A dog wandering alone on the streets may be a wild dog, or it may be an abandoned animal. Most people feel the need to try and help if that’s the case, but there are a few important things to remember when interacting with a stray pet.
1. Assess the Dog’s Physical State
Most abandoned pets will be confused and lost, but they also might be suffering from other ailments. They might have been injured in a fight, suffering from exposure to the elements, or even be infected with rabies.
It’s important to be mindful of how the dog looks before trying to approach it.
If the dog seems to be bleeding, is exhibiting symptoms of rabies, or seems very aggressive, it’s best to stay close and call your local animal rescue services.
2. Approach the Dog
If it’s safe to do so, you can try and show the animal that it can trust you. Speak softly and try to pet it’s head, making sure to let the dog sniff you and get used to you.
You may feel anxious to get the abandoned puppy indoors and safe as soon as possible, but they may be unwilling to come with you just yet. A scared puppy may have been abused in the past, making it difficult for someone to approach it.
Build up its trust with love (and maybe a little food) until it lets you handle it.
3. Check for Ownership
You’ll be able to see if it has a tag or collar right away. This might indicate that it isn’t abandoned, but lost. You should make a good faith effort to return the dog to its family in case they’re looking for their stray animal.
If you see a tag but the number on it doesn’t pick up, try phoning the local police. The owner will sometimes notify the police to help them look for a runaway or lost pet.
4. Get the Abandoned Animal to a Vet
If you’re fairly sure the owner won’t be coming to collect the dog, it’s essential to get the animal checked up at a local veterinarian. They can check if it has a microchip for free, as well as check to see if the animal is suffering from heart-worm or fleas.
5. Check With a Shelter
Whether you decide to offer your home to it or not, it’s important to let your local animal shelter know you’ve found the stray pet.
If previous methods of identification haven’t worked, then letting the proper authorities know you have the dog can at least give the owners a fighting chance that their pet will be returned to them. You can also put out an ad in a local newsletter or craigslist.
Your Next Steps
If the pet is truly abandoned or has no identification whatsoever then you have a choice to either:
- Release the animal to a humane, no-kill shelter
- Try to rehome the dog to another loving family
- Start the process of adopting the abandoned puppy yourself
No matter what you choose, just taking the time to try and help an abandoned animal can mean the world to them. For more tips on how to be an awesome human to your furry friend, check out our other articles on pets!