What to Do If You Find a Stray Animal

What to Do If You Find a Stray Animal

If you spot a loose dog on the road or have a cat meowing on your doorstep, do you know what to do? How do you know if an animal is actually lost, if the animal is a stray, or if it’s safely roaming its territory? The next time you see a dog or cat on its own, consider the following tips for what to do when you find a stray animal.

5 Things to Do When You Find a Stray Animal

1. Contact Animal Control

If you see a stray dog or cat, contact animal control right away with a description of the animal, your location, and the direction the dog or cat is traveling. Hopefully, they’ll be able to send assistance right away. If not, they might ask you to keep watch until they arrive.

2. Be Careful

Safety is always important. Before approaching a strange dog or cat, keep an eye on its behavior, posture, and appearance. Even animals that look friendly and well-cared for can be aggressive when they’re lost, scared, and hungry. If you can get the animal to come to you, then you can try to get it on a leash, into your vehicle, or closed in a yard.

3. Don't Make Judgments

Just because you’ve found an animal that is skinny with shaggy fur and no collar or tags on does not necessarily mean that it does not have an owner. Pets go missing all the time without being successfully reunited with their owners. After some time being lost, it’s natural for pets to lose their collars and tags and take on a disheveled appearance. The stray animal you find might very well be someone’s dearly missed fur baby.

4. Look for Tags or Scan for a Microchip

If the pet has a collar and tags you should try to contact the owners right away. The dog or cat might also have a microchip. When you take the pet to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter, they will be able to scan for a microchip and hopefully locate the animal’s family.

5. Think About Local Laws and Long-Term Care

Most communities require found animals to spend a certain amount of time at a local shelter in case its rightful owners can be found. During this period, you can help by posting information on found pet pages and checking lost pet ads. However, if the animal you found is not claimed, consider whether you want to take responsibility for it or provide it with care until the animal can find a permanent home.

Contact White Haven Veterinary Hospital for Help

If you encounter a stray animal and aren’t sure what to do, you can always contact White Haven Veterinary Hospital for help. We can ensure that the animal is healthy and scan it for a microchip to try to reunite it with its owner.