Welcome to PawMaw blogs!

What to Do with a Stray Dog at Night

What to Do with a Stray Dog at Night

Some things happen when you least expect it and in the case of pet lovers, finding a stray dog at the most unexpected time may easily qualify as a true emergency. What do you do with a stray dog at night, when animal shelters or animal rescue my already be closed? How can you make sure the animal is safe without compromising your own safety at home? Here are some of the things you should do when you have no choice but to come to the rescue of a stray after hours.

Capturing the Stray Dog

If a stray dog comes across your path and you want to help, the first thing to consider is how to safely capture the stray dog. You wouldn’t want to frighten it or it could run off to possible danger. At the same time, you also want to avoid getting hurt so you have to be extra cautious in your approach.

1.      Move slowly and don’t make any sudden movements. Try speaking to the stray dog in a firm but calm voice.

2.      Get a dog collar and leash. If you don’t have these available, you can improvise a slip leash using a belt or a rope.

3.      Lure the dog with treats. Wait for him to come to you while talking to him in reassuring tones.

4.      Don’t attempt to reach around the dog’s head or over his body until he seems to feel comfortable in your presence.

5.      If the stray dog is fearful or even aggressive, you can try securing the area to make sure he doesn’t escape. Put up a barrier using crates or a temporary fence. In the morning you can call for animal rescue to help in capturing and containing him.

Containing the Stray Dog

Once you have the stray dog leashed, what to do with a stray dog at night is to make sure he is contained in a secure and safe area.

1.      Keep him in a room or the garage away from any kids or other pets in the house.

2.      A room with a tiled or wooden floor would be ideal to keep him it as it would be easy to clean up if he makes a mess.

3.      Make sure he doesn’t have access to toxic household chemicals or plants.

4.      Keep the stray dog in a crate if you have this available. You can get him to come inside by putting in some food or treats inside.

5.      Provide him with some blankets and make sure he is warm and comfortable.

Feeding the Stray Dog

While you wait until morning to start searching for the stray dog’s owner or contacting animal rescue for help, you can feed the dog with commercial dog food or a home-prepared meal. He’s probably hungry, especially if he’s been roaming around for some time.

1.      Feed him with a moderate amount of canned dog food. Avoid overfeeding a hungry dog as this might cause diarrhea or an upset stomach.

2.      Dry dog food should be fine. If he responds well to food, gradually increase the amount you’ve giving him and establish a regular feeding schedule.

3.      If you don’t have dog food available and it’s too late at night to run to the store, you can safely feed a stray dog some unflavored biscuits, boiled carrots and potatoes, bananas, apples, or rice with milk.

4.      Don’t forget to supply fresh water all the time.

More Safety Precautions 

No matter how docile or gentle the stray dog seems to be, it’s still a dog you don’t know and you have no idea where he’s been or what he’s been through. It’s better to keep a safe distance in case he has dangerous health or behavioral problems.

1.      Keep the dog away from children and your other pets until he has seen the vet.

2.      Wash your hands often while you’re taking care of a stray.

3.      Check for fleas and ticks so you’d know to address this problem right away.

4.      You can give him a bath if he is calm and trusting enough.

5.      Don’t allow the stray dog to kiss you in the face just yet.

What to Do the Next Day

After the first night of keeping and caring for the stray dog, it’s time to take some steps in finding the dog’s owner or helping him find a new home. You may decide to adopt the stray, but there will be some things you need to do first.

1.      Call animal rescue. You have to report the stray in your care. Find out if state laws require you to turn the dog over or if you’re allowed to keep him in your care, if this is what you’d prefer.

2.      Try to locate the dog’s owner. If you’re planning on adopting the stray dog, you’ll be required by the law to make reasonable efforts to reunite the lost pet with its owner. This would typically involve:

·         Report the lost dog to PawMaw.com and making a listing on lost and found websites

·         Printing and putting up missing dog flyers all over the neighborhood. When you report a lost pet to PawMaw, you can create and download a flyer with just a few clicks.

·         Calling vet hospitals and animal shelters around the area to see if anyone has reported a missing dog matching the stray’s description

·         Taking him to the vet or the shelter to see if he has been microchipped and following up with the microchipping company on owner information


3.      You may take the dog to the shelter where it will be kept for a specific holding period before you or anyone interested can take steps to adopt the pet.

4.      If the dog remains in your care while the search for its owner is underway, you should take the dog to the vet for a full health checkup.


Taking in a stray dog is truly a compassionate thing to do for an animal that’s lost or has been abandoned. Now that you know what to do with a stray dog at night, you have to take full responsibility while he’s under your care. This means you have to ensure that beyond feeding him and giving him shelter, you also know how keep him and the people around you safe. Hopefully, you’ll be able to reunite him with his owner or help find him a new home.


2 comments on “What to Do with a Stray Dog at Night”


July 22, 2020 at 11:44

Carol says:

Lost dog wandered into my yard after hours who do I contact


September 30, 2020 at 02:26

Iwana Sorrels says:

Lost my dog last night. I live off chapel creek. Zip 76108. Mixed terroir. Black with lot’s of graying.

Leave a Comment