How to Help a Lost Dog
It seems as though it happens to everyone in their lifetime: they find a lost dog who needs some help. Finding a lost dog can be stressful, as you want to be able to help the dog the best you can and return it to its owner quickly. If you find yourself in a position where you need to help a lost dog, take a look below at some helpful tips for how to help a lost dog.
Sometimes you are not the one that finds the dog but a well meaning neighbor calls you because you have a dog and asks for your help. This happened to us once. I was walking Davinia and Indiana and a lady came running up to me asking if i had lost two other dogs that look just like mine. I said no but I did know other people with multiple Cavaliers in the neighborhood so I agreed to take them and help them find their home. I checked them for a tag and looked at their collar but couldn’t find anything. I could have walked them around the block looking for their owners but figured they were tired from their adventure and so I put them in Davinia and Indiana’s crate and we went to all of the Cavalier houses I could think of. No luck everyone we know was thankfully at home and happy. So off we went to find out if they had microchips. No luck there either. I decided it was dinner time for my dogs which meant the two lost babies were probably hungry as well so I put them in a separate room to feed them and that is when I was able to get a better look at their collar which did in fact have a telephone number.
The family was so grateful and came running right over. The dogs had gotten lose by accident earlier in the day and they had spend the same several hours I had the dogs out looking for them. We became friends and went on walks with them for a while after that. They lived much further away then I was looking so we would drive over to their house in the morning and go on a long walk. It was fun and all 4 dogs were happy to have friends to hang out with.
I know it is much easier to work with a lost dog that is a breed you are familiar with because you can do things they way you would with your own dog. It helps that you can make them feel comfortable and while maybe not happy, relaxed enough to feel secure with your help.
How to Help a Lost Dog
1. Secure the dog.
As soon as you are able, secure the dog. This means placing a leash on him if he will allow. This will keep the dog safe and unable to get lost any further while you try and locate his home.
2. Look for any tags.
Dogs should be wearing a collar with ID tags, however these can come lose or be missing altogether. Always check first for a collar and tags to see if there is any identifying information such as a phone number or vet’s office number.
3. Provide nourishment.
While you attempt to locate the owners, give the dog some food and water. You may be unsure about how long he has been roaming, so providing some nourishment is vital.
4. Make some calls.
Call the numbers on the ID tag OR call your local vet to see if they can scan the dog for a microchip. They will be happy to do a scan at no cost to you and help you work with the Microchip company to reunite the pet with their owner.
5. Make a report.
Call your local pet shelter and make a report. If someone has reported a missing dog, the agency can match their report up with yours and make a match. Another place to call is your local police department. If you live in a large county chances are your local police precinct will be better able to help in the short term. Sometimes they will even come pick up the dog and keep it at the precinct for a few hours before calling animal control – if you cannot have it in your house (in cases where the dog is dirty and road tired from days out on its own and you cannot be sure that it is anything near up to date with vaccinations).
You can also report the missing animal for free to your local newspaper, take pictures and post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or social media pages. Craiglist is also a great place to list a found dog you should be really careful if you do that and make sure the person that responds is really the owner.
Once you get the word out, you will be surprised how quickly a match can be made. Follow up on all calls and inquiries and you should be able to find the dog his home in no time.
If you are unable, your local pet refuge or vet can make some suggestions on where to proceed. Good luck!