Day: February 14, 2024

Finding a stray dog: What to do

I Found a Stray Dog What Do I Do?

While it may be tempting to take the pet into your home, you must remember that stray animals often have health problems that can endanger you and your family. Also, if you sustain injuries while handling the animal, you will be held responsible for the medical bills.

Start by posting a picture and description on local social media pages (Facebook, neighborhood Nextdoor, Craigslist) and in the Lost and Found Pets section of your newspaper.

Call 311

Unless you live in the same city as the lost animal (in which case you would take them to your own shelter), you must contact the municipal shelter for the area where the pet was found. This is the best way to get it back to its owner.

If the dog is displaying signs of being sick or injured, you should bring it to a vet office or animal shelter to be scanned for a microchip. A microchip is the best chance of finding a missing pet’s owners, as they will receive an alert and be able to reclaim their lost family member.

Post a clear, descriptive picture of the found animal on local social media pages such as Facebook, Nextdoor, and Craigslist in your neighborhood and surrounding areas. Remember, most dogs travel less than a mile when they are lost and it may be that the dog’s owner lives nearby.

Don’t Chase

Many lost dogs are found by neighbors or family members who report them to local authorities. If the pet doesn’t have any type of identification that provides their owner with contact information, it’s best to take them to a nearby animal shelter or veterinarian. These pet professionals can help you understand your area’s animal law better and often have more experience reuniting pets with their families.

Don’t chase the animal, as this can scare or hurt them and will likely cause them to run even further away. Instead, create a barrier using a piece of clothing or rope to corner the pet, suggests the Humane Society. Entice them to stay by offering strong-smelling food, then kneel and speak calmly to them.

Be sure to post a clear picture of the pet on your social media accounts (especially Facebook, neighborhood Nextdoor, and Craigslist’s “Lost Pet” section). You should also print bright, colorful “found” pet posters to put up around your neighborhood.

Don’t Interfere

It’s important to keep your distance from a stray dog, especially if they are fearful or aggressive. Approaching a dog too closely may frighten them or make them think you are trying to capture them and take them away. If a dog seems playful, try playing games with them such as fetch or chase.

If a stray dog is not wearing a collar and has no identification, it’s best to call your local animal shelter or rescue organization. These groups are experienced with working with lost dogs and can provide a safe space for the dog while they search for its owner. You can also contact a veterinary office to see if they can check the animal for a microchip. If the animal has a chip, its owners will be able to contact a database that links their information with the animal.

Don’t Distract

Whether you intend to keep the dog while looking for its family or simply hope to return it, it is important to leave the animal alone and safe. This includes not scooping the yard, laundering soiled bedding or clothing and avoiding putting out food or garbage for your own pets. You can help by propping open all yards gates and front doors if you can do so safely. This helps preserve any scent material which could aid in the pet’s identification.

Crouch down to make yourself smaller and avoid direct eye contact when interacting with the dog. If you are able to lure the animal with food, only use food and drop it down on the ground without making eye contact. You should also choose a room in your home to contain the dog and clear small items, chemicals, plants, electrical cords, and other dangers from the space. Place a blanket on the floor for the dog to lay on and check it frequently to be sure that no accidents occur.

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