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May 22nd

Found A Stray Dog? Here’s What Happens Next

Found A Stray Dog? Here’s What Happens Next

Stray dogs are a common site in cities across the country. Some of these dogs have no owners, while others may simply be lost. But what should you do if you encounter a stray dog?

Although your first reaction may be to run after the dog and protect them, you should always be careful when dealing with stray dogs. Even the kindest looking dog can become aggressive, especially if they are afraid.

Here, we’ll discuss what you should do if you encounter a stray dog. We’ll also discuss adoption options, should you want to permanently keep a stray dog.

Be Careful Around Stray Dogs

Even if the dog looks friendly, you should take extra caution when approaching a stray. The dog may be scared, and may not know how to respond to friendly approaches from humans. It’s also possible that they have abused, which can lead to aggressive reactions.

Take you time as you approach the dog, and try to give them space. If they are willing to let you approach, you can get nearer. However, never chase a stray dog, as you will end up doing more harm than good. Also take caution around dogs that look unkempt, as they are more likely to have rabies or other illnesses.

You should also be cautious when approaching large dog breeds. Even if the dog looks friendly, they may turn quickly and put your safety at risk. Try to keep your distance if you do not recognize the dog as one of your neighbor’s. With these dogs, you are better off following them from a distance.

What You Can Do If You Don’t Want To Catch The Dog

If you are not comfortable trying to catch the stray dog yourself, you still have a number of different options. Here’s what you can do to try and help a stray dog:

  • Write down a description of the dog. Try to detail the color of their fur, as well as their size and any identifying features. If you know the breed, include this as well. Also include where you saw the dog and where the dog appeared to be heading.
  • Reach out to animal control and report the stray dog, using the description you wrote down. Many animal control agencies will responds as soon as possible to your call, and may ask you to continue tracking the dog. Others may take more time to respond, and will send an agent when possible.
  • You can also follow the pet, keeping a safe distance if you are worried that they may act aggressively. If you can, try to lure the dog into an enclosed area where they can be fenced off until their owner can be found.
  • You should also ask your neighbors if they are missing a dog, or if they know anyone who is. Most strays simply wander away from home, and usually not too far. If you have a neighborhood email list or social media group, reach out and post information about the dog and see if anyone claims them

How You Can Catch A Lost Dog

If the dog is friendly and appears groomed, you can consider approaching them. Here are some steps you can take to get the dog off the street:

  • Call out to them and try to bring them into a closed off yard or fenced area. Once they are contained, you can try to reach out to their owner, or call animal control if necessary.
  • If you are near your home and have treats, you can try to lure them in this way.
  • Never try to grab out or tackle the dog. Even friendly looking dogs may lash out at people they don’t know, especially when they are afraid. Always approach them slowly and never put your face in front of theirs.
  • You can also try to leash them, giving you more control and allowing you to lead them to a safe area. The best type of leash for this purpose is a slip leash, although you can use a normal leash as well. Again, always approach slowly and calmly, and try to not scare the dog. If they do not react well to the leash, don’t try to force it on them.
  • If you are driving by the dog, you can consider trying to get them to jump in the back seat. Only do this if you know that the dog is domesticated. You shouldn’t try to drive far with the dog either, as you don’t know how they will respond to being in the car.
  • As you approach a dog, never put your face directly in front of theirs. You may be tempted to reach down to try to calm them. But the dog may take this as an invasion of their personal space, and they may lash out by biting. Also be careful petting them, as they may not be comfortable with strangers touching them.

Don’t Judge A Dog By Its Appearance

If you see a mangy mutt on the street, your first thought might be that they don’t have an owner, or that the owner is abusive. But take some time to consider before you rush to a judgement.

Dogs can often be lost for long periods. They may lose collars or tags as they wonder on their own, and they may get attacked by other dogs. Just because they look neglected doesn’t mean that they have a bad owner. It could simply be a sign that they have been lost for weeks, and haven’t received any care.

If you do locate their owner, don’t report them to animal control useless you suspect that the dog was abused or neglected.

Try To Find Their Owner

Once you’ve contained the dog, you should check to see if they have any tags or if they have a microchip. These can help you quickly locate the owner and get the dog back home.

Laws vary widely by state when dealing with stray dogs. Some states require that you bring the dog to a shelter right away, where they are house for a short period. This gives the owner of the dog time to claim them. Other states allow you to house the dog yourself, provided that you report the missing dog.

Always take a dog to a shelter or a vet to scan for a tag. This is the easiest way to contact their owner and get the dog home safely. The vet can also check to make sure that they don’t have any health problems that put their life at risk, and give you advice on how you can nurse them back to health.

Make Lost Dog Flyers

You can also make flyers that advertise the missing dog. Although old fashioned, this is still one of the most effective ways of finding a dog’s owner and getting them home. Most stray dogs are owned, and are not too far from home.

Make as many copies as possible, and put them in visible areas. You should also take the flyers to local shelters, as well as vet offices. It’s also possible that the owner of the dog is making flyers as well, so keep your eye out for these.

You should also check lost dog websites. There are a number of these, many of them specific to your area. Also keep an eye out for any posts by the owner of the dog.

Adopt A Lost Dog

If you cannot find the owner, you may decide that you want to keep the dog yourself. Although this is possible in some cases, there are a number of steps you’ll need to take.

If the dog is being kept in a shelter, you may be able to get priority for adoption. Shelter policies may vary widely, so check with your local shelter about their adoption policy for lost dogs.

If you are keeping the dog at home, you’ll need to make sure that you have reported the lost dog to shelters. If the owner of the dog never comes to claim them, you may be allowed to formally adopt the dog.

You may only want to serve as a temporary guardian for the dog, until you can find them a permanent home. Reach out to local rescue groups. They can help you find a home for a dog by connecting you to interested families. They can also look for other foster parents, if you are unable to keep the dog for more than a short period.

There are also a number of websites that can help you find the dog a new home. They can find a home nearby, or search for permanent homes in other areas.

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