We all know losing our own pets would be heartbreaking. But what if you see a stray dog or cat that you suspect is lost? Most strays have a home—usually a good, loving home—but somehow got away. Many animal lovers have a hard time passing a pet that seems alone without at least wondering where he or she belongs. If you’re one of those people, here are a few tips to help get Rover or Fluffy back home:
- Determine that the pet is really lost. Is he or she walking down the street with purpose? Does the pet look street savvy? If you’re in a rural area, the animal may just be headed home.
- Look for signs he’s not a stray. True strays may look confused and scared and be dirty, thin, or haggard. Lost pets, on the other hand, will probably look well fed and groomed, and have a friendlier disposition.
- Get the pet’s attention. In order not to startle him, make a soft clucking noise with your tongue or call him gently to you. Does he have a collar with ID tags? If so, you’ve got a great shot at finding the owners right away. If not, he may have been microchipped, so take him to your local shelter or vet so that they can scan him. You don’t have to relinquish the pet to the shelter—you’re just trying to find his or her owners.
- Offer treats. Some lost pets may come to you and then shy away when you reach for them. It’s helpful to have treats or food with you. Toss the food gently to one side of the animal, not directly at him.
- Never corner a fearful animal. Be careful if a dog bears his teeth, growls, or snaps at you, or if a cat arches and hisses. It’s a good idea to leave aggressive pets alone and call animal control.
- Find a leash or crate. If the animal doesn’t have a collar, you can use a belt or tie as a makeshift collar and leash so that you can control him. In many instances, the best way of capturing a stray cat is with a humane baited crate, which you can get at a feed store or hardware store.
- Protect your passenger. Often, a pet will come if you open your car door and call him or her. If you can get a lost dog or cat into your car, crate him. If you don’t have a crate, try to secure him in the backseat. You don’t want a fearful animal jumping into your lap as you drive.
- Proceed with caution. If you take a pet home, remember that you don’t know this animal and that he may be unpredictable. Don’t corner him, leave him alone with children, or try to take food or treats away from him.
- Get the word out. If the animal doesn’t have ID or a microchip, post brightly colored FOUND DOG or FOUND CAT posters at busy intersections in the neighborhood where the pet was found. Don’t include too much information about the animal just in case a scammer contacts you.
- Next steps. If you’ve managed to catch a friendly dog or cat, make every attempt to find his owner. Call local shelters, get the animal scanned for a microchip, and check local classifieds for lost pet ads. Remember, there is a possibility that the dog or cat was dumped and now you’re his owner. Perhaps you’ll want to keep Rover or Fluffy if every attempt to find his owners has failed.
This article was written by someone else other than us at Susana Labradors. However, I thought it was worth the read. You know, from time to time we may see a lost Labrador wandering around the street. The last one I saw was a yellow Labrador adult male dog. We managed to get him to come towards us, and immediately collared him and put an appropriate sized dog chain around our mail box, so he couldn’t wander. This gave him a little room to get up and turn around but it secured him . We gave him food and water and sat with him for a while. As darkness approached, we left him to sit there on a blanket by our mailbox. Sure enough, his rightful owners came driving by looking for him and claimed him. They left me a Thank you note in the mailbox, with their name and address.
About a week later I was crossing the street and saw a few cop cars and a civilian car pulled over next to the busy street where we live off of. Apparently this same dog got out and this time was unfortunately, hit by a car. Out of curiosity, I made my way through the crowd and recognized the dog. I alerted the officer, that I knew where the owners lived. I ran home and grabbed their business card they had left me and my work for the day was done.
I don’t know the outcome of this poor dog that kept breaking out of their gate, if he lived or died. But without dog collars for Identification, or a microchip implant, it is a big mystery as to how to get these dogs home. Luckily for him I was there. The odd thing is that I rarely get opportunity to leave my ranch, as I am kept so busy raising and training our Labrador’s here. I just happened to be out on foot that day and it was as if I was supposed to be there right at that time for the livelihood of this poor dog. Otherwise, no one would have known where this dog lived and the owners may not have checked the veterinarian’s offices.
Before we let one of our precious yellow Labrador puppies go to a new owner, I always ask “how will my puppy be living”? Just to make sure that they have proper gating and fencing. Most people who buy our Labrador puppy’s will love them and care for them, but it is a constant caring as they grow and change and develop personality’s. Some dogs can be jumpers or diggers left alone to their own accord and tragedies can happen with a dog that is bored.
So keep an eye on your dog, be sure it is safe for him if you leave your property. We suggest a commercial kennel or run that is puppy/dog safe for him to live in while you are away. Check our web site on How to build your own.