An estimated 10 million dogs and cats go missing each year leaving their owners feeling hopeless and despairing. When you lose a dog, it can feel overwhelming to know where to begin your search.
Luckily, we're here to tell you how to find a lost dog. While there's no guarantee these options will work, they give you and your dog a fighting chance of being reunited. The best thing you can do is keep the search going, start early, and get as much of your community involved as possible.
Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Report Your Dog Missing and Contact Shelters
There are a number of places where you can and should report your dog missing in order to find a lost pet. In the US, you can register your dog as missing through PetCo lost love. You can also search through the found pets in their database by appearance and location.
That's a country-wide option, but you may have even more success through local organizations. Contact local shelters, rescue centers, community centers, police stations, and even veterinary offices to report that you're missing a dog. Give a full and detailed description so that they can keep an eye out for your dog should it end up in their care.
Even once you've reported your dog missing, you can call back at these locations to regularly check if they've acquired a dog matching your dog's description.
2. Use Social Media
Social media is a wonderful tool for finding a lost pet. Everyone loves a heartwarming tale and most people feel a tug at their heartstrings when they see that a beloved pet is missing.
Just by making one post that your dog is missing, you can set off a chain reaction that gets your whole community looking. The more eyes you have on the lookout the better your odds are of being reunited with your pet.
You should include the following information in your post:
- Several pictures and a written description
- Your dog's name and any tags he may be wearing
- Date and area your dog was last seen
- Your dog's temperament towards strangers
- A way to contact you
Most importantly, make sure that your post isn't private and can be shared. That way more and more people will know to keep a lookout for your furry friend.
3. Put Out Food
In some cases, missing dogs don't actually travel very far. They may just be scared or a little lost and not far from home.
That's why you should put some food and water out for your dog when it goes missing. This is especially a good idea if you have to call it a night and stop your search for some hours to sleep. Put a camera by the food so that you can know if your dog came by.
4. Get Evidence When Your Dog Is Found
Unfortunately, there are bad people in the world who will use lost pets and emotions as an opportunity to scam people. Unless you are specifically offering a reward, no one should coerce you to pay money in order to get your dog returned. If this happens, call the police.
If you do offer a reward for finding your dog, make sure that the person has it for sure before handing over the reward money. If you're working with a genuine person, they should be willing to give you your dog before they receive the reward money.
5. How to Prevent Dog Loss
Whether you've lost a dog before and never want to go through it again or you're worried without ever going through a loss, you need to know how to keep your pets safe. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent losing a dog and to get them back quickly and safely.
Use a Pet Tracker
It's time to get a dog tracker. You can have your vet put a microchip in your dog, but this option can be expensive and uncomfortable for your dog.
Instead, consider a dog GPS that clips onto their collar such as the Pebblebee Found. Once it's attached to your dog's collar, you only have to take it off to charge once in a while. Found has various tracking modes that can help you optimize charging frequenzy. Once you've noticed your dog is missing you'll have an option to track him via GPS (over LTE-M) or to have the Found play a sound to help you locate your dog.
The best part is that you can even place a boundary of where you expect your dog to be. When your dog exits that location, you'll get a notification that he's gone missing. This is crucial because sometimes owners don't notice right away when their dog slips out. It can be hours before they begin the search, and by that time the dog has often traveled far.
Know Your Dog's Personality
You should also be aware of your dog's personality and habits. If your dog has a propensity to chase after things, never walk him or her without a collar and leash. Quickly chasing a squirrel can lead to a lost dog if you can't keep up.
If your dog gets excited when people come over or when the door opens, always make sure that someone has a firm grasp of its collar before the door gets opened.
If your dog gets nervous around loud noises, you may want to get a crate for thunderstorms and fireworks shows to make sure that it doesn't panic and run away.
You and your knowledge of your dog's behaviors are the best defense it has from getting spooked and running away.
How to Find a Lost Dog and Never Lose It Again
Learning how to find a lost dog is as easy as getting your community involved. So many people are happy and willing to help you find a lost dog. Everyone loves to reunite people with their beloved pets, so contact shelters and make social media posts.
Are you ready to protect your pet from future runaways with a pet tracker? Check out our tracking devices here!