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You’re driving down the road, excited about reaching your destination when you spot an injured dog. What do you do? Whom do you call? Where do you take the dog? The questions come rushing to you, and you’re left feeling helpless because you don’t know how best to help the dog. Make a note of these tips so that you’re ready to help next time such a situation occurs.
Prepare for the worst
Keep handy a list of emergency contact numbers – rescue centers, animal shelters, and rescuers in your city. It also helps to have a list of vets who perform on the site visits for emergency cases. Stay connected with rescue groups online and familiarise yourself with your city’s rescue network. You can carry around a first aid kit with basic supplies and undergo rescuer training from your local animal shelter.
Analyze the situation
Check whether the situation requires back-up or if you can handle it yourself. Dogs have different temperaments, and their levels of aggression may vary based on injury severity. Map the nearest vet’s clinic from the site of the injured dog and stay prepared to transport the dog. If the back-up is needed, make the necessary calls and wait until help arrives.
Approach with caution
Don’t make sudden movements or ambush the dog in a way that will only increase the fear the animal already feels. If the dog seems friendly, try using food to lure him into a cage or your car. If he is aggressive, use a blanket, net, cloth, or muzzle to secure him. If the dog seems to be unable to move and you suspect a fracture, call for professional help. Do not try to move the dog as this may result in more pain and cause further damage.
Pay the vet a visit
Once you’ve secured the dog, either alone or with someone’s help, visit your nearest vet. If immediate treatment is possible, the vet will perform it. More severe injuries may require you to transport the dog to the trauma center of your local animal shelter. Get a recommendation from the vet on what is the best course of action. Vets may even recommend euthanasia in certain cases. Stay with the dog and offer comfort as much as possible.
Post rescue care
Shelters will usually release the dog back to the streets once he has fully recovered. If he is treated at the vet’s clinic, post-treatment care can be done in a foster home or rescuer’s home until he heals. Whatever the outcome, you’ll be happier knowing that you at least tried helping.