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So, you’re driving along minding your own business when all of a sudden… you spot a dog that appears to be almost frantic.
Things begin to run through your mind! Why is this dog walking alongside the road? Are they lost? Are they sick? Or are they just homeless?
There could be a zillion reasons why dogs appear to be abandoned. They may look sickly or be injured too.
You have to put on your investigative hat in order to try to help them!
If you are one of those big-hearted souls that want to save them all, then keep reading.
Today, Pet hangout is going to give you some sensible guidelines for troubleshooting your latest cause - a doggie that appears to be in need of your help!
Goal: To do what is best for all involved, especially the distressed dog whose welfare and care you are taking upon yourself!
1 - First things, first….
All dogs roaming are NOT lost and homeless.
You need to use your good judgment here. If the dog looks healthy and runs or barks at you if you approach, then chances are great that they are just loose roaming the area for a handout.
What would be tragic here is if you pick the dog up (thinking it’s lost) and carry him or her far away from their home.
I recommend observing the dog for a little bit to see what they do. If they eventually head off in a determined and confident direction, they may just be going back home.
Obviously, you would not want to intervene in this situation unless the dog is being a threat to someone.
However, if the dog looks terrible, panting heavy, malnourished, or just plain frightened and confused, chances are very good that they are in need of your help!
2 - Safety -
You have no idea how healthy the dog is so if you decide to bring this doggie home, it’s best to secure them away from your pets. The lost dog could be diseased or too aggressive around your pets. It’s a disaster in the making.
Protect your fur babies and keep them separate until you have had the lost dog checked out.
3 - Water, water, water
If the dog has been lost for long they are most likely craving some fresh water.
A dog can only survive 3 - 7 days without water. They begin craving water after the first day.
Fill up a bowl with room temperature water and only slightly cool. Really cold water could be too extreme at first, especially if it is hot outside.
After they have drunk sufficiently and rested, you can offer them a small amount of food.
4 - Hope for a Chip or Tag...
Check for a collar and tag. Hopefully, there will be some contact info on it! Call and see who answers. Your search could be over.
No contact info?
Then, hope for a Chip. Take the dog to a vet and have them check for a microchip underneath their skin.
It’s a simple check. They hover a device over the pet and if a chip is detected, it will read it and produce some tracking information.
Normally, when pet parents chip their dog, contact information is linked to the code on the chip. Hopefully, they will at least log the vet that inserted the chip. At best, the owners’ name, address, and phone number have been updated as well.
If a chip is detected by the vet, they will normally make the first point of contact and try to coordinate with you how to get the dog reconnected with the rightful owner.
5 - Get the word out.
If no luck with a chip, your next course of action is to post, post, post.
Take some good pics of the dog so that it is very clear of their color and markings, especially their face! Use local lost & found forums. Facebook is an excellent place as well.
Also, check your local chapter of the Human Society and Animal Shelters.
While you are posting that you found a lost dog, also be searching for lost dog posts.
You might just get lucky.
6 - Visit homes in the area.
Take someone with you for safety.
Go to homes in the area where the dog was found. It might just live there!! Or someone may recognize the dog and know where their home is.
7 - Finding a new Home.
I would give it at least 2 weeks before seeking to rehome the doggie. You will need to find your comfort level of how long to search before closing down the option that they can be reunited with their owner.
Once you decide this, then it’s time to focus on a new home.
Should you keep the dog?
Will your existing fur babies accept the dog? Most will over time.
Will taking this dog into your home create too much stress for you? If so, turn your attention to finding a home. It’s important for any animal to complement your home, not stress you out!
Put the word out to your friends and family that you are looking for a good home for the dog.
Take great pics of them and get the word out.
Post on all your social media channels.
8 - Enlist help.
Find all local rescues (no kill) organizations.
Contact to find out how you can get the pup accepted by one of them.
If you are having trouble finding them a home, a rescue could greatly assist. They have many more connections with groups and organizations and know way more people.
The chances of them getting adopted into a great home go way up.
Helping a lost pet in need is a wonderful thing. Kudos to you! You will just want to first make sure that they really do need your help.
Remember, make sure to visit a vet, check for a chip, and take it from there.
Visit the homes in the area and check lost & found boards. If you search with 0 results, then examine if you can really take the lost dog in or not.
Make sure your home will be enhanced, not hampered, by the decision.
And if all else fails, reach out to local rescues for some great help!
Have you ever found a doggie in need?
How did you help them?
Please share below with our readers...
For more health-minded pet reads, check out: Why is My Poor Dog's Hair Falling Out, How To Solve Your Dog's Horrible Diarrhea, and 15 Sure-Fire Solutions For Calming Down Itchy Flea Bites.