The toddler's mother called 911 on Friday, saying her son had vanished after going to the kitchen to get some juice. After an all-night search, there was no sign of the boy.
The next morning, a neighbor reported hearing crying from the woods about a quarter-mile from the family's home.
Searchers found the toddler, wearing only a T-shirt and a diaper, holding onto the family's Labrador Retriever.
"Since he belonged to them, he must have followed them the whole way, looking out for him, so that's very special," said neighbor Emily DuBose.
Police say the dog apparently kept watch over the boy throughout the night, as temperatures dropped down into the 40s.