What to Do When You Find a Stray Dog

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adorable puppy wondering what to do when you find a stray dog

We all love our furkids, but they don’t always know what’s good for them. As much as we try to keep them safe, they often find themselves in unsafe situations. One such situation is when they decide to go walkabout and stray a little too far from home. Do you know what to do when you find a stray dog? There is always something you can do when you see a dog who has run away from home.

There is Always Something You Can Do for a Stray Dog

Some people are lucky enough to have time to do everything within their power to make sure a lost animal makes it home safe. They can catch them or bring them to a veterinarian or animal shelter. However, in some situations, people simply can’t get hold of the animal, or they’ve seen feral dogs in rural areas, who they can’t approach.

Luckily, whatever the situation is, there is always something you can do to help get stray pets back to safety.

What to Do When You Find a Stray Dog

You could make a simple phone call to alert a local shelter that you’ve seen a dog on the street. Or, you could catch the pet and take it to the vet for a microchip scan. Here are a few more pointers on what to do when you find a stray dog:

Coax the Stray Dog into Coming to You

If you see a dog next to the road, and you are in a safe area, the first thing you can do is pull over. Dog lovers can quickly tell if a dog is in distress, or if they are simply a little lost. Don’t approach the dog. Make it come to you. Chances are if you approach them, they might run away.

Gently and calmly put on that baby talk voice and get them to come to you!

the stray dog lying under a car

Try to Get Them on a Leash and Look for an ID Tag

Any pet owner who takes picking up strays to the next level will have a leash and dog treats in their car at all times. If you’re not that person, don’t worry, there is still a way to get that dog into your custody. You can use a makeshift least, simply (gently) grab them by the collar, or pick them up if they are small and will let you.

Best case scenario, they have a collar and an ID tag with an up to date telephone number you can call! If not, you’ll need to take it a step further.

Get Them Into Your Car or a Safe Space

Open your car door and coax them into your car. Some dogs are used to being in cars and will most likely just hop in. Others, however, may need a little help. You can keep them in the car while you call their owner or ask around whether people living in the area know who the dog belongs to.

If you simply can’t get the dog into your car or your yard, it might be time to get hold of an animal control officer to help you get the dog to a safe space.

Share Their Picture on Social Media

Social media is your best ally in getting a dog back to its owner. Most towns or cities have various “Lost & Found Pets” pages on Facebook. Share the photos there! You can also share them on local community pages! Never underestimate the number of times that photo will be shared!

person comforting stray street dog

Take Them to a Shelter or Vet for a Microchip Scan

Dogs slip their collars all the time. This is why every dog should have a microchip. If you have managed to get the dog into your car, it’s time to take a trip either to a vet clinic, or an animal shelter. They can simply scan the dog for a microchip, which will lead you to the contact details of the dog’s owners!

NOTE: If your dog (or cat) has a microchip, make sure that you register it online. If you do not enter your contact details on the website or registry, there is no way to contact you.

What to Do When the Stray is Clearly a Street Dog

Sadly, some dogs have no home to return to. However, there is still something you can (and should) do to help them! You can bring the doggo or puppy straight to an animal shelter. They will make sure that the dog gets veterinary care and will do what they can to help that dog find a furever home through adoption!

Can’t Get Close to Stray Dogs? Call a Rescue Group or Animal Control

Never underestimate the lengths people will go to to save an animal in need. Stray dogs often don’t trust people. They can be unsocialized and scared. Remember, a scared dog is a dangerous dog! If dogs don’t let you get close or keep running away from you, it’s time to call a rescue group or Animal Control. They can help you bring in the pup. You know, strength in numbers and all that!

Animal Control officers are not the bad guys. They’re not the villains we see in see in the movies. If you are ever unsure of what to do when you find a stray dog: call them for some advice!

group of stray dogs on the street

Lots of Strays Have Simply Gone Walkabout

In most cases, a stray dog is simply a pet who has gone on what they thought would be a fun adventure. Between collars with ID tags, microchips, and neighbors, it shouldn’t be too hard to get Fido or Fiffy back home safely!

Common Questions on What to do When You Find a Stray Dog

How can I check whether a dog has a microchip?

Do rescue groups catch strays?

Where do I post pictures of stray dogs on social media?

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