It’s devastating for any owner to discover that their beloved dog has gone missing. It is key to start a thorough search immediately before your dog has time to go far. Remember 90% of dogs are found within 2 miles of where they were lost. By following the steps below you will put yourself in the best position to get your dog back home safe, well and as quickly as possible.
1. Start by searching local areas and parks
Your dog may have decided to walk itself.
2. Keep your front and back garden gates open
In case your dog decides to return.
3. Personally go round and check with all your neighbours
Show them a photo, leave your number and try and enlist their help with the search.
4. Print posters and put up around the local area
Include police stations, vets, parks, supermarkets and local businesses where allowed. Print cards and post through your neighbour’s doors. Ensure your posters and cards have a clear, recent picture of your dog with a good description, the dog’s name, your name and contact details and your vet’s name and contact details.
Offer a reward but do not say for how much. Ensure you leave at least one descriptive detail out of your poster so you can quiz any potential finders and rule out any scams. Use big lettering for the header ‘Lost Dog’ so people can notice it from a moving vehicle.
5. If you own any other dogs take them out on the search with you
They will smell out their housemate much sooner than you will see them and will leave invaluable scents for your missing pup to follow.
6. If you don’t own an answer machine buy one now
You don’t want to miss any important leads.
7. Check with your local council
Somebody may have handed in your dog. Street cleaners and the public may pick up strays and lost dogs.
8. Mobilise all available help
Enlist family, friends and neighbours.
9. Drive around the local neighbourhood and surrounding areas
Loudly call your dog’s name. Ensure you are very careful at busy roads and junctions – if your dog hears it’s name, it may come running out to find you.
10. If your dog is friendly to strangers
Check parks, schools and other busy public areas. Children are very observant and have a natural attraction and affection for animals – they will notice things adults won’t.
11. If your dog is shy, easily frightened or you suspect it may be injured
Check places that offer instinctual seclusion or ‘hiding’ places. Carefully check any local building sites, bushes and nooks.
12. Contact a local rescue club, RSPCA or tracking club
They may be able to help trace your dog.
13. Contact local pet hospitals, vets and shelters
If your dog has been found injured, it may have been taken to one of these places.
14. If you haven’t found your dog in 24hrs
Post a picture and description with full contact details in your local papers, local classified websites such as Loot.com and online pet forums. Check the National Pets Register or the Animal Search UK website.
Also make sure you check with local radio stations. They may be willing to report your missing pet. Post adverts on any lost and found websites you can find and look out for any dogs for sale that match your dog’s description.
15. Keep ringing the council, rescue centres, vets and shelters
EVERY DAY your dog is missing.
16. Do not dismiss any leads
No matter how remote they seem.
17. Never give up
Missing dogs can be found months later.
Of course the best way to get your lost dog back quickly is to ensure you do the following as soon as you acquire a dog:
- Always ensure your pet has a collar and tag. With full contact details of yourself and your vet.
- Your dog should be micro-chipped as a puppy. If this wasn’t done, do it now. Check the Dogs Trust website for more information.
- Keep your dog stimulated physically and mentally. This will ensure it will not wonder off on adventures without you.
- Consider neutering or spaying your animal. This will prevent it wandering off to find a mate.
- Keep your pets well fed. Do not leave them for many hours without food and water.
- Keep front and back garden gates and household doors closed. To prevent especially young or vulnerable animals wondering out.
- Keep up to date photos of your pets. In case of emergencies always keep them somewhere you can find them easily and quickly.
- Study your pet. Note any interesting patterns or markings that can help identify them at a later date.