What to Do if you Find a Lost Dog

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: January 29, 2017
What to Do if you Find a Lost Dog

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Here at AnimalWised we want to do our best to stand in solidarity with all lost or abandoned dogs and to help them as we can. If you find a lost dog, it is necessary that you follow these indications to return them to their owners, if possible.

Keep reading in order to learn what to do if you find a lost dog.

You may also be interested in: What to Do if you Find an Abandoned Cat

What should you do?

It is sadly quite common that people that find a lost or abandoned dog ignore the situation instead of acting to solve the problem because they just don't know what to do. Other people have the wrong idea about what happens to found dogs, so they believe that by not acting they are helping the dog by leaving them out there.

So, what should you do if you find a lost dog?

  • Get closer to the dog as calmly as possible. If you chase them or corner them, it is quite likely that the dog will be come threatening and defensive.
  • Crouch down a bit; if the dog thinks you're very tall, they might be scared of you.
  • Offering food to a dog is a good way to establish communication. If they are hungry, they will probably accept the food without question.
  • Get the dog to come with you as softly and gently as you can. You can talk to them as long as you don't sound threatening.
  • The first thing to do is to take the lost dog to a vet as soon as possible. Only a specialist can read the chip with the name and contact information from the owner. A veterinary is legally obliged to read the chip for free.
  • If the animal doesn't have a chip and you want to keep it at home while you look for their owners, we recommend using specialized sites and social media to find them.
  • If you can't or don't want to keep the dog at your home, we recommend taking them to an animal shelter where volunteers will look for a home for them.
What to Do if you Find a Lost Dog - What should you do?

Legal status of lost dogs in shelters

Every country has a different legal system, and so the status of animals in shelters varies. Some countries do permit euthanizing healthy dogs that are not claimed after a certain time period. The penalization for mistreatment and abuse of animals is also different in every country and state.

In the United States there is no national organization or government regularization of animal shelters, although some states do oversee that animals in kennels, shops and shelters are well cared for. Dogs - and other animals - can be euthanized in shelters, even if they are perfectly healthy, due to space or economic reasons.

If you find a lost dog and you live in the U.S., reach out to your local or closest humane society for advice. If you leave the dog at a no-kill shelter, make sure personally that their living conditions will be up to a certain standard.

Most shelters in India are no-kill, although the legal status of lost animals depends on the policies of each city. Here you can learn more about the rights of street animals in India. Mexico, on the other hand, is one of the countries with most dog killings every years. Chipping dogs is not a very widespread practice, and many are given away or abandoned before two years have passed.

What to Do if you Find a Lost Dog - Legal status of lost dogs in shelters

If you want to read similar articles to What to Do if you Find a Lost Dog, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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