Finding a lost dog can be a stressful situation, even more so if you find a lost dog at night. It can be a particularly distressing scenario if you find a lost dog at night. But if you are aware of the steps you should take for the lost dog and yourself, this stressful situation can turn out positively. 

This blog will take you through the steps you should take for the betterment of the lost dog and you. The steps include securing the lost dog, finding a safe space for them, reaching out to people through lost pet recovery websites, and posting about the lost dog on social media. Knowing what to do ensures that the lost dog may soon be reunited with its family.

1. Approach Slowly & Gently

First and foremost, you must make sure that the lost dog found at night does not run away from you when you try to approach it. Keep in mind to approach the dog slowly and gently so as not to scare it. Chances are the lost dog is already scared and will be wary of strangers. But if approached slowly and gently, you can get the dog to come to you. 

Bonus, if you have dog-friendly treats or dog-friendly food, you increase the chances of them coming towards you. 

2. Check For Identification

Make sure to check if the lost dog is wearing either a collar with their name and information or an ID tag with the necessary information. Sometimes, they may even have a tattoo with information that may help you reach out to the owner. 

If the lost dog is without a collar or ID tag, be sure to check the surrounding area.

3. Go to A Vet, If Needed

Once you have secured the dog, take it to your nearest vet if needed. You can ask the vet to scan for a microchip, which is another form of identification for the dog. The microchip contains important details such as the owner’s contact information, vaccinations, and any prevalent health issues.

Additionally, checking the lost dog’s health condition is very important as well. You want to make sure that the lost dog does not have any existing health concerns, is not dehydrated, did not accidentally eat anything that can cause an issue. 

4. Secure the Dog

Be sure to secure the dog once you have managed to come close to you. Make sure to use a leash on the lost dog. Since the dog ran away one time, they may try to run away again. Secure the dog with a leash. It is in the best interest of the lost dog. 

You can transport the lost dog inside a dog carrier if you have one at hand, or wrap them up in a blanket to keep them warm and potentially stop them from hurting themselves. If you do not have a dog carrier at hand, you can use a cardboard box and line it with soft blankets. Make sure that you dont close the box entirely and remember to poke holes on the side for airways.

5. Find a Safe Place

Try to find a safe place to hold the lost dog while you look for their owner. If you have pets or kids at home, be sure to keep the lost dog separately, as they might react aggressively. Providing a safe space for the lost dog also eases their anxious and scared behavior.

6. Look For the Owner in the Vicinity

The chances are the owner of the lost dog is out searching for them, so try to look around your vicinity to see if anyone is looking for a missing dog. 

Even if some time has passed since you found a lost dog at night, their owner may be looking for them near the area where they initially got lost.

7. Report the Found Dog

Lost Flyer

The best thing to do would be to report the lost dog to a humane society or an animal shelter. Or, if you want to avoid giving the dog to an animal shelter, then consider making flyers or posters regarding how they are being found and how they can reach you. Reporting them as found increases the chances of them being reunited with their family. Someone might reach out to you after seeing the report you made about the dog. 

8. Use Social Media 

Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, X (formerly known as Twitter), Reddit, and Pinterest to make a post about the lost dog. By appealing to the vast pool of social media, the chances of reunification increase. The faster you post about your lost pet on multiple social media platforms, the better chances you have of recovering your lost pet. Social media platforms are a great way to search for a lost pet, as you can utilize multiple platforms, appeal to a wider pool of people, get your friends and family to share your lost dog post on their social media timelines and stories, and join online communities like Facebook groups that are dedicated to recovering lost pets. 

9. Use Lost & Found Platforms Like PawMaw

Lost and Found websites like PawMaw are great for reporting a lost dog, as they are crucial in connecting lost and found pets with their families. You can list the lost dog on the PawMaw website or issue a PawMaw Alert that notifies all users in your area that a missing dog has now been found. 

PawMaw Home Page Banner Pic (1)

10. Keep The Dog Safe Overnight

Be sure to keep the lost dog safe overnight. Being in an unfamiliar area with strangers, away from their family, may cause the lost dog to exhibit anxiety. They may respond aggressively, bark, growl, or whine to convey their stress. 

11. Be Patient & Keep Searching

The key here is to be patient and keep searching for the lost dog’s family for as long as possible. It would be in the dog’s best interest to be patient with them and the search. Until the lost dog is reunited with its family, keep searching.  


Finding a lost dog at night may indeed be a scary ordeal and a distressing situation for you and the lost dog. When armed with the knowledge of what to do, the ordeal becomes more manageable. You should approach the lost dog gently so you don’t scare them or come off as a threat; get them checked out by the vet; give them a safe space to rest; post on social media to search for their family; and post on a lost pet website like PawMaw to increase the chances of the lost dog being reunited with their family. The more you know, the better you can help a lost dog found at night.