What to Do If You LOSE YOUR DOG

Lost Dog Image

We don’t want to think about this because we can’t bear the thought of losing our best furry friend. But it’s essential to have a game plan in place in case your pup gets lost. We know how hard it can be to stay calm in a scenario like this, but the best thing you can do for your pet is try to keep a level head. 

Let’s review what we can do to prepare for a situation where you can’t find your pup.

Take Precautions

There are two actions you can take to help your dog find their way back to you in case they get lost: ID tags and microchips.

Yes, we know aesthetic ID tags are cute, but identifying the dog’s home is the most crucial aspect of an ID tag. If you aren’t comfortable putting your address on your dog’s tag, you should at least include a phone number and possibly an email address that you check frequently. If your dog wanders off and someone finds them, the person should have an easy way to reach out to you.

Sometimes, collars or ID tags can fall off. Microchipped dogs that end up in a shelter have a 200% higher chance of being returned to their owners than dogs that don’t. Microchips act as a permanent ID tag that can quickly identify your dog so you two can be reunited. Talk to your vet about microchipping.

Additionally, you can register your pet on AKC Reunite. This service creates a database of dogs and their owners, and you can send out a lost dog alert to help bring your dog home.

If you want to take it a step further, you can consider getting your dog a GPS collar. These collars enable you to track your dog to a specific area, kind of like how “Find my iPhone” works. But again, if the collar comes off, then it won’t be much help to you, so we recommend taking the opportunity to microchip your pet as soon as possible.

If You Notice Your Dog is Missing

The first thing you’ll want to do is search the area where you last saw your dog. Bring their favorite toy and treats, and call out words they respond to, including their name, “treat,” and “walk.” You can even bring some of their food in a container and shake it if they respond to the sound. 

Check the two-mile radius and enlist friends to help. Ask your neighbors if they saw your pup heading in a particular direction.

If You Don’t Find Your Dog on the Initial Search

Don’t give up yet.

Start calling and emailing (with a photo and description) various authorities to let them know that your dog is missing. Some agencies you may want to notify include:

  • Animal shelters
  • Veterinary offices (not just yours)
  • Groomers
  • Dog parks
  • Pet stores
  • The local police and fire department

Be extremely descriptive when you describe your dog. If you can send them a picture, great. If not, be sure to give as many details as you can, including:

  • Breed
  • Hair/coat length
  • Color
  • Any unique markings that would identify your dog
  • Size
  • Age
  • Ear type
  • Name
  • Whether your dog is microchipped

Expanding Your Search

The more people you can include in your search, the more eyes you will have looking for your dog. Print out posters with a current picture of your dog and your contact information, then post them all over town.

Social media has become a powerful tool for helping people reunite with their pets. Post information on as many platforms as you can, and ask people to share it with their followers, so more people come into contact with your dog’s information. You can also share the information on your Neighborhood app or with your homeowner’s association.

Additionally, there are various databases for lost dogs that you can add your pup’s information to in case someone is trying to find the owner of a dog they found. In addition to AKC Reunite, some of these resources include:

Be sure to use the same contact information across all platforms to avoid confusion, even if you co-own the dog with someone else. Additionally, if you are offering a reward, beware of scammers who will take advantage of your vulnerability. Ask for a picture of your dog to verify that they have them or wait to pick up your pup before transferring any money.

Don’t Give Up

The more persistent you are in your search, the more likely it is that your dog will find their way home. Keep checking your local shelters and asking around online and offline.

We understand how stressful it is to lose your pet, and we’re here to help you in any way we can. For more tips and tricks for your pup, sign up for our newsletter!