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How to Act Around Abandoned Dogs

3 minutes
How to Act Around Abandoned Dogs
Last update: 14 April, 2018

Who has not met a stray dog on the street? While some of these animals may be lost, many of them are abandoned dogs. In any case, let us tell you what to do when meeting a homeless dog.

Don’t ignore abandoned dogs

The first thing you should do is to not act indifferently. Keep in mind that a dog who has been abandoned, or is lost, has experienced an extremely traumatic event.
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The animal will probably be afraid, hungry or thirsty. Also, it has been exposed to many dangerous situations, such as the possibility of a traffic collisions or different types of aggressions.

Therefore, if possible, take care of the dog yourself. If not, call someone you know for help, or contact an animal shelter or rescue group.

In any case, pay attention to the tips in this article to learn what to do with abandoned dogs. The worst thing you can do when seeing an abandoned dog is to ignore it. Let us tell you what to do if you run into a street dog.

How to act if you find a dog on the street

Check the following before approaching a dog:

  • Make sure it isn’t aggressive
  • Check if it is sick or injured. If it is in pain or uncomfortable, it may resort to violence.

If any of the above are true, contact an animal shelter or kennel right away. However, if the animal looks calm, you can try approaching it patiently and cautiously in order to gain its trust. Then:

  • Walk towards it very slowly.
  • Avoid abrupt movements.
  • Talk to it with a soft and affectionate voice.
  • If you have any food, offer it but keep your distance. You can also give it fresh water.

Try to see if the dog has an identity tag

You can try petting it once you notice that the animal begins trusting you. To do this, extend your hand with your palm open and let the dog smell it. If the dog seems to be calm, you can try holding it, and even attach an improvised leash. If he has an identity tag, try to contact its owner(s).
Anyway, the idea is to get him to the nearest veterinary clinic. They will check if the animal has a microchip. By the way, ask the vet to run a checkup of its overall health.
Keep in mind, if a dog has no identification, it may have an owner. Therefore, you can start a “campaign” by putting posters on the streets or at local stores, or by posting its picture on social media in order to find its owners.

Adopt the dog or find him new master

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If the owners of the dog do not show up immediately, or he doesn’t have any, the question is what to do with the furry friend you rescued off the street. The options may vary:

  • Adopt it.
  • Let it stay with you temporarily, or ask someone of trust to do so while you find him a permanent home.
  • Take it to an animal shelter or kennel. 

Another option is to let the authorities know or directly contact a municipal kennel to take care of the dog.  It is preferable to try out other possibilities first. Sometimes the animals that are brought to these centers run the risk of being put to sleep after a short period of time, if nobody claims to be the owner or wishes to adopt them.

Fortunately, this situation is changing. In some places such as Madrid,  putting abandoned dogs asleep is no longer allowed. Despite the progress made by several legislations, it will still take time to ensure that all municipalities care for homeless animals properly. It will be even longer before all people understand that pets are not objects to be used and thrown away.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.