Fellow dog owners are among the best at stepping up to lend a hand when a pooch gets loose. When you're at home, you can contact neighbors directly, post on a community-based app like NextDoor or call your local shelter. But what should you do if you're visiting a new area and you spot a lost dog?

    1. Be prepared. 

    Save important contact info in your phone before your trip, such as the city's non-emergency police phone line and animal control number. Carry a quality map with you, in your phone or in print, so you can accurately describe your location should you need to.

    2. Be safe. 

    Remain calm for the safety of yourself and those around you. If you see a lost dog while driving, do not stop or pull over unless it is safe to do so. If it's not safe, pay attention to the area so you can describe it to animal control. Examine the dog's behavior. Do not approach if he appears aggressive or threatened.

    3. If you can, restrain the lost dog. 

    If the dog seems friendly, call him to you with treats or strongly scented food. Use a leash or similar item to restrain the dog, getting him into your car if you can. 

    4. Check to see if he is wearing tags. 

    Contact animal control or his owner. If the dog doesn't have tags, or you can't approach, call the city's animal control agency or non-emergency line. 

    5. Snap a photo. 

    A picture makes it easier to describe the dog, and his owner will recognize him faster.

    6. Post on a community forum.

     Craigslist has a lost and found section for most cities and suburban areas. Post a descriptive subject line and include a photo if you took one. Check to see if there are any local lost pet groups on Facebook, like Indy Lost Pet Alert

    These steps can make it more likely a lost dog will be reunited with his family. To make sure your dog stays safe, invest in a LINK AKC Smart Collar with GPS tracking so you always know his whereabouts.

    Checklist:

    1. Be prepared with destination-specific contact info for local animal control

    2. Remain calm and determine with location so you can report it

    3. If it's safe, restrain the dog or place him in your car

    4. Check for this tags

    5. Snap a photo to share on social media

    6. Post on social media and Craigslist

    Topics: Dog Training & Behavior