Found a Stray Dog? Here’s what to do!

There’s nothing cuter than having a dog run up to you when you are just going about your daily business.

You wouldn’t be blamed for just wanting to give the little fella a stroke and show it some love, but what do you do if you see a dog that’s not so playful?

There’s nothing wrong in assuming that the dog has just been trained to stay away from strangers, but you may notice the signs that the dog is in fact a stray and is actually too scared to react to human interaction.

Legally, you can’t own a stray dog – however, if you are looking to re-home the dog, then you should leave any details with your local dog warden.
The RSPCA state on their website that they simply don’t have the resources to collect stray dogs, with sick and/or injured dogs being their top priority.
So between finding the dog and waiting for the dog warden, what do you do?
There are some certain factors that you will need to consider when taking in or looking after a stray, and that is why we are here to help today with our guide!

Approach with caution

Knowing the history of the dog can be hard to tell from a distance, and there is a big possibility that they could be scared. If you are unsure about their behaviour, don’t approach them, just wait for the dog warden to turn up who will deal with them in the correct manner.

Check Tags/Collar

Before moving any further, you should first look to see if the dog is wearing any form of identification in the form of an address or a phone number. This is an important step to complete, as if the dog has a way of being identified it can be easily returned to the owner and save you a lot of time!

Report the dog as missing

If you didn’t manage to find a way to identify the dog, the next step would be to report the dog to your local council as missing. They can then put the message out further to local vets and practices and give the dog and the owner a better chance of being reunited.

Ring Rescue Centres and Local Vets

Similar to reporting the dog to the council, it’s also advised that you ring your local vet and/or rescue centre to report the dog or to enquiry if they’ve had any missing dog reports that match the description of the one that you have found.

Check for infections/injuries

It is possible that the dog could have been wandering around for days and may have come in to contact with some not so nice objects. Give the dog a quick once-over to verify that they are in a healthy state – of course, it is expected that you will safeguard the dog while they are in this state, but you wouldn’t want to put a dog with an infection in to contact with your dog (if you own one). Everything should be okay, but if you notice anything out of the ordinary (health-wise) then you should get them checked out at a vet as quickly as possible.

Get them scanned

Microchipping is now a legal requirement for dog owners (as of April 2016), so – provided the owner is acting legally, you should be able to take the dog to get their chip scanned which should identify who owns the dog and reunite them.

Some things to note

  • To avoid being accused of theft, it’s critical to inform your dog warden before taking in a stray dog – from a moral as well as a legal perspective.
  • How will others in your household react? It’s important to note that your family/roommates/pets might not react to well to a stranger entering the property. If you have any pets, it’s best to keep them out of the way as the stray may be in a fragile state.
  • Once you have informed the dog warden of the stray, you are then obliged to keep the dog for a period of 28 days. After which you don’t legally own the dog, but you are entitled to take care of the dog as if it were your own – provided the original owner doesn’t turn up with legal documents proving ownership of the dog.

We hope that you are better informed on what to do should you find a stray dog wandering the streets.

It is likely that there will be no issues regarding their health or wellbeing, but it is always good to know what to do and what is safe. Should you ever come across a stray and you find yourself not knowing how to act, contacting a dog warden is the safest bet to ensure their safety.

Have we helped prepare you if you ever find a stray? Maybe we left something out? Get in touch with us over on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!