Stray Dog

For dog lovers, our biggest fear is probably what to do if our dog goes missing, and our strongest instinct when we see a stray dog is to protect it and bring it back to its owners.

But, when dealing with a strange dog, it can be very easy to scare it away and make the situation worse. Here are some tips on what to do if you run across a stray dog, and how to get it back safely to its humans.

Safety First

There are three things you should always keep in mind if you see a stray dog: the safety of the dog, your own safety, and the safety of others. When we see a dog in trouble — loose near traffic, for instance — it’s easy to panic and with the best of intentions, create an even more dangerous situation.

If you are driving and see a loose dog, react as calmly as possible. Slamming on the brakes could get you in an accident or scare the dog into running away or into traffic. If you are not in a situation where you can safely pull over, take note (or have a passenger take note) of where you saw the dog and either come back around and pull over safely or call animal control and give them as much detail as possible about where you spotted the dog.

Whether on foot or in the car, the danger might not be in the situation, but the state of the dog itself. The dog may be scared or injured. If he appears to pose any threat of biting or attacking, do not approach. Note the location and contact animal control. If possible, stay at the scene where you can observe the dog until help arrives, so you can assist them in locating the stray.

Excerpted from Decoding Your Dog from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. Edited by Debra F. Horwitz, DVM, DACVB and John Ciribassi DVM, DACVB, with Steve Dale. 

These six steps and the following guide will help you to "speak dog" and understand your dog's body language.

  1. Learn their language.
  2. Listen with our eyes.
  3. Use cues that work for dogs.
  4. Avoid miscommunication traps.
  5. Teach a common language.
  6. Have realistic expectations.

The goal is not to learn our dogs' language so that we can "speak dog" back to them; that just won't work. But we can use a knowledge of canine language to better understand our dogs' emotional states and predict what they might do next.


Did you know that an average of 26,000 dogs a year, or 71 a day are injured in a collar related accident? Neither did we, until the folks at PetSafe® sent us some great information.



Almost every dog wears a collar. They not only serve the important purpose of providing your pets with immediate identification should they become lost, they also allow you to show off your style with tons of different options. It’s amazing to think that such an innocent item could potentially cause your dog serious injury or even death.


External Links  

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