How to Help a Stray Dog


My heart always breaks when I see a stray dog alone in the street. It’s difficult to know what do: Does he have a home? Did she briefly escape a loving family? Are they safe to approach?

Following these will help answer these questions and many more.

Be cautious. Never put yourself or others in danger when trying to get closer to a stray dog. It’s important to follow traffic laws and slowly approach any stray animals. If the animal is distressed, they may act viciously out of fear. Speak very softly and calmly and allow the animal to see you at all times. If possible, lure the dog using foods that have a strong scent like tuna. If you cannot not approach or lure the animal, try to contain him using available supplies, if this isn’t possible alert on coming traffic. Containing the dog in your vehicle is an option if animal control will be there shortly. It can be unsafe to drive with an unfamiliar, unrestrained dog in the car.

If the animal has been contained in a car, take her to safety. If you plan on taking the dog home until an owner is found, contact animal control. Craigslist is a free option to post a “found” ad. Many towns and cities have Facebook groups, posting here is a great option. Keeping a stray animal in your home can be risky. Try to keep other pets separated incase of aggression or if the animal is sick.

Be sure to check the laws in your area for requirements on finding abandoned animals, and the steps to take if you want to be the owner of found animal.

The Humane Society suggests keeping a kit in your car that includes:

  • Phone; phone numbers of local animal control, a shelter, and a 24-hour emergency veterinary clinic
  • Cat carrier or cardboard box
  • Collars and strong leashes for dogs
  • Heavy blanket; water bowls and water
  • Strong-smelling foods, such as canned tuna or dried liver
  • An animal first-aid kit.