5 Things to Do if You Find a Lost Dog

5 Things to Do if You Find a Lost Dog

Author WDF Staff


Being a dog owner means a lot of walking and going to different places with your dog. On your walks, you might encounter other people and dogs. Sometimes, you might even encounter a dog that got away from its owners. Most of us want to help the poor dog, but one question pops into our mind, “What should I do if I find a lost dog?” Luckily, World Dog Finder is here to help with 5 tips on what to do if you find a lost dog.

1. Mind the safety

The first thing you should do is make sure everyone is safe during your rescue effort. Lost dogs can be stressed, scared, and very anxious. If you know dogs, you already know that can be a recipe for a bite. Nervous dogs can react unpredictably, and you have to be absolutely sure you, your dog, and the rescue dog all remain safe.

dog running

If you have dog food or treats with you, lure the lost dog to come to you. You have to use a calm, reassuring voice so the animal knows you’re not going to hurt them. The safest way to “capture” the lost dog is with a leash. However, most of us don’t walk with a spare leash. You can use a rope or even your belt to secure the dog. If there are fenced yards around, try containing them there. During all that, you need to make sure you remain safe.

2. Contact the authorities

Before you do anything else, you should contact the authorities. If you failed to detain and capture the lost dog, you should at least take a picture or a video of the dog with your phone. It will be easier to describe the dog if you have photographic evidence. You can call the authorities in three scenarios; if the dog is acting aggressively and you cannot safely approach them, you managed to capture them and need help with accommodation, or the dog ran away before you managed to do anything. Contact your local animal control or police.


3. Think about accommodation

If you decide to keep the dog until you hear from the owner, you need to think about where you’re going to keep the dog. Can you safely accommodate them in your home? Will your other pets and family members be safe while the lost dog is there? These are all essential questions you will have to think about to safely detain and help the poor dog.

Your second option is to take the dog to your local shelter. They most likely have accommodation options and means to keep the dog safe until the owner manages to find their lost dog. Local shelters can be great, so you should have their number and basic information even if you don’t have a lost dog scenario.

4. Look for the dog’s ID

This is something you should do twice. The first time you can check the dog for some sort of identification is as soon as you manage to capture them. There are different collars or harnesses that have some kind of owner’s information in them. Some dog harnesses even have small see-through pockets where owners write their contact information. Check for that and contact the owner and tell them you have their dog.

The second time you should look for identification is when you take the dog to the vet. You can ask the vet to check for a microchip. If the dog is microchipped, the owner’s contact information should be stored on it. You can even have the privilege of making a phone call that will make someone incredibly happy.

WORLD DOG FINDER TIP: It doesn’t matter how responsible a dog owner you are; your dog can still run away. Dogs can get spooked by something and run away, even from your yard. One of the best things you can do is have your dog microchipped. You can read more about it here - Should you microchip your dog?

swiss white shepherd on leash

5. Placing the lost dog

The final step is finding the lost dog’s home. There are three options you can take here. The first one is to keep the dog until the owner contacts you. You can post fliers and social media pics in order to find the missing dog’s owner. If that fails, the dog might stay with you indefinitely.

The second option is to place the dog in a local shelter. Not all of us have the means to care for another dog. In fact, some of us might struggle to care for one dog. If that is the case, call your local shelter and ask if you can place the dog you found in their care.

The third option is to ask breed-specific rescues for help. For example, if you found a Labrador Retriever, Labrador clubs might know who the owner or the breeder is. If that doesn’t help, Labrador Retriever rescues can help find new homes for dogs in need.

World Dog Finder team

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