10 Steps in Dealing with Stray Dogs

Caring for our wildlife is not just about caring for wild animals. It could also mean caring for stray pets, especially dogs. In the US, there are more than one million homeless dogs that roam the streets in various cities and localities. Homeless dogs may have more freedom than dogs at home, but they will have a difficult chance of survival especially during colder seasons. As a citizen, there are things that you could do to help these strayed animals:

1. Assess the situation.

Seeing a stray dog is like seeing a fish out of the water. You may feel that urgent need to help but you should not act yet. Assess the situation first. For instance, if you see a dog across the street, running after it may put your life or that of other motorists in danger. In this case, it will be safer for you to wait for the dog to cross the street before you help. Conversely, you should first assess if you can handle the dog on your own. Smaller breeds are generally easier to handle than bigger ones such as a boxer pitbull mix, you can learn about them at www.dogbreeds101.org. If you think you can handle the dog, bring it to safety. If you cannot, you could either request other people to help you or you may also call the local authorities for help.

2. Protect yourself.

Even if you are dealing with a small or friendly dog, it is wise to always exercise caution as these dogs may have a tendency to be hostile or defensive due to prior neglect or abuse. While approaching a stray dog, use any barrier for protection against bites or attacks such as a backpack, tennis racket or anything that is handy. Once it allows you to approach, build rapport with the animal to gain its trust. You could offer it some food and stay with it for a while. After gaining its trust, it will now be easier for you to leash the dog. If you don’t have a leash or rope with you, find any box that you can use to transport it.

3. Know ownership.

Once the dog is restrained, you could now concentrate on checking its ownership. If it has a collar, it will be easier to identify the owner. Determining the ownership can help you avoid the potential hassle of caring for a stray dog that actually has an owner.

4. Check the condition of the dog.

You could do a quick check on the dog’s ear if it is suffering from a dog ear infection or check its skin for any wounds, injury or other conditions that may need immediate medical attention. Any stray dog is potentially infected with diseases which could spread to you and other pets. It may also need vaccination and shots for its or your protection. While you could do a quick checkup, a general checkup by a veterinarian is better done to assess the dog’s overall health.

5. Bring the dog to a shelter or veterinarian.

Bring the dog to a local animal rescue center or to a veterinarian. Inform them of the possibility that the dog may have a microchip insert which will help locate its owner. Most veterinarians and animal facilities have the technology to read these microchip inserts. It is important that you should turn-over the dog to any of these agencies so that the animal can also be treated for any condition that it might have.

You might think that caring for a stray dog is a total hassle to whatever you may be doing. But think of it as your way of contributing to the wildlife.