When You See A Stray Dog, What Should You Do?


Richard Christianson was minding his own business, driving along an Arizona highway, when he witnessed a stray cat holding onto the metal railing for dear life. Unless the cat received help, they were sure to die.

Richard called local rescue organizations for help and when they were slow to send assistance, he decided to risk his own life to save the cat. But for the majority of us, this is not a feasible option. So what do we do when we see a stray animal in need of help?

Lost pet specialists recommend taking pictures of the animal and to assume that they are merely lost, as opposed to being a stray. Rushing to judgement and assuming that the animal does not have a family of their own is not recommended.


If the dog does not have tags, they should be taken to a local vet or shelter. Vets and groomers can perform a full body scan on the animal, to see if they have a microchip to indicate ownership. Don’t be overzealous about checking for ID, since the animal might be fearful of humans.

The Humane Society of the United States has offered a series of practical steps that can be taken in these instances. Read on to learn more.


  1. Prioritize Safety


A dog who is injured or sick can react in an unpredictable manner. Sudden movements could scare them and cause them to run away. When you’re feeling uneasy, remain in your vehicle, while keeping an eye on the animal. If you can restrain the animal, please do so. If not, try to signal for the other cars to slow down. The goal should be to keep the animal from being harmed.

  1. Be Cautious


If you can get close enough to the dog to capture it, you could also get bitten or scratched. Talk to the animal in a soothing tone, so that the creature knows you do not mean them any harm.

  1. Lure Them To Your Vehicle


Those who can lure the animal into their automobile with a strong scented food can do so, but be forewarned: placing an unrestrained animal in your car could be problematic.


  1. Call For Help


Call any numbers that are listed on the dog’s tags. This may help you find their owner more quickly. If there is no chance of restraining the dog, call the police or animal control. Provide the dispatcher with your name and number and find out how long it will take for them to respond.

The best thing you can do is to provide help in any way possible. Those who are most comfortable with calling animal control should do that, while those who feel confident about their ability to restrain the animal can opt for that choice instead. But doing nothing could mean that the dog never finds its way home.


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