Home > Pet Health > Moving an Injured Pet

Moving an Injured Pet

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 23 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Moving Injured Pet Transporting Injured

When you come upon a pet that is injured, it is natural to panic and want to rush your pet to the veterinarian. However, it is vital to know how to transport your injured pet safely, to prevent further injury and improve its chances of survival and recovery.

Firstly, always check the scenario and make sure you avoid injury to yourself, such as from falling overhead objects, electric sources or oncoming traffic. Before moving any animals, check the state of their injuries: Is the animal conscious? Is it breathing? Is it bleeding heavily? If your pet has stopped breathing and is unconscious, try nose-to-mouth resuscitation by pinching the lips to seal them shut and then blowing into the nose to ventilate the lungs. If your pet is bleeding, apply direct pressure to the wound, using either a clean towel or convenient item of clothing.

Note, however, that it may be dangerous to attempt first-aid with a conscious animal in severe pain - even the most friendly and gentle-natured pet will behave differently when in pain and suffering from shock and panic. Covering the animal's head and eyes with a towel or blanket can help to calm it.

Dogs

  • Always muzzle a dog - even a gentle and friendly one. Severe pain, shock and fear can cause even the best-natured animal to bite and many will not even recognise a familiar face when in panic. If you do not have a muzzle handy, you can create a make-shift one quickly and easily using a long strip of gauze tape (or ribbon, scarf, rope, leash - improvise as necessary) which is looped and slid over the dog's muzzle or nose, then looped again and tied behind the ears.

  • Note - however, do not muzzle a dog which is suffering from cardiac or respiratory arrest or is unconscious from electrocution or drowning - apply the correct treatment for these conditions first.

  • To move a dog, gently lift it - supporting as much of its body as possible - onto a stiff board-like surface. If no board is available, use a blanket or coat. It is advisable to have help but if you are alone, position the board or blanket along the dog's back, firmly grasp the skin over the neck and hips and pull the dog onto the board.

  • Use this board or blanket as a stretcher to transport the dog to the vet. You may need to use a belt or rope to secure the animal. Pillows, towels or rolled blankets wedged around the dog can also prevent unnecessary jarring during transport. It's important to prevent movement of the spine, neck, or a fractured limb on the way to the clinic but leave the technical bandaging and splinting of any broken limbs to the veterinarian.

  • Keep the dog warm with a blanket or towel and keep its body as still as possible during transportation.

    Cats

    • To pick up a cat, grasp it firmly by the nape of the neck (the loose skin, at the back of the neck, between the shoulder blades). Many cats will automatically relax when held this way as this was the way they were carried by their mothers as kittens.

    • Place the cat in a cat carrier or a well-ventilated box. If no such carrier is available, use a blanket, towel or piece of clothing and wrap the cat firmly, leaving the head and neck exposed.

    • Keep the cat warm and its body as still as possible during transportation.

    Birds and Small Animals

    • Smaller animals and birds suffer easily from shock, so it is important to keep them calm, warm and quiet - and as still as possible during transportation.

    • Always transport them in a secure, well-ventilated container - never try to just restrain them by carrying them in your arms. Rabbits, for example, even when seriously injured, can kick frantically and this can break their backs. If a container is not available, wrap the animal up securely in a blanket, towel or sheet.

    • Birds - especially small species - have to be handled extremely carefully. If possible, leave them in their cage and transport the entire cage to the vet. If they are loose, use a sheet to capture them gently, being especially careful not to damage the feathers, then transfer them to a cardboard box. Unwrap them from the sheet as soon as they are in the box as birds can overheat and die very easily, especially in warm weather.

    • Similarly, transport small mammals in their cage or enclosure whenever possible. If you need to capture them, carefully place a box over them, then slide a piece of cardboard underneath the box to contain them.

    In all instances, talking to an animal softly in a soothing tone of voice can help to calm and reassure it on its way to the veterinary surgery. For the smaller animals, covering their cage with a sheet or towel and keeping them in the dark can also help to calm them, thus preventing them from struggling or trying to escape which may cause further injury to themselves.

    You might also like...
    Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
    Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

    If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

    Title:
    (never shown)
    Firstname:
    (never shown)
    Surname:
    (never shown)
    Email:
    (never shown)
    Nickname:
    (shown)
    Comment:
    Validate:
    Enter word:
  • Topics
    Latest Comments
    • gabby
      Re: Introducing a Kitten to Other Cats
      i have an eight year old female cat& i recently got a 3 month old kitten& my older cat keeps hissing and spitting and…
      25 July 2019
    • Paige131
      Re: Introducing a Puppy to Other Dogs
      Hi i have a 8week olf puppy he has had no vaccinations yetbis it ok to take him to my mums where her dogs are fully vaccinated.
      19 July 2019
    • Sylveon
      Re: Keeping Mammals in an Aviary
      Hi I only just discovered this page! I just wanted to ask could there be possible parasite risk between rabbits and birds? As I…
      6 July 2019
    • Osar
      Re: Dog Laws in the UK
      Where can I find the law/by law about my dog entering a local river. There is private fishing (no access to public) and a long stretch of river…
      5 July 2019
    • BOO/100
      Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
      My small dog has a rash on his undercarriage with small red spots I have been bathing this with Apple cyder vinegar…
      3 July 2019
    • Sprinkles
      Re: Dog Laws in the UK
      I live beside someone who has 3 dogs. This person doesn't work but disappears for over 10 hours or all night and doesn't come back until…
      14 June 2019
    • sherrie
      Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
      our calico cat was in a fight last monday morning and we had to take her to the vet. We had to put her down because she had a deep…
      12 June 2019
    • Kiwi
      Re: The Dangers of Cat Fights
      We recently moved into an apartment that has lots of outdoor cats I don't know if these are ferel cats or pets my cat Kiki likes to go…
      26 May 2019
    • Rani
      Re: Dog Laws in the UK
      Hi I live with my in laws and they have recently bought a dog, hes a big alsatian. I have 4 kids 6,4,2 and 8 months. It's hot and they want to…
      23 May 2019
    • Jillybags
      Re: Keeping Mammals in an Aviary
      So it's ok to have 2 bunnies and ( say ) 4 budgies, lovebirds or cockatiels in the same outdoor aviary ? They'll have plenty of…
      21 May 2019