Missing Dog Flyer
Dabl At Home Dec 2020
Presented By
Dabl at Home

What To Do If You’ve Lost Your Dog

If your dog has gone missing, here’s what you can do to bring them home again safely!

We’ve talked a lot about what to do if you happen to find a stray or lost dog, but what do you do if you’ve lost your own pup? The thought of one of our fur babies becoming lost is pure nightmare fuel, but we have to face the reality that dogs do run away or go missing from time to time. Whether they saw a squirrel they just had to chase, smelled something delicious they had to track, or dug a dog-sized hole in the backyard, your dog could disappear in a matter of seconds through no fault of your own. However, it’s important to follow these 5 steps to increase the likelihood that your dog returns home safely and as soon as possible. 

Prepare for the possibility of your dog getting lost.

Of course, we hope our dog never gets lost. But if it does happen, your dog’s escape will likely be quick and entirely out of your control. As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Part of that means taking preventative measures that will help ensure your dog’s safety if he does become lost. For example, your dog should always be wearing a collar that has your current phone number on the I.D. tag. 

In addition, your dog should be microchipped. If your dog doesn’t already have a microchip, your veterinarian can easily and painlessly insert a tiny microchip into your pet’s skin. Your dog won’t even know it’s there! But if he is found by animal control, brought to a shelter, or dropped off at a veterinary clinic, the staff will be able to scan your pet’s microchip. As long as you’ve registered your pet’s microchip with one of the many online databases, the staff will be able to see your contact information immediately and call you to reunite with your dog. 

If your dog has a history of escaping or you’re feeling nervous about the possibility of him becoming lost, you can also purchase a tracker for your dog’s collar. Many pet trackers are compatible with smartphones and even use an app to tell you your dog’s exact or approximate location. This can help you reunite with your pet faster. Some people even hook the square tracker tiles that are commonly used to keep track of car keys and wallets on their pet’s collar ring with their I.D. tag.

Stay calm. 

If your dog has gotten lost, do your best to stay calm. Based on a new veterinary study, the likelihood of you locating your pet within the first day of their disappearance is quite high. In fact, you have a 90% chance of finding your lost dog within the first 12 hours and a 93% chance of finding your dog within the first 24 hours. Even after the first day passes, your dog still has at least a 60% chance of coming home again. So as scary as the situation may feel, do your best not to panic. Staying calm and collected will help you come up with a strategy to find your dog and increase the likelihood of your pet’s quick return. 

Retrace your steps. 

Of course, you can and often should search for your lost dog via car or on foot. However, one of the best things you can do might be to retrace your steps periodically until you locate your dog. Once the excitement of whatever caused them to run off dissipates, dogs often return to the original spot where they got lost in the first place. Many dogs will remain there and wait for their owners to come back for them. 

If you’re not sure if your pup has come back or not, try leaving some of their favorite toys or treats in the spot where they were last seen. The familiar and beloved smells could attract your dog to come to that spot. You may also find you have more luck searching for your dog at night, as dogs have a natural instinct to protect themselves by moving under the cover of darkness. 

Contact the appropriate authorities.

The first step in spreading the word is to put the animal community on high alert. While people like animal control officers and veterinary clinic staff should be trained to scan incoming dogs for microchips and check for identification on collars, your dog might be recognized sooner if people know a dog matching his description is missing. Plus, there’s always a chance your dog has already been picked up by animal control and just hasn’t been identified yet. 

We recommend calling veterinary clinics, animal shelters, rescue groups, and animal control agencies in your area. Call facilities located within a 15-mile radius of where your pet got lost, although you can expand your search to further rescues or shelters if it makes you feel better. Don’t be afraid to check in once or twice a day, or even show up at the animal shelters in person with photos of your pet to distribute to staff. 

Spread the word to the community.

The next part of spreading the word is to rely on your community to be your eyes and ears. Start by knocking on your neighbors’ doors to let them know you’ve lost your pet. Give them a photo and any relevant information they’ll need if they find your dog. Most people will be more than willing to keep an eye out for your fur baby. You might even be pleasantly surprised to find a neighbor has actually already found your dog but didn’t have a way to contact you! 

Next, create “lost pet” flyers to post around your neighborhood and in local businesses. The flyer should feature a clear and recent photo of your pet and a bold headline, like “LOST DOG” that will capture the attention of passersby. Include any distinguishing features about your pet’s appearance or personality that could help someone recognize them, and at least 2 phone numbers where you can be contacted if your dog is found. 

Last but not least, turn to social media to spread the word. You can easily post a digital version of your “lost pet” flyer, more pictures of your dog, and a detailed description of your pet and where they were last seen on sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Ask your friends, family, and co-workers to share your posts with their networks to significantly increase the number of eyes that will be on the lookout for your pup. You can also reach out to dedicated rescue groups and pet pages that may be willing to share your pet’s information with their audience as well. 

Get more great inspiration, ideas, and pet parent tips on Dabl! Check our Dabl TV schedule and find out where to watch Dabl TV.