There are nearly 50 million households in the United States that own at least one dog. Dogs can serve as amazing companions, and this is one of the many reasons why they’re such popular pets.
Unfortunately, people sometimes lose track of their dogs. If you happen to find a lost puppy, there are certain guidelines you should follow. Let’s explore the key information you should know about what to do if you find a dog.
Approaching the Dog
If you notice a lost dog wandering around, you should avoid rushing over to it. Lost dogs are often tired, hungry, and scared.
The last thing you want is for the animal to think you’re a threat, and not all dogs are inherently friendly. Consider the dog’s body language.
If it seems relaxed or happy, approach it slowly while turning your body to the side. This positioning is less intimidating than a frontal approach. Squat down and extend your hand slowly, allowing the dog to approach and smell you.
Once the dog is comfortable with your presence, you can reach for its collar if it’s wearing one. Under no circumstances should you attempt to restrain a dog that does not willingly approach you.
Signs to look out for include a dog baring its teeth, having its hair stand on end, etc. There’s a chance the dog could have rabies, so it’s essential to take any sign of aggression seriously.
It’s also important to remember tail wagging only signifies emotional stimulation. It doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is happy.
If you’re concerned about the dog’s behavior, call your local animal control facility. Take a picture or video of the animal if you can’t safely approach it.
This will help you describe the dog to others, and you can also show animal control what the dog looks like if it leaves before they arrive.
Keeping It Safe
If you’re able to take the dog with you, it’s important to shelter it appropriately. Since you don’t know anything about the dog, don’t let them mingle with other pets you have. There’s a chance that it could have parasites or diseases that could spread to your other animals.
You should keep the dog confined in a separate room or in a fenced backyard while you look for the owner. If you aren’t able to find the dog’s owner, consider taking it to a local animal shelter.
They have the knowledge and resources required to take care of it. In most cases, though, sheltering a lost dog is a simple process that many people find enjoyable.
Caring For It
If you plan to keep the dog for more than a few hours, provide it with food and water. You won’t have insight into the dog’s dietary restrictions, so it’s best to pick up a small bag of basic dog food. Avoid feeding the animal food that humans typically eat.
You don’t have to leave the dog by itself during its stay. If it’s friendly, feel free to play with it. If the dog is scared, comfort it by keeping it company.
It’s not uncommon for found dogs to experience immense amounts of stress. After all, they often end up in unfamiliar environments surrounded by strangers.
If the dog doesn’t seem to want human interaction, give it space. Be sure to check on it periodically while you search for the owner.
Most lost dogs will have collars with ID tags. These contain the owner’s contact information, which often includes their personal cell phone number. Some dog owners give their dogs a Smart Pet ID tag, which allows people to scan a QR code.
Many of these situations are resolved when the person who found the dog reaches out to its owner. If the dog doesn’t have ID tags or you can’t get in touch with the owner, veterinary clinics and animal shelters have scanners that can locate the presence of the microchip.
Depending on the type of microchip, scanning it may automatically contact the dog’s owner. Other chips will simply provide the owner’s information. At this point, either you or someone from the shelter/clinic can contact the owner.
Contacting the Owner
Sometimes, it can be difficult to get in touch with a dog’s owner. Their number might be out of service, or they might not respond to missed phone calls.
You can attempt to find them on social media, but this may not be an easy task. For example, if they have a common name like “Steven Smith,” you might not have much luck. You can still leverage social media by posting a picture or video of the animal.
Ask your friends or followers if they know who the animal belongs to. Give as much detail as possible, such as unique characteristics about the dog, where you found it, etc.
You can even put up flyers around the local area. This will help further expand your reach and make it more likely you will reconnect the dog with its owner.
Return a Lost Puppy ASAP
It’s essential to return a lost puppy as soon as possible. Both the animal and the owner are likely stressed and anxious.
As long as you take the right steps, you’ll have no problem helping the dog find its way home. Our blog has many lifestyle articles that can help you handle situations like these. Check them out today to see what you can learn!