How to Approach a Lost Dog


Summer is around the corner and with plenty of beautiful sunny days, it’s natural to spend more time outside with your pets. Since doors are left open more often to let in fresh air and accidents happen where dogs can get loose from their leash, pups sometimes get loose and need help finding their homes. If you find a lost dog, it may feel unnerving to figure out what to do, but there are a few simple steps to follow so you make sure you and the pup are safe and you’re doing all you can to help them find their home.

Walk towards the dog slowly

Being lost and away from home / owners can be extremely stressful and scary for a dog and therefore their reactions may be hard to predict. Rather than immediately rushing towards the dog and grabbing for their collar, it’s important that you first pay attention to their body language and then approach them slowly with your body turned to the side. The American Kennel Club says that this approach is less intimidating and should be followed by a squat down and reach out of your hand so the dog can smell you.

Calmly encourage the dog to come towards you

Similar in how you approach, the lost dog will be watching and judging your every move. It’s important that when you get close to the pup you remain calm and smooth with your actions. If you have any treats handy, try using those to coax the dog closer. Only once they are within reach and physically calm and seemingly relaxed should you reach for the collar and slip on a leash.

Take a photo or video if you can’t approach

Sometimes lost pups can be too scared and/or too stressed to allow you to approach them. In these cases, the best thing you can do is to take a photo or video of the animal so you can provide a better description and try to help the pups’ owners solve the mystery. It’s important that you watch for signs of aggression like stiff body language, bared teeth, and hair that is standing on end so that you don’t get too close to an aggressive and potentially dangerous dog.

If you feel uncomfortable or threatened by the animal, the best thing you can do is call for help. Calling your local animal shelter or police department will help this dog get to safety and is a step in the right direction to helping them locate their home.

What to do if your pup is the one that goes missing

When pets are lost the AVMA recommends that you follow some very specific steps to try and locate your pet. One recommendation is to physically check animal control and animal shelters daily. Another recommendation is to post waterproof lost animal notices and notify local law enforcement, animal care, veterinarians, and your neighbors (you may even want to check Facebook or other online resources for your local area where they have lost pet boards). Finally, they recommend that if your pet has a microchip, you should notify the microchip registry that your animal is missing.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of microchips or the best tips to keeping your dog safe, your veterinarian can help. To schedule an appointment for your pup at Bregman Veterinary Group, click here to get started!

Recent Posts