Advice if you Found a Dog


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Here is what you should do if you find a lost dog:

Leash the dog but be careful !

  • If the dog appears friendly and comes up for a pet get a collar and leash on the dog. You cannot control a dog just by having a hand on the leash.

  • Be very careful !  Some dogs can become frightened from efforts to control and may bite or attempt escape when collaring and leashing.

  • Keep the dog calm using a soft, reassuring voice. Treats can help.

  • Be VERY careful if the dog appears injured or very fearful. If in doubt call a professional animal control expert.

Contain the dog

  • If you have a kennel or dog crate use it to contain the dog.

  • If you do not have a space or kennel restrain the dog to a post or tree with a chew proof line. Many dogs that are found have already escaped from a kennel or tie out line.

  • Give the dog immediate access to water. Dogs can go days without food but not so without water.

  • Containing the dog in a house or shed can result in damage from chewing or elimination. Choose wisely, not all dogs are house broken. 

If you have the dog for several days you will have to:

  • Feed, water and give some exercise opportunity to the dog. Start feeding slowly to insure there are no adverse reactions to the food.

If the dog is injured:

  • Handle the dog very carefully! Even a well trained and highly socialized dog can become aggressive when injured. 

  • Take the dog to a vet if possible. If not, call animal control or call a local vet who might be willing to make a house call. 

  • Make sure that the vet knows that this is not your dog and that you are performing a humanitarian service.

  • You may have to make a decision about paying for services.

Determine if there is contact information

  • Dog tags with contact information

  • Rabies tags 

  • Collars with ID tags

  • Tattoos - Usually on the inside of the ears or on the belly side

  • Chips - You can only determine this from having a Vet scan the animal with a reader.

  • Use Internet resources. Some of these are listed on our HOW TO FIND LOST PETS page. 

If no immediate contact / ID information is found:

  • Ask neighbors

  • Call the local shelters to check for lost listings.

  • Call animal control to check for lost listings.

  • Call local police and report the found dog.

  • Call the local humane society to check for lost listings.

  • Check for posters by driving around in your area.

  • Post "found dog" posters. Do not fully describe the dog so that you can get a more detailed description from the person that might call you. You don't want to give the dog to the wrong person. Do not put your address or name on the posters, just your phone contact information. This is to protect your privacy and avoid being scammed.

  • Post a "Found Dog" post in the local newspaper and check for "Lost Dog" listings. These are often free.

  • Check Internet resources. We like to use and use a phrase like "LOST FOUND DOG CITY" where CITY is your city, county or state. There are LOTS of web sites for lost dogs. When we typed in "lost found dog buford georgia" we got the Georgia Pet Lost & Found at the top and a link to Georgia Animal Shelters and Rescue Groups.

  • Take the dog to a vet and have it scanned for a chip

  • You can post a FREE listing at our LOST & FOUND page.

Once contact is made:

  • Make sure that this is the owner by asking questions.

  • Get as much additional contact information from the owner as you can. This can come in handy if you are disconnected or there is difficulty in meeting up.

  • Give the owner accurate directions and phone contact information in case of any problems.

If no contact is made in a reasonable time you can:

  • Contact your animal control services and request the dog be picked up. Know that these organizations will only keep a lost dog for a few days before having to euthanise the animal.

  • Contact a "rescue" organization. They are in business to find good homes for dogs without homes. The easiest way to contact these is via the Internet. We use and use a key phrase like "dog rescue breed" where "breed" is the breed of the dog.

  • Give the dog a new home. Be aware that an owner may show up and want their pet back. Make sure that you have the animal fully checked out by a vet. Also check local laws regarding your rights.

More about finding lost dogs can be found at: