If you are an animal lover and you see a stray puppy on the side of a highway or wandering with no apparent caretaker, it may not be a desirable option to simply walk away and assume it will be fine on its own. Knowing what to do when you find a stray puppy will bring the animal to safety and will get it into a proper home or reunited with its owner as quickly as possible.
Think About Safety
Puppies generally are not a threat, but that does not mean that they are completely safe to handle. Use caution when approaching any dog you do not know. Dealing with an injured or otherwise confused animal can be dangerous.
Approach the puppy slowly and stay within its sight at all times. Speak softly and only attempt to touch it after it comes to you. Use a strong smelling food such as tuna to lure the puppy to you. Place the animal in a pet crate or otherwise confine it, especially if you plan to drive it somewhere, according to Petside.com.
Call your local animal control agency for help, if possible. An animal control officer or local shelter official may be able to come out and take the puppy to a safe place. Many animal control shelters will be able to use identification on the puppy to locate its owner, especially if a microchip is located by doing a quick scan.
Find out if you can help by taking the puppy to a shelter nearby if officials are not able to send out someone immediately.
Be prepared for the realities of taking any puppy to an animal shelter. There are limits to what an animal shelter is able to do, according to The Humane Society of the United States.
Shelters often are short on space and funding. Animal control and other shelters make the difficult decision to euthanize puppies if they do not have the space for them and cannot find other arrangements such as a temporary “foster” home until they can get the animal adopted.
If the puppy is injured, there is a good chance that the shelter will not have the available funds to care for it. This will often bump an animal to the top of the euthanasia list. Ask the shelter if it has a fund for treating sick and injured animals.
If you feel you want to get more involved, most shelters will work with you if you would like to become a foster for the puppy you found until its owner claims it or it gets adopted. If you wish to keep the animal yourself, be aware of the local laws since simply finding the puppy does not make it yours in many cases.
If you find an injured puppy that you want to take to a vet for immediate care, remember that you will be responsible for the bill. Quality veterinary care can come with considerable costs.