What Should I Do If I Find a Lost Dog?

Diana Bocco
Diana Bocco
Most newspapers will publish "lost pet" ads for free.
Most newspapers will publish "lost pet" ads for free.

The scenario is more common than you can imagine: You are driving or walking somewhere and you suddenly cross paths with a lost dog. What do you do? You usually only have a few seconds to make a decision and to act on it. If you are an animal lover, the choice is pretty simple: you stop and help the animal. Things are not as simple as they sound, however, so here are some tips on how to deal with a lost dog from Pettable.

Contact information for a pet owner can typically be found on a dog's tags.
Contact information for a pet owner can typically be found on a dog's tags.

Being prepared to take in a lost dog requires some preparation on your part. A few simple things kept in your car can mean a world of difference when it comes to dealing with a scared or injured animal. At a minimum, make sure you carry a leash and a heavy blanket, so you can restrain a lost dog without the risk of injury. Keep a bottle of water and a can of food in your trunk, so you can use it as an enticement to approach the animal. A basic first-aid kit is also a great idea, but only if you do research first and understand what should and shouldn't be done when dealing with an injured animal. Always think about your own safety first. Even the kindest dog can attack when scared or in pain, so proceed with caution.

Classified ads in a local newspaper could potentially be read by thousands of people.
Classified ads in a local newspaper could potentially be read by thousands of people.

If you don't feel confident about your own safety or the safety of the dog, call the police or the ASPCA and wait for them to arrive to help you. If you can restrain the lost dog, take him to a safer area, away from traffic and loud noises; or drive to the nearest shelter or animal hospital, where professionals can check for identification tags or microchips. Keep in mind, though, that a veterinarian may not be able to provide extensive care for an injured lost dog unless you are ready to assume financial responsibility for the medical bills.

If you are nowhere near an official organization, you can choose to take the lost dog home with you temporarily. If that's the case, keep him away from your own pets to protect each other from potential contagious diseases and fights.

If you find a lost dog, check the area for lost dog flyers that may be posted by the animal's owner.
If you find a lost dog, check the area for lost dog flyers that may be posted by the animal's owner.

You can up the chances for a lost dog to find her way back home by posting signs in the area where the animal was found and by reporting the lost dog to local shelters, even if you decide to keep him at home with you. Some newspapers have a "Lost and Found" section where you can check for ads of people who have lost their pets; if there is nothing there, consider publishing your own "Found" ad. Most newspapers will do this for free for lost dogs and other pets.

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Discussion Comments

anon125361

I found a dog on my front porch and I brought him in the house. What is my next step? I can't have dogs where I live.

anon89141

i found a brown and white female dog. she's really friendly just a little nervous and i found her wondering the streets of solomen homes with no collar or anything, but she doesn't look neglected. what should i do?

anon74918

i found a black lab with a chain without tags. what can i do? he is a good boy. I posted some signs in the area but nobody called. I want to keep him.

anon67191

I found a dog sitting in front of a house on my street and her owners are nowhere to be found. what should I do?

anon12434

I found a dog on a chain and it's a pitbull what should i do ????

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    • Most newspapers will publish "lost pet" ads for free.
      By: by-studio
      Most newspapers will publish "lost pet" ads for free.
    • Contact information for a pet owner can typically be found on a dog's tags.
      By: Alexey Stiop
      Contact information for a pet owner can typically be found on a dog's tags.
    • Classified ads in a local newspaper could potentially be read by thousands of people.
      By: Feng Yu
      Classified ads in a local newspaper could potentially be read by thousands of people.
    • If you find a lost dog, check the area for lost dog flyers that may be posted by the animal's owner.
      By: fergregory
      If you find a lost dog, check the area for lost dog flyers that may be posted by the animal's owner.
    • An animal shelter is a safe place to take a found dog.
      By: Robert Hoetink
      An animal shelter is a safe place to take a found dog.