Lost Or Found A Dog? Here’s What To Do…

Summary: In this blog, we learn all about lost dogs. We’ll find out what to do if you find a lost dog, and what to do if you lose yours. Learn about how to find a lost dog and effective ways of looking for them, how to care for a lost dog, and who to […]

Oct 08, 2023·6 min read
Lost Or Found A Dog? Here’s What To Do…

Summary: In this blog, we learn all about lost dogs. We’ll find out what to do if you find a lost dog, and what to do if you lose yours. Learn about how to find a lost dog and effective ways of looking for them, how to care for a lost dog, and who to alert…


Found Lost Dog? Here’s How To Approach Them…

I found a lost dog!” 

So, you’ve found a dog that looks like they’re somewhere they’re not meant to be. Instinctively, we want to make sure that any dog is safe but we also need to remember to protect ourselves as not all dogs are friendly… 

If you think a dog is lost and needs your help, try to approach them calmly and pay attention to their body language. Turn your body to the side as you approach; head-on can be intimidating for a frightened, unsure pooch. Squat low, and offer your hand for them to sniff. Keep your body sideways and don’t make direct eye contact until the dog is obviously by your side and comfortable. Then either reach for their collar or attach a leash if you have one. 

If they won’t approach and you have any food or treats handy, you can attempt to tempt them over with these too.

If you have any concerns that the dog isn’t happy to be approached (baring their teeth, hair standing on end, a stiff body) it’s time to make contact with either the local police department or animal control who can collect the dog safely and professionally. 

PetLab Co. Pro Tip: If the dog won’t let you approach, try to take a picture or video of them so you can share this with the relevant authorities and/or social media. 

a red haired spaniel like dog in woodland looking around whilst stood atop a pile of logs

What To Do Next

So, you’ve now got a lost dog in your care, either on a leash, by the collar, or in your car. You need to think about how long you can realistically look after the dog until you can get to a shelter or contact their owner. 

This question may be answered for you if the dog has ID tags on their collar. Call the number on them and leave a message. If there’s no tag on them, a shelter or vet will be able to scan their microchip or check them for identity tattoos. They will either offer to contact the owner for you or offer up contact details to you. 

However, you may not be able to get to a shelter or vet straight away and may decide to take your found lost dog home with you. If you do this and have other household members or have other pets, make sure they don’t mingle as your found lost dog may have parasites, fleas, or another contagious health issue. They also may be scared and confused which can make a dog aggressive. Until a vet or a shelter can look them over, it’s best to play safe so confine them to one room away from your other animals, children, and family members and offer them some food, comfortable bedding, and clean water. 

If you’re struggling to contact an owner via microchip, tattoo, or ID tags then it’s time to involve your community. Post their picture and where you found them on social media, print flyers to share around your neighborhood, and contact local vets and animal shelters so if the owner contacts them they can put them in touch with you.

If no one contacts you to claim the dog, it’s up to you whether to find them a new home, give them to a shelter or adopt them. If an owner does claim them, make sure to re-notify those you’ve contacted about the dog so they can take them off their lists. 

How To Find A Lost Dog

I lost my dog!” OK, first things first, panicking isn’t going to help when you lose a dog. Take a deep breath and try to stay calm: this will help keep your mind clear and thinking logical. 

As soon as you notice your dog is lost, begin searching within a 2-mile radius and ask your friends and neighbors to help you look. Instruct them with the commands that your pup usually responds to and bring their favorite treats, food, and toys to help entice them back.

A small Yorkshire Terrier runs along a concrete road next to woodland during Fall

Report Lost Dog

If you’ve had no luck after a few hours, it’s time to notify your local shelters and local police department and provide them with an accurate, thorough description and photograph if you have one. It is also worth notifying the fire department, local veterinarian offices, dog groomers, pet stores, and dog parks. You can also call back these businesses and facilities regularly for any updates. 

Next, you can post across all of your social media platforms and in local online groups and ask your friends to share your posts. You can also put up posters and post flyers with a picture of your pup through your neighborhood’s doors. Be persistent and remain optimistic!

Lost Dog Prevention

The best way to prevent your dog from becoming lost is by microchipping them and equipping them with ID tags. A collar can easily slip off your pooch’s neck or break off, so having a microchip will help reduce the chances of losing your fur baby as any vet will be able to see that your dog belongs to you. In this case, they will be able to identify your pup and contact you straight away.

You must also keep your contact information up to date on them. Moving house or changing your cell number? Update their collar and microchip details immediately. 

If your dog is off the leash a lot, no matter how well they’re trained, you could also consider a GPS collar that’s equipped with a tracker. 

Training is key when it comes to lost dog prevention. Their recall should be as good as it can be and you should practice this often. If you’re concerned about their obedience, consider engaging with a local, ethical, kind dog trainer who can help you improve their recall.


“Lost Dog? What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing” Jul 6. 2021, American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/lost-dog-what-to-do-pet-goes-missing/

Author Gibeault, Stephanie MSc, CPDT “What To Do If You Find A Lost Dog” Apr 14. 2021, American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/advice/what-to-do-if-you-find-a-lost-dog/

Sarah MiltonS

Sarah Milton

Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!

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The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or veterinary advice. PetLab Co. is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If your pet has, or you suspect your pet has any medical condition, you are urged to consult your veterinarian. Medical conditions can only be diagnosed by a licensed veterinarian. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Results May Vary. Not intended for human consumption. Please consult your veterinarian regarding any change in treatment or supplementation.
*In Amazon Pet Health Category in 2022
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