Found A Stray

When you find a pet alone, it can feel hard to know what the best action to take is. Here's the next steps when you've found a lost dog or cat.


There’s no manual for finding a stray animal – every situation is different. We’re here to guide you through what can sometimes be quite a confusing situation, step by step, and to make sure both you and the cat or dog in question get the help that’s needed.

While the instinct is usually to help immediately and in whatever way you can, you should always think about the danger first. Frightened animals can lash out to protect themselves or their litter. They could be trapped on a busy road. This is part of the reason we only recommend you approach the stray if you’re fully confident that you can help without causing harm to yourself or the animal.

Your next steps should be:
1. Check if they have a collar, look for their owner’s details, and get in touch if you can
2. Take the animal to your local vet, where they can check for a microchip
3. Bring the animal to us – we never refuse a dog or cat in need.

If it is outside our opening hours, you don’t have transportation, or you’re unable to contain the dog or cat, you can request help for a stray dog by phoning the Police on 101 or your local authority’s dog warden (listed below).

● Edinburgh: 0131 608 1100
● East Lothian: 01875 824 305
● Midlothian: 0131 561 5284
● West Lothian: 01506 280 000

If the animal is injured, you may wish to contact the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.

You can even call us on 0131 669 5331 for further advice if you’re still unsure.

Contact Us

Need more advice? Our helpful team are on hand to support you.

Get In Touch