What should you do when you see a dog wandering around your neighborhood alone? If you find a stray dog, it’s more than likely that there is an owner searching for him or her. Here are some tips to give the animal the best chance of being reunited with their owner.

Safety first

The very first thing you should do if you see a stray dog is consider the safety of the dog and of yourself. A frightened and maybe injured dog may behave unpredictably. A sudden move might scare him, causing him to run out in front of a car or even attack you. Approach the animal slowly and speak calmly. If you are driving and see a loose dog, react as calmly as possible. Slamming on the brakes could get you in an accident or scare the dog into running away or into traffic. If the dog looks or acts threatening in any way, or if you feel uncomfortable about the situation, stay a bit away and notify local animal control authorities.

When you see a stray dog: Always consider the safety of the dog and yourself.

Check tags

No matter how the dog behaves or what it looks like, it is probably owned and loved by someone who wants it back. If you see a tag and it is possible to approach the dog, you should check the tag for identifying information and call the owner. But never take the collar off a stray dog. If the pet escapes your care, he will be without identification and even harder to get back home. Also, don’t assume the pet does not have an owner if he’s without a collar. Collars can come off easily and could be lost on the streets. Or maybe the owner removed it to give the dog a bath a bath.

found dog with Tractive GPS tracker

Look for a microchip or a tracking device

Take the dog to a vet’s office where they have special equipment to scan for a microchip. Dog microchips are tiny electronic devices containing identification information that are injected under the skin of pets to provide permanent, positive identification. The vet will then contact microchip registries and tell them the ID number. They will tell the owners that the dog has been found. You can also look for a tracking device, like the Tractive GPS tracker, on the collar of the dog. A tracking device usually has an ID number on the back, which can lead you to the owner of the dog.

Lost & found posters

Check the area for any “LOST DOG” posters. If the dog has been missing for days, there might be posters with contact information. However, if the dog has escaped within the last few hours, there might not be any posters yet. Be sure to check within a few km for “LOST DOG” posters. Chances are there is an owner who desperately wants his or her companion home.

Have you ever found a stray dog? Please share your story with us.