As a dog lover, the sight of a stray dog is very troubling. Of course, you want to help but you have to think of your own safety too.
Let these tips on what to do when you see a stray dog guide you through the process of getting the dog to safety and keeping you and yours out of harm’s way.
Safely capturing the stray dog
The first step is to take control of the dog.
Approaching a stray dog – especially one who is scared – can be dangerous. The HSUS has published practical steps for capturing a lost or stray dog in the safest, most efficient way possible.
Keep yourself and the dog safe
If you’re driving and you see a stray dog along the street, do not pull up immediately as this may cause an accident.Look in the rear-view mirror before stopping and turn on your signal.Pull your car completely off the road, turn off the engine, set the parking brake, and turn on the hazard lights.
Stray or lost dogs are often suspicious and scared. They can be unpredictable and you never know how they will react. Any sudden movement could scare the dog and cause them to run into traffic – endangering their life.
Observe the dog for a few minutes. If you feel uneasy about the situation, stay in your car but make sure to keep an eye of the dog.
If you are able to get near the dog, restrain him or her using a leash or anything else you can find in your car – like a rope, carrier, or piece of cloth. This will prevent the dog escaping.
If you can’t restrain the dog, be sure to signal oncoming cars to slow down. Another motorist may even stop to help.
If the dog is injured and can’t move off the road, divert traffic around him. Remember, the goal is to get the dog out of danger as quickly and safely as possible.
Be careful handling the stray dog
If you’re able to get close enough to capture the dog, there is a chance you’ll be bitten if you aren’t careful.
As you move towards the stray dog, talk to him or her calmly to reassure that you mean no harm.
Try luring the stray dog into your car
Try to lure the animal into your car with food, especially strong-smelling food like canned tuna or dried liver.
t isn’t a good idea to try to drive with a strange dog unrestrained in your car – since he or she may become frantic or aggressive. But if you’re left with no other choice, be very careful.
Call for help if necessary
If the dog is wearing an ID tag, call the numbers listed. You may be able to find the owner right away.
If you were not able to safely restrain the stray dog, call animal control or the police. Talk clearly, leave your name and number with the dispatcher and ask how long it may take someone to respond. It’s also important to report where exactly the stray dog is by using road names, mile markers or landmarks.
Check for dog tags or microchip
If you cannot or do not feel it is necessary to call animal control, take the dog to the nearest shelter, vet or groomer and ask them to scan for a microchip.
There are three different types of microchips, which have corresponding scanners, so it’s good to ask the dog to be scanned with a universal scanner.