Finding a lost dog can be difficult, but these 8 tips can help get your pet home faster!
Being lost is so scary for both dogs and humans. A few of my furry friends have gotten lost in the past, and even though they tried to find their way back home, they seemed to find themselves farther from the direction they were headed. They were lucky to have relentless human family members searching for them. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose your dog! Finding a lost dog doesn’t sound easy, but there are several things you can do before your dog gets lost and immediately after to ensure a successful homecoming.
- Be sure your dog always wears a current ID tag on her collar. The collar should have a phone number that you can be reached at and possibly even a current address. This will be the first thing someone looks for if a stranger happens to be the person finding your lost dog. If there is a phone number available, it’s likely this person will contact that number before calling animal control. If there is an address on her collar, that stranger may even walk or drive your dog home safely!
- Have you chosen to microchip your dog? Often, rescue dogs are microchipped before being adopted, and other dogs can get this done in their veterinarian’s office. Animal shelters will look for a microchip when dogs are brought in. The most important thing to keep in mind with a microchip is to regularly update the chip’s company of any changes in your telephone number or address. If they are not able to get in touch with you due to expired contact information, you will not be alerted of your pet’s whereabouts.
- Where was your dog last seen? If you know exactly where your dog got loose, great! This gives you a great starting point to finding a lost dog! If you aren’t sure when your dog got loose, do some investigative work. Ask every family member where the dog was located when they saw her last. If you have neighbors close by, it would be best to stop by their houses and ask them if they’ve seen your dog lately. In fact, your neighbors may want to check on their property for your dog. She may have gotten into a shed or garage and is locked inside, unable to get out.
- Check inside your house. Inspect your home carefully if your dog has gone missing. Be sure to check under all beds, lift all blankets and covers, and any other small or dark hiding spot. Open all doors, like closets or rooms that don’t get used often, in case your dog was accidentally locked inside. Try calling your dog’s name or shaking a treat container to get her attention.
- Get out and look for your dog. Depending on your locale, get out on foot or in your car to look for your dog. Bring a favorite squeaky toy and call your pet’s name loudly, but with a cheerful voice, so she doesn’t think she is in trouble. Check under porches and check in shrubs and bushes. Take it from my few dog friends, a dog will likely get real scared and try to hide somewhere safe once she cannot find her way home. You may want to bring a recent photo of your dog. That way, you can ask other humans if they’ve seen her recently.
- Call local agencies to alert them that your dog is missing. The first call you’ll want to make is to your local animal control and any area shelters. They may already have your dog! If they do not, it’s best to give them a detailed description of your dog so they can be on the lookout for your pet. Be sure to leave your contact information with them. Also, you may want to ask if there is an email address or fax number so that you can send them a picture of your dog. Sometimes when dog’s are found but animal control or dog shelters are not open, the local police or fire department will take them in temporarily.
- Alert social media. It may sounds silly, but lost pets can go viral on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Share a picture of your pet and the details of when she went missing. Don’t forget to include what area or street your dog was last seen and all of your contact information. Oh, and be sure to ask all of your friends to share your post too! The more shares, the more chances people will want to take part in finding a lost dog.
- Create a lost pet flyer. While social media can quickly share the news of your pet’s disappearance, it is still an excellent idea to create paper flyers you can hang up around your neighborhood. Make sure to use the same consistent picture of your pet so she will be easily recognizable. There are many areas you should post these – start with telephone poles, and branch out to local businesses such as grocery stores and laundromats where people will be for an extended period of time. Don’t forget to bring a poster to animal shelters and all local veterinarian’s offices.
If you have a multiple-human household, it would be best to split up some of these tasks. One person could check inside the house while another person drove around the neighborhood searching for the dog. One person could be making fliers while another was talking to neighbors or calling animal control and local dog shelters. Finding a lost dog can be a difficult task, but teamwork makes it simpler. If you’re a single-human household, call in friends for reinforcements. No one likes to hear of a missing animal, and many people are willing to help you locate your pet.
The most important tip: Never give up hope! If you do not find your lost dog on the first day, don’t stop looking. If you don’t find her in the first week, keep up the search! I’ll keep my paws crossed for your dog’s safe return home.
Have you ever lost your dog? Please share any tips you may have in the comments section!
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