It is not uncommon for a dog to slip their leash, bolt out of the front door or simply just get away from you and become lost. Finding a lost pet can be very stressful and exhausting, but you need your dog and they need you. In situations like these, the best thing for you to do is remain calm and perform a thorough search.
Here are five steps to help you find a lost dog:
1. Look Where the Dog was Last Seen: Many times, if a dog has slipped their leash or bolted out of sight, they have not gone far. Some dogs are easily excited and unable to contain themselves whenever they smell, hear or see something to investigate.
So, the very first step to finding a lost dog is to thoroughly search the area where they were last seen. If you still cannot find your dog, then you should gradually expand your search area to include a larger radius.
2. Hide and Seek OR Lost and Found: After you have thoroughly searched the area where your dog was last seen, you should then think of your dog’s favorite places. In some cases, they may have headed for their favorite place and considers your search for them a game of Hide and Seek.
It is also a good idea to carry some of your dog’s favorite treats or toys when you are searching for them. If they are simply hiding, then one of these things may entice them to come out.
3. Ask Around: During your search, you should also check with friends and neighbors who would recognize your dog and may have seen them. This is especially true of neighbors who have dogs of their own. Dogs are social, pack animals. In some cases, you dog could have caught the scent of another dog who is in heat, which would excite them enough to temporarily abandon their owner.
If you have ever had doggie playdates with a friend, it may also be a good idea to search there. Dogs will often run off to play with their canine companions.
4.Get Help from the Community: Finally, after the first 3 steps have failed to find your dog, you should reach out to your community. You can start by finding the most recent photo that you have of your dog to create a flyer that can be posted around the community. Include information such as: your dog’s name, features, attributes, your address and phone number and any possible rewards offered.
In addition to this, of you are a member of any local online social media sites or forums, then you should also create a post with the same information as the flyer. Social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter can help you connect with friends and people in your community who may be able to help you find your pet. If you are a member of any forums that are local, regional or community based, then you should also create a posting there as well.
5. Check the Local Shelters and Pounds: Many times, when a lost dog is picked up or found, they end up going to the local shelter or pound. Even if your dog has a collar with your contact information, your dog will be held until they can contact you. If your dog’s collar does not have your contact information, then they could be held and possibly even adopted out or put to sleep if the shelter is unable to locate you.
You should check the shelters and pounds at least once a day until your dog is found. If your dog has been missing for some time, then it is also possible that their appearance has changed to the point where it could be hard to identify them. So, you should also be prepared to look for your dog having lost weight or looking mangy.
Prevent Lost Dogs
In order to reduce the chances of your dog becoming lost, there are a few things that you can do. While it is not entirely possible to prevent your dog from ever becoming lost, you can help to ensure that there is very little chance of it.
Collars & Tags
One of the most common forms of identification for dogs is their collars and tags. With a collar and tags that adequately provide your dog’s information, it is much more likely that should your canine companion ever become lost, someone may be able to return them to you.
Your dog’s tags should contain your dog’s name, your name and all of your contact information. In addition to that, you dog should also have a secondary tag that is provided by your veterinarian and shows that your dog has had the required rabies shots and vaccinations. This secondary tag alone has helped many people find their lost dog, due to the fact that shelters and individuals can contact your veterinarian in order to contact you.
Thanks to technology, dog owners now have the opportunity to have their dog fitted with a personal identification chip to ensure their safe return should they ever become lost. An identification chip is a small microchip that can be inserted beneath the dog’s skin with almost no pain. Veterinarians, pounds and shelters all have special scanners that can tell if a dog has been fitted with a microchip and can receive all of your dog’s important information. Aside from your contact information, these chips can also hold information such as your dog’s immunization records.
Having a lost dog is one of the most stressful situations that you can go through. By remaining calm, cool and collected, you can follow the five steps listed above to finding your pet. However, proper planning and preparation can also help prevent the chances of your pet becoming lost.