Section One - Safety in Emergency Situations

In any emergency situation, it is essential that you do not put yourself into harm's way. You do not to become a casualty too. Use the rules below to ensure that you are safe before you proceed.  

Assessing the scene for any emergency

  1. Stay Calm

  2. Ensure the scene is safe – check for moving vehicles, damaged electricity cables, water hazards, fire or explosive hazards, any toxic materials (including gases or fumes), other animals.

  3. Use Personal Protective Equipment if available especially gloves and eye protection

  4. Assess how many other casualties are involved eg humans and other animals and alert the necessary authorities. Ring 999 or 112 for the UK emergency services. 

  5. Assess patient including taking vital signs, heart rate, breathing rate, femoral pulse and capillary refill time. 

  6. Administer First Aid

  7. Arrange transport to a suitable veterinary surgery if needed. 

  8. Document if possible so a record of treatment is available later.


Dealing with an animal at an accident site. 
1. Do not attempt to handle or treat an injured animal without someone else available to restrain the animal, unless you are confident and competent to do so. 
2. Do not approach the animal in a threatening manner – crouch down where possible and move slowly but purposefully. Do not ‘creep up’ from behind. Talk to the animal as you approach in a calm quiet voice.
3. Restrain the animal in a comfortable position – this may be lying on its side or sitting up on its sternum. Do not force a standing animal to lie down.
4. Apply a muzzle, for safety, unless the animal is unconscious, has an airway obstruction or severe facial trauma or is vomiting.

Run over or hit by a car.

Just as in people a Road Traffic Accident can have very serious consequences for your pet so even if he/she seems ok after an accident make sure they are checked over by a professional. Always take care when handling your pet after such an incident as they may be dazed and/or in pain and even the kindest, gentlest of pets may bite in these circumstances. You may want to apply a muzzle before you attempt to move your pet (video 2 above). If your pet cannot walk then gently lift him/her onto a blanket (video 6 above) and use the blanket as a stretcher to move him/her into your car then take them immediately to your vet.

How to apply a muzzle

  • First, find a piece of soft material. A cotton bandage is good but, a tie or even a fabric leader will make a muzzle.

  • Tie a knot in the middle of the material. 

  • Make a large loop and put a knot in the top, ready to go over the muzzle.

  • Place the loop over the muzzle and tighten the loop. 

  • Wrap the material under the muzzle and cross over.

  • Bring the material strands up the dogs neck, behind the ears and tie a secure knot. 

How to make a blanket stretcher

  • A bed sheet, a furniture throw or any large piece of material will act as a stretcher. Put the blanket on the floor and spread it out. 

  • Gently lift the animal onto the blanket, using two people to lift a large dog. One holding the neck and front legs, the other holding the back legs and abdomen. 

  • Use four people if available, but two could lift a medium sized dog. (remember to consider your own back health and lift carefully)

  • Move quickly and quietly to a vehicle


code for assessment HA9SK55