If you’ve ever returned home to discover your dog is missing, you know how horrific the feeling is. Your heart drops, panic sets in, the “what if’s” start circulating in your mind…
It’s a nightmare that happens all TOO often. In fact, the American Humane Association estimates one out of three pets will become lost at some point during their lifetime. That's why it is SOOOO important to keep updated tags on your dog as well as have them microchipped!!! Anyhoo, let’s turn the tables and talk about what do you do if you’re the lucky person who FINDS a lost dog running around.
This actually happened to me last night which is why I wanted to do a refresher course on the do’s and don’ts for everyone!
DO ATTEMPT TO CORRAL THE DOG:
-Get down on the dog’s level and urge the pup to come to you (if you live in an area where you see lost animals often, keep a slip leash and can of wet, smelly dog food at all times)
Example of a slip leash:
-Attempt to move the dog out of the street and into a safer location & pick up the dog or use a slip leash to safely handle (if possible)
DO CHECK FOR ANY CONTACT INFORMATION:
-Once you’re able to handle the dog, check for any collars or tags and contact any information
-If there aren’t any tags, try knocking on doors near where you located the dog (ONLY IF IT’S SAFE TO DO SO)
-Take the dog to an animal shelter or veterinarian office to have them scan the dog for a microchip
DO TRY TO SEARCH FOR THE OWNER:
-If you can hold on to the dog while you search, start by posting large flyers/posters around the neighborhood where you found the dog. Use large letters and bright poster board to catch people’s attention.
-Post to online websites like Facebook, Craigslist, Next Door, Paw Boost, etc…
-Post “Found Dog” Flyers at the local shelters closest to where you found the dog and also post around dog related businesses like groomers, dog parks, boarding facilities, veterinarians, etc…
- Always make anyone who calls, or emails PROVE that it’s their dog by questioning them about distinguishing marks or the gender of the dog or ask them to provide photos for proof that the pup belongs to them
-Reunite dog and owner in a neutral location and observe dog’s behavior to ensure it’s happy to return home
-If you need to bring the dog to a shelter, go to the one closest to where you found him/her
DON’T ASSUME THE DOG WILL FIND IT’S WAY HOME:
-Dogs are smart BUT they still need our help when they get lost, so please don’t just leave a dog to fend for itself. It’s parents might be visiting a friend or have brought it on vacation, so it might not know the area and end up getting into serious trouble
DON’T KEEP THE DOG:
-If you find a lost dog, it is not legally yours. That means you have to search for it’s owner and wait the required amount of time ( which differs depending on where you live) before you can legally claim it to be your own dog.
DON’T ALWAYS TRUST PEOPLE WHO RESPOND TO YOUR “FOUND DOG” ADVERTISEMENT:
-Most people are wonderful and have the best of intentions, but there are some people that don’t. Because of that, PLEASE be extra cautious when anyone comes forward claiming to be the owner of the dog you found. Make them show photos to prove it and/or ask them specific questions regarding markings, abnormalities, etc…that may be present on the dog.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: As always, use common sense when approaching any dogs that you don't know an and please call your local shelter or animal control if you run into any problems with lost or found animals.