions because they may be in shock, bleeding or in pain.
Try to talk calmly to the animal to help reassure it and if safe, consider moving the animal (always keep yourself protected as much as possible e.g wear gloves). Use a coat or blanket to place over the animal and help keep it warm. Perhaps you have a box you could place the animal in (always make sure there is plenty of adequate ventilation and holes).
Try (if safe to do so), to move the animal to a quiet and safer place. If the animal is bleeding, cover open wounds but always consider your safety first.
It can be a stressful situation when there is an accident, but it’s important not to panic and not to move the animal unless you have to.
Be aware that if the animal has a head injury it’s important not to move its head in fear of vomiting or blocking the airway.
It’s a good idea to carry a box and a pet first aid box in your car-boot, when you travel. Having a charged mobile phone is vital for your protection and in the event of an emergency or accident.
Keep a vet’s telephone number in your car and on your phone, you never know when you might need it.
Being there, doing the best you can for the animal (while keeping yourself protected at all times), is so important in helping them get to safety and having a chance of survival.
Try to keep the animal as calm as possible in an emergency situation and avoid panic.
Always call the RSPCA, Police and a local vet in the event of an accident.
- Watch out for animal warning signs on the road
- Keep to the speed limits
- During the night and early morning, take extra care when driving e.g. use you’re your headlights on high beams if there is no oncoming traffic
- Drive carefully with extra caution during extreme weather conditions
If you injure or come across an injured cat – take them to a vet immediately or call the RSPCA asap.
The vet may be able to provide first aid and identity checks and if they have a microchip their owner can be contacted.
Please help animals where you can because you may be their only chance of survival.
RSPCA 24-hour service line is: 0300 1234 999
Find out more on why Microchipping is so important here