When a pet has an injury or is ill, it is important to transport them to the veterinary hospital immediately, but it should be done in a safe manner to prevent any further injury and minimize any stress to the animal.
It is best, whenever possible, to have two people available to transport an ill or injured animal. This will allow one person to monitor or restrain the animal, while the other person can concentrate on driving. Sometimes pets need to be transported from one hospital to another for more advanced diagnostics, or specialized care. If this is the case, your veterinary staff member should guide you through the process. Some facilities have a transport vehicle, much like a pet ambulance for transportation of your sick or injured patients.
If you have a small pet or cat, it is important to have a small, well ventilated box or pet carrier which, are available at most pet stores. It is a good idea to practice getting your pet used to the carrier so it is not a stressful environment for them (ie, it should not always be associated with a trip to the vet). A warm, dark, well-ventilated box will prevent the animal from moving around excessively and provide a low stress environment for the pet.
If you do not have a carrier or you have a large pet, you may have to transport your pet in the back seat of a car. Your pet may need assistance or may need to be lifted into the vehicle. Most of the time, a larger pet can be lifted by one or two people by placing one hand under the chest, between the front legs, and one between the hind legs at the back end. This will prevent any excessive pressure being placed over the abdomen or legs.
If your pet cannot walk, or has sustained a major injury (like being hit by a car), it may be best to restrain your pet during transport. A pet can be restrained on any board or similar object (door, stretcher). The pet can be restrained on the stretcher by placing duct tape across the shoulder and across the hips. This will restrain the pet without injuring them or restricting breathing; two people can then be used to lift the stretcher. If a hard object is not available, a large comforter, sheet or blanket can be used for transport in a similar fashion, but will not provide as much stability for neck or back injuries. One should always limit moving or touching injured areas until a veterinarian has examined the pet.