Coaching Cats and Dogs to Better Behavior: A Vet Blog

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How To Help A Stray Dog

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Pet lovers know how important companion animals can be in their own lives and the lives of others. Loving a cat or dog can increase your empathy and love for all creatures. When you spot a stray dog on the side of the road, you may immediately want to drop everything to help him. That's a good idea as long as it's done safely and effectively.

Prepare for an Encounter with a Stray Dog

You'll be best able to help a stray dog if you plan for the fact that you probably will inevitably encounter an animal in need at some point. Create an emergency help kit for just such an occasion. Things you may want to include in the kit include the following items:

  • Disposable Dog Carrier
  • Cans of Dog Food
  • Box of Dog Treats
  • Collar
  • Leash
  • Blanket
  • First Aid Kit for Dogs

Cautiously Stop Your Car

If you're behind the wheel of a car, the most important first step to take is to cautiously stop your vehicle. You don't want to cause an accident that you hurt yourself, others, or even the stray dog. When stopping on the side of the road, make sure that you secure the parking brake and flash your emergency signals. That will increase the visibility of your car while you move towards helping the animal.

Call for Help if You Need It

Be sure to carry the phone number of your local animal rescue organization as well as your veterinarian. That way, you can ask for advice or assistance when it's needed. Don't shy away from calling an animal rescue group to help you. You should never approach an animal that appears angry, and any animal in distress may behave in ways that they would not if they were calm. That can include lashing out and even biting.

Offer Food and Treats

If possible, keep a few cans of premium dog food in the trunk for your car. That way, when you spot an animal in need, you will have the food to offer them. You may be able to lure a stray dog to safety by feeding them. Try to have him follow the food into your car, so you can then close the door and take the stray dog to a no-kill shelter, rescue organization, or veterinarian.

Take the Animal in for an Exam

Before taking the stray dog home or exposing any children to the animal, be sure to bring the dog to your veterinarian like those at Chapel Hill Veterinary Clinic for a check-up. You should make sure that the animal isn't injured or otherwise sick.

Finally, remember that safety needs to come first when you go to rescue a stray dog. As long as you proceed carefully and react calmly while treating the stray dog with respect, you should be well on your way to safely rescuing the stray. That's sure to make your day and mean the world to one animal in need.


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