I've found a dog

So you have found a stray dog

Finding a stray dog con be a confusing time. This nearly always happens when you are the way to another location and time is short. There a number things though that you can do to help find the owner of the dog and ensure that the dog is safe.

What to do if you find a stray

Should you come across stray dog, here are some simple steps you can take to help reunite the dog with their owners. 

Always take care should you decide to take a stray home. A dog can be confused, disorientated or stressed and may not settle. Whislt the dog is with you, it is advisable to keep the dog as secure as possible.

If you should post a found dog onto social media, please do not add photos or too much detail. If an owner is to the post then they should be able to describe the dog to you. However, do not just accept this as proof of ownership. 

Steps to take...

  • If you’ve found a stray dog, check to see if they’re wearing a collar that may have a tag with the owner’s details on. If they are, and you’re happy to do this, contact the owner and arrange to meet them and take the dog to them. If needed, ask the owner to meet you at a local vets.

  • If the lost pet does not have an identification tag, please take the lost pet straight to a local vet, welfare centre or contact your local animal warden. This will be the quickest and easiest way to find the keeper. They will be able to scan the pet for a microchip number and contact the keeper. You can use our search page to find the details of local vets and the numbers for local dog wardens including out of hours services.

  • Devon Lost Dog Search & Rescue are able to scan dogs for microchip and assist in reuniting dogs with owners. If you are unable to take a dog to a vets, or would like to have a dog scanned then please contact us and we can arrange this with you.

  • Although it might be tempting to keep the dog, you’re legally required to let the local authority know about any stray dogs and, if you don’t, you could be accused of theft. There may be a loving owner out there who is desperately searching for their missing dog and, if the dog is microchipped, it could be really easy to reunite them. It’s very easy to get attached to a dog the longer you keep them, so please do let someone know as soon as possible.

  • You must contact the local authority in the area in which the dog was found to enable a record to be made. You must then return the dog to its owner (where the owner is known) or hand the dog over to the local authority. If you fail to comply with this procedure you may be prosecuted for theft of the animal you found.

  • Even if you have found a dog and want to keep hold of it, you must still follow the procedure for the above question as the Dog Warden may know the person who has lost the dog.

Speak to our team for immediate help

Need to speak directly to us for advise about a lost or found dog.

Contact our Search Team on 01803 365505 if your dog is missing or you have found a dog. We are also available on Facebook Messenger

Keeping your dog safe


We’ve compiled a few tips that can help you and your dog be reunited quickly should the unthinkable ever happen.

These steps can be the difference between having your dog quickly reunited or facing the heavy cost involved in dog going to local kennels and possibly being away from you overnight.

This list is far from exhaustive but there to give some ideas of the things that will help you be reunited quicker

Its all in the details...

  • When out on a walk, ensure you dog has. well fitting collar with a tag that has at minimum a contact phone number on it. If your dog will not wear a collar then attach the tag to the harness. You can also purchase collars that have your details embroidered into them so the tag can never be lost.

  • Ensure the details on your dogs microchip are unto date, especially if you have just moved house, changed phone numbers etc. An out of date chip is almost as much use as the dog not having a chip.

  • Take regular of your dog and save them to your phone. Every now and again take a selfie with your dog too as this will help prove that a dog that has been found is yours.

  • Examine your dog for any distinguishable features such as blemishes, shapes in the markings. These will help you describe your dog should you receive a call to say they have been found.

  • If your dog is a known flight risk or is nervous, then its is safer for them to be on a lead while out walking. Check your local area for areas know as freedom fields that you can hire for exclusive use by you and your dog for those times that you want them off lead.

  • Dog trackers are becoming more and more popular with walkers. if you do go down this road, please ensure the batteries are charged and the app is working. Nothing worse that a dog wearing a tracker and its not working.

  • And don’t forget, Should you find yourself receiving a call to say your dog has been found, stay calm and and relay as much information to the finder as possible. Don’t expect them to give you all the details of your dog and be prepared that they may ask for you to meet them at a vets for the safety of all involved.

Join our online community

Devon Lost Dog Search was set up to help owners of lost dogs have as much help as possible to be reunited quickly and safely with their beloved pets.

After nearly 3 years of helping lost dogs, our search team is now giving owners easier access to all the help they require and this is where you come in. We are looking for anyone that assists with lost dogs in Devon to register so owners can find contact details for Vets, Kennels, Dog Wardens  etc all in one easy to use place.