You’ve looked under the bed, behind the sofa, in the garden, and all around your neighbourhood. The worst has happened: your dog has gone missing. Although you may be worried and scared, it’s important not to panic. Here are our tips for finding your lost dog.
Contact any local animal shelters, rescues, and veterinary clinics, and ask if they’ve picked up your dog. Let them know your dog’s microchip number: if your dog is at a shelter, they can easily scan him for the chip. Send a picture of your dog. Choose a photo that clearly shows any distinctive markings. You should also contact your local police department to report your missing pet – especially if you think that your dog might have been stolen.
There may also be a local social media page for lost pets: it’s worth using such groups to try to find your pet. You should also tell your neighbours and people who visit regularly, such as the postman, about your missing dog.
You’ll need to carefully search your neighbourhood for your dog. Get some friends to help you. Walk around or drive slowly, calling your dog’s name. Try searching at night or at sunrise. Carry a recent photo of your dog with your to show people you meet on your search, just in case they’ve seen him or her.
Bring a box of treats to shake or a squeaky toy. The familiar noise may help your dog to find his way back to you.
You can try leaving a familiar-smelling item such as a blanket or a piece of your clothing in the area you last saw your dog. Regularly check the area where you left the blanket or similar item. Your dog may be drawn to the familiar smelling item and will seek it out.
If your dog has been missing for over 24 hours, it’s time to print up some posters and flyers. Post these all over town. Ideal places to leave flyers are vet clinics, pet shops, local councils, community centres, and traffic intersections. Any place where people go often is ideal.
You may also wish to place an advert in the local newspaper. There is often a lost and found column for people seeking their lost pets. Be sure to use the internet; particularly social media sites; to spread the word.
Keep your advert and flyers simple, with a description of the lost dog, and your contact details below.
If a person calls claiming to have found your dog, ask for them to describe the dog. If the description they give matches your dog, all well and good, but if not, it could be a scammer. If you decide to offer a reward for your dog, make sure your dog is returned to you before you hand over any money.
Don’t Give Up
Do not give up on finding your dog. Some animals vanish for months before they are reunited with their owners. Keep searching, putting up wanted posters, and checking animal shelters. You may get lucky, especially if your dog has a tag, collar, and microchip.