“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
— Roger Caras
What to do if you find a lost dog or lose your own? A lost pet means loads of stress, worry, and sleepless nights for pet owners. But these tips below will help you find your missing pet or help you reunite a lost pet with its family.
What To Do if You Lost Your Dog?
Firstly, what are the chances of finding a lost pet? The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that there is a 93 percent chance of recovering lost dogs.
This high statistic means that there is hope for finding your lost dog. What to do if I lost my dog? Here are some steps you can take to help you locate your pet fast.
1. Check Your Home and Immediate Surroundings
A person who has never owned a dog has missed a wonderful part of life.
— Bob Barker
What to do if you lost your dog? If you can’t find your dog, check everywhere at home and widen your search to your immediate surroundings. If your dog is afraid, it might be hiding close by. Or, it may be trapped or stuck somewhere. Look inside your closets, basement, attic, garage, shed, yard, and other areas where your dog may be.
Ask your family and friends if they might have spotted your dog. You can also carry its toys, treats, bedding, or your own clothes to draw your pet out with familiar scents.
Treats like plums are also a good idea. Are plums good for dogs? Yes, you can feed your dog the flesh of the fruit. Just make sure you don’t give it the pits.
2. Confirm Your Pet’s Microchip Contact Details
If your dog has a microchip, contact the microchip company and check if your contact details are updated. If someone locates your dog and takes it to a shelter or vet, they can scan its microchip ID and contact you through the microchip database.
Also, inform the microchip company about your missing dog. They will then notify local shelters to keep a lookout.
If you don’t have the company’s details, use your dog’s microchip ID number to look up the company in the universal pet microchip lookup tool. You can also use the following microchip databases to register your contact information:
Note that you can’t use a microchip to locate your pet as it does not have GPS or other real-time tracking technology. It only identifies a lost dog’s contact information.
3. Search the Local Area
Establish a search radius covering the area where your dog got lost or might go to play or hide. Also, factor in nearby places where your dog could get stuck. Then search your locality and expand the radius as necessary. Carry your pet’s toys, treats, or bedding with you to lure your pet out of hiding.
While you’re searching, call out your dog’s name calmly and clearly. Also, ask your family members, neighbors, and friends to help you look for your dog. You can also show your neighbors and passers-by photos of your dog and ask them if they saw it anywhere. Give them a copy of your pet’s photo with your contact details.
You must also ensure that a family member or someone else you trust stays home while you’re out searching. So, if your pet returns during that time, there will be someone to receive it. Keep your gate and door open to let your dog enter if it returns home on its own.
4. Call Local Shelters To Report Your Missing Dog
Contact local animal shelters and other such organizations to let them know about your lost dog. They will be able to tell you if anyone has brought your dog to their facilities.
In the US, Petco Lost Love can help you report your missing dog using its national database. You can also sort through posts of found dogs to check if someone has seen your pet.
5. Use Social Media
Post about your lost dog on Facebook and other social media networks along with the following details:
- Your dog’s description, including any special marks or features
- Clear photos of your pet
- Collar tag information
- Microchip ID number
- Information about your dog’s nature (for instance, if it is friendly or timid)
- The date, approximate time, and place your dog was seen last
- Reward details
- Your contact details
Don’t forget to post in local Facebook groups for missing or lost dogs to increase your chances of finding your dog.
6. Print and Distribute Flyers
Create posters with your lost dog’s details and print them on large neon paper for better visibility. Hang them on telephone poles and bulletin boards in your locality and your dog’s last known location. Also, post them on your door or in your yard and outside vet clinics, animal shelters, and pet stores.
What To Do if You Find a Lost Dog?
What to do if you find a lost dog? Here are four steps to take to reunite a lost pet with its owner:
1. Approach the Dog Carefully
What to do if you find a dog that is lost on the street? The first step is to read its body language and approach it carefully. Not every dog is friendly or vaccinated. So, allow it to sniff your hand before you try to touch it. If it has an injury, immediately take it to a nearby vet. A good vet typically takes in lost and injured pets and cares for them.
2. Inspect the Dog’s Tag or Microchip
After approaching the lost dog, check its tag or microchip. If you find a tag with a contact number, call it and check if you can return the lost dog. If it only has an address, take the pet to its home with caution.
If the pet has no tags but has a microchip, take it to a shelter or vet’s clinic. These places generally have microchip readers that can read the pet owner’s contact details so you can contact the owner.
3. Keep the Dog Safe
If you can’t get in touch with the dog’s owner, take the dog to a vet or no-kill shelter. Learn about the shelter’s protocols before handing over the dog to them. Many shelters may keep a pet for a few weeks until the owner retrieves it. If no one steps forward until then, they will put up the pet for adoption.
If you can’t keep the dog in a vet or clinic and want to take it home, have a vet check it for fleas, especially if you have other pets.
4. Spread the Word
Spread the word to alert the dog’s owner. You can post the dog’s description and photos in the following places where people often search for lost pets:
- Facebook groups for lost dogs and other social media networks
- Local animal shelters, hospitals, and vets
Also, scan lost pet listings and see if someone has posted about the dog you found.
Finally, note that if someone contacts you and asks for money, it is mostly a scam. Ask them for proof of ownership such as photos, vet records, or the dog’s paperwork.
If the owner contacts you, remove the posts and inform those you contacted about the lost dog. This will help them remove the dog’s details from their search list.
What to do if you find a lost dog or lose your pet? Use microchips and social media. Contact vets and shelters to help you search for your lost pet or the lost dog’s owner.
If you’ve come across a lost dog, do what you can to help reunite it with its human family. On the other hand, if you’ve lost your pet, keep looking and we hope that these steps will help you find your missing four-legged family member!