Finding a lost dog can be stressful for you and the dog. Be prepared and stay calm. Here are a few tips to help you in case you find a lost dog.

Three puppies that seem lost outside
Finding a lost dog can be stressful. These tips will help them get back to their owners fast.
Photo by Evan Clark on Unsplash

Check the Dog for a Collar or Microchip

The first thing you need to do if you find a lost dog is to check for identification. Most dogs will have an identification tag on their collar. If you can get close enough to the dog to read that tag, you can easily call the owner and let them know you are with their dog. It will be an immense relief to them, and the dog will finally get to go home.

If the lost dog is not wearing a dog tag, take the dog to the closest veterinarian and get them checked for a microchip. A microchip is an identification tag inside the dog’s skin. The vet scans for it, and if the lost dog has one, you’ll know their contact information in a matter of seconds.

Inform your Local Animal Shelters

It’s likely that the owners of the lost dog have called your local animal shelter to check if the dog is there. You need to call the shelter in case they can get you in contact with the lost dog’s owners. It’s a necessary step and can be an enormous help.

If the owners have not contacted the animal shelter, you can leave a description of the dog and put the word out. It will help them get the information out faster and ensure they know about the lost dog in case the owners call. If you have another center for dogs in your area, call them too. You never know where the owners might be looking.

Take a Picture of the Dog for Confirmation

In case the lost dog gets scared enough that they run away from you, you need to have picture identification. If you run into the owners or need to describe the dog to someone, you can use that picture. It’s very helpful. Always take a picture of the lost dog.

Shiba dog with his ears pointed out to the sides.
If you find a lost dog, try to help any way you can.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

With social media being used to help find lost dogs today, you are likely looking for a picture to match yours. Having the picture of the lost dog will allow you to make a post of your own and get the word out. When you get in contact with the owners, they’ll want to see that picture to confirm that you have their dog, and not someone else’s lost dog.

There are a multitude of Facebook pages that allow people to post that their dog is lost or missing. Check to see if there are any groups close to you and see if there are currently any lost dogs in your area that you can keep an eye out for!

Be Patient with the Dog

Lost dogs can spook easily. You don’t want to run at or scare the dog. That will only cause the dog to run away again, possibly into a dangerous situation. You are there to help, not hinder. Consider luring the dog closer to you with treats.

Instead of standing over the dog, sit on the ground. Make yourself seem like a friendly presence, not a threat. You want the lost dog to come to you. If the dog seems riled up, or dangerous, don’t approach it. Safety always comes first. With the stress that dog is under, they might have trouble deciding if your friend or foe.

Call someone with experience to help. Whether it’s your local animal shelter or the owners themselves, it’s better to have backup. It might take some time, but reuniting a lost dog with their family is worth it.


Are there any tips to help a lost dog we didn’t include? Comment below and let us know!