How to deal with a lost dog

Finding a lost or stray dog can be a distressing situation and it is difficult to know whether to approach the dog as you don’t actually know anything about it.

A frightened, sick or distressed dog may behave in an unpredictable manner so it is always important to evaluate the potential risks to both you and the dog. If a dog looks like it may become aggressive it is advised to stay away and warn local authorities of the sighting.

The following tips will help to greatly improve your chances of reuniting a stray dog with its owner:

Assume that no matter what the condition of the dog or what it looks like that it belongs to a loving home. Dogs that have escaped from a home may pick up injuries or be hungry and dehydrated. So do not assume because that they are in a bad physical condition that this is the fault of the owners.


By law you are required to take a dog to a local pound or dog shelter where owners can reclaim them back. It is the first place that owners look. If you are reluctant to take the dog to a pound for fear that it may be euthanised, ask if they will let you temporarily foster the dog.

Checking the dog’s collar is the most obvious step to finding the owner. Also check for tattoos that may be inside the dog’s ear or on the inside of the leg. Many dogs nowadays are microchipped, which increases the chances of reuniting it with its owner.

Looking in the local papers , and keep an eye out for posters in your neighbourhood. You may want to put up posters of your own.

If someone does contact you to claim the dog, question them carefully to make sure that they are genuine. Finally, when reuniting the dog with the owner then make sure that someone else knows where you are going or comes along with you.