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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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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