Dogs sometimes get lost for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s because of chasing other animals, mating drive, or the urge to explore, about 11%-16% of dogs will go missing within a period of five years. As a dog owner, you understand very well how distressing it could be to find your pet missing. This leads to the question, what do I do when I found a lost dog? Seeing a dog that clearly belongs to someone loose on the street definitely needs intervention from you. These are some of the things you can do to help reunite a lost dog with its owner.
Capturing the Dog Safely
The first step to saving a lost dog is getting him out of harm’s way. You need to capture him without endangering yourself. Stray dogs can be defensive or aggressive so you have to be careful when making the initial approach.
1. Park your car off the road.
What to do when found a lost dog while you’re driving? Stay calm and try not to get yourself into an accident. Pull over first and put on your hazard lights.
2. Grab a leash or prepare an emergency harness.
A leash would come in handy if you’re wondering what to do with a found lost dog. Try making an emergency harness to safely capture the dog you’ve found wandering across the road or anywhere it shouldn’t have been. Use it once you can get close enough to the dog. If you have any type of rope in the car, you can use that as an emergency harness.
3. Approach slowly and carefully.
Approach very slowly as you call the dog to you. Use a calm and gentle voice. You need to appear as nonthreatening as possible. Remember, the dog may already be feeling confused, disoriented, or distressed. He may even be injured, which would make him more dangerous.
4. Offer food or treats.
You may offer food or treats to entice the dog to come closer. If the dog runs, don’t try to chase as it will only scare him more and drive him towards more dangerous situations.
5. Lure him to your car.
Without leaving your car, you can also try opening your car door and calling out in an excited voice. Some dogs would be more than happy to jump in.
6. Keep the dog safe.
While you work towards finding the missing dog’s owner, keep him in an enclosed, well-ventilated area at home. Don’t allow him near your own pets just yet. Take him to the vet for a checkup, especially if he’s been injured.
7. Call animal control.
What to do when you found a lost dog that’s acting a little too fearful or aggressive? The best course of action might be to seek the help of professionals from animal control. If you’re concerned about the welfare of the dog, you can actually work with these organizations in locating the owner. If you wish, you may express your interest in adopting if no owners show up within their designated “stray hold” time.
Get the Dog’s Identification
Identifying the missing dog is the next step on what to do if you found a lost dog. The sooner you find the owner’s contact information, the easier it would be to find them.
8. Check his tags.
Most dogs would be wearing identification collar tags with information on his owner’s address and contact information. Search the tags and immediately contact the owner to inform them that you’ve found their missing dog.
9. Have him scanned for microchip information.
Lost pet statistics show that 52% of microchipped dogs are safely returned to their owners. When you take the dog to the animal clinic for a checkup, have them scan for microchip information as well. Other places equipped with microchip scanners include animal shelters, pet supply stores, and local animal control organizations.
Spread the Word About a Missing Dog
Once you’ve completed the crucial steps on what to do if you found a lost dog--getting the dog to safety and finding some identification--it’s time to get the word out that a missing pet is in your possession.
10.Contact animal shelters.
Reporting to animal shelters is definitely on top of the list of what to do if a lost dog is found. Animal shelters would be among the first places owners of missing pets would be checking. You can contact nearby shelters and provide them with a photo and a description of the dog you found.
11.Print and post flyers.
Increase the chances of returning the lost dog in your care back to its owner by posting and distributing flyers to as many places as possible. Make a “found pet” report on PawMaw.com, where you can create a printable flyer fairly quickly, and for free. All you have to do is upload a photo, a description, and your contact details to have a flyer ready for printing. Reporting on PawMaw.com also alerts the community and lets you reach more people in your immediate location.
Now that you have the poster ready, put them up in animal clinics, pet supply stores, animal shelters, bus stops, commercial centers, and public places. The more people can see them, the greater chances of the dog reuniting with its owner.
12.Post in classified listings.
Another way to get the word out is by placing listings on lost & found sites online, public boards, and classifieds. Make sure you include a detailed description, your contact details, and a clear photo of the dog in your care.
Here are some more ideas what you should do:
So, what next? You may have done everything that you possibly can and if you get a response soon, then that’s absolutely great! But if you don’t, you have to entertain the possibility that you might be getting any leads or responses for weeks or even months. Naturally, you’ll feel responsible for the missing dog who found himself in your loving arms. You may either find a new foster home for him, leave him in a shelter, or decide to adopt him yourself. What’s next for him is entirely up to you, so decide wisely!