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WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU FIND A LOST DOG WITHOUT A COLLAR?

If you find a lost dog without a collar, don’t assume it’s a stray. Maybe the dog doesn’t wear a collar at home and just slipped out from the back yard. Or perhaps the lost dog’s collar came loose and fell off while it was frantically trying to get home. Either way, it’s always best to assume a dog is lost and try to reunite it with its owner.

How Do You Approach a Lost Dog?

First of all, it’s important to act as calmly as possible around a lost dog. Lost dogs are likely to feel nervous and afraid and not sure who to trust. Move slowly and with care; don’t grab for the lost dog or make any sudden movements. Scared dogs may display anxious behaviors such as pacing, panting, shaking, drooling, or attempting to hide. Additionally, they could exhibit fearful postures such as tucking their tail between their legs, pinning their ears back, shifting their weight backwards, or rolling onto their back.

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How Do You Comfort a Lost Dog?

Try to make the lost dog feel more comfortable and relaxed. You can do this by looking away to appear less intimidating, as well as keeping your body turned to the side instead of facing the dog head-on. Remain calm and positive and call out gently to the lost dog, while maintaining your distance. Look for physical signals to indicate that the dog is starting to relax, such as relaxed ears, open mouth, loose body, and loose, hanging tail. Once the lost dog starts to seem less concerned with—or even interested by—your presence, crouch down to its level. Reach out a hand for the dog to sniff, to indicate that you are not a threat.

How Do You Keep a Lost Dog Safe?

Now that the lost dog has gotten used to you, you want to secure it to keep it safe. Find something to use as a makeshift leash and, if you can, offer the lost dog some food and water. Finally, check the dog again for an ID tag; it may be that you missed something from a distance. Once you’re sure the dog has no ID, take it to your local vet or animal shelter to be scanned for a microchip. Almost all veterinary clinics and animal centers offer this service and have a scanner for this purpose.


If the lost dog does not have a microchip, alert the police in your area to let them know about the dog you found. They may already be on the lookout for the dog in question! Additionally, you can create a virtual “dog found” poster to get the word out. Ask people you know to repost your dog found post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit. You can also help your dog found poster reach a wider range of people on Facebook with the Boost by Pet Alert tool.