A lost or missing pet is distressing for both the owner and the pet. If you find what you believe to be a lost pet, the first thing you can do is check for a collar tag that might have contact details for the owner. This is often the quickest way to reunite the pet with its owner.
If there's no collar tag, please take the pet to a vet practice or reputable animal welfare organisation, so they can scan the pet using a specially calibrated microchip reader to see if the pet is microchipped.
If they find a microchip they will be able to search the authorised microchip databases to find which one holds contact details for the registered keeper and reunite the pet.
You must not keep a pet that you have found even if you believe it is unwanted. By law, any stray dog should be reported to the local authority animal warden in the area it was found, particularly if it can't be reunited with its owner through the microchip details. If you keep a dog without following these steps, you could be prosecuted for theft of the animal.
Cats often roam some distance but if they get fed by someone new and think they are onto a good thing, they often return. Or the cat might belong to someone who has recently moved to the area and the cat hasn't quite got its bearings yet. It's always best not to feed a stray cat particularly if you don't know its dietary or medical requirements.
Find out more about how to report your pet missing.