How to Handle a Stray Dog

how to handle a stray dogWe all have experienced that terrifying feeling when we think we have lost our tail-wagging companion. Hopefully, your dog was returned to you by another friendly pet owner. We get a pit in our stomachs when we see a dog alone on the streets and since we are pet lovers we cant just ignore it. But what is the proper way to deal with a stray dog? Read the tips below so you know exactly what to do the next time you spot a homeless or lost dog.


  • Stay Calm: Its important that you keep your cool during these situations. If you see a dog running through traffic while you are driving, do not swerve or slam on your breaks. It can cause a serious accident. Instead pull over, take note of the area, and call animal rescue for help. If you see a dog dodging cars from afar, do not run over to them and try to stop them because this can distract cars, bikers, and pedestrians causing more danger for everyone. Instead, wait for them to reach safety then confront the situation.
  • Careful Approach: Before taking action, make sure the dog is actually lost and not just briefly unaccompanied by their owner. Keep in mind that you don’t know this dog or what its capable of, always protect yourself. The dog might suffer from abuse, neglect or severe trauma that made him/her defensive. Homeless dogs are not usually up to date on their vaccines. If the dog seems aggressive, bring a barrier with you for protection like a tennis racket. Reminder: Do not use it as a weapon but to prevent the dog from attacking you. Build a relationship with the pup by offering treats. Work slowly, calmly and be extra sensitive to their needs. Hopefully, they become more comfortable so you can put a leash on them. If they are still behaving aggressively, call the animal rescue center and explain the situation to them. 
  •  The Search: If the dog has tags, use that information and call the owner immediately. If not, take the dog to the veterinarian or shelter to see if he/she has a microchip. You can choose to keep the dog at the animal shelter or foster it at home. There are several ways you can find the rightful owner. Use Craiglist to report a missing dog on a post, ask all local shelters if there were any reports of a lost dog and hang their picture up around the neighborhood or place they were found. If it has been more than two weeks and you still haven’t had any luck, most people will adopt the dog temporarily until they can find a loving home.

If you have a stray dog and have yet to find their owner, feel free to post their picture on our Facebook wall and we’ll keep our paws crossed!