Losing your dog is a horrible experience but be assured that an ASPCA survey concluded 93% of lost dogs are found. Along with the feelings of fear of losing them forever, you may also be feeling guilty. This article will give you practical tips on how to find a lost dog.
Worrying about whether you should have just kept them on the leash or avoided certain areas you thought they might get lost in, are all valid concerns, but please don’t blame yourself!
Along with the feelings of fear of losing them forever, you may also be feeling guilty. Worrying about whether you should have just kept them on the leash or avoided certain areas you thought they might get lost in, are all valid concerns, but please don’t blame yourself!
There are lots of reasons why a dog can go missing, and its most likely your dog is just as eager to be reunited with you, as you want to have them home again. If you find yourself in this situation the best thing is to begin as soon as possible to try to find them. So, let’s not waste any more time discovering the top 10 tips for finding your lost dog.
1. How to find a lost dog: Retrace your steps!
If you have lost your dog whilst walking along a familiar trail, walk back the way you came to see if they have simply gone to sniff out something that previously interested them.
Dogs are naturally good at tracking, so when they get lost, they use their powerful nose to pick up their own scent and trace their trail. If this is the case, it’s likely your dog will be near the entrance to the place you began your walk.
2. Go to Their Favorite Spot
It is probable that a lost dog will stay near sights and smells that are familiar to them. Think about what things your dog is attracted to? What places in the area you are walking does your dog enjoy spending time at?
Once you’ve worked these out, head to them as soon as possible. If you don’t find your dog when you get there, leave a familiar toy or something with your scent on, out in the area for them to find, and check back frequently.
3. Ask other Dog Walkers
Dog walkers can be an invaluable help when searching for a missing dog. Ask every dog walker you come across if they have seen your dog, giving a good clear description to each one.
Give your number to them too and ask them to call if they see your dog. It’s also a good idea to give them some of your dog’s favorite treats to entice your pet if they come across them.
4. Home is Where the Heart is
The majority of dogs are found close to where they go missing, and thanks to your pups amazing tracking skills, lots of dogs will make their way home when they are separated from their owner.
Get on your cell phone and call all your neighbors to see if they have spotted your dog. If you don’t have all their telephone numbers, ask a neighbor or a friend to knock on their doors to ask around.
If that isn’t possible, use a telephone directory service to obtain the telephone numbers of your neighbors and get calling.
5. Use Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool to reach a lot of people at once. It is more popular than ever to spread information about missing pets on social networks.
Create a post about your pooch including as much information as possible about them, where and when they went missing, as well as a few clear true-to-life photographs.
Don’t just share it with your friends, post it on local lost pet pages, and on the pages of animal shelters and vets. Don’t forget to include the hashtag #lostdog and local hashtags specific to your area too.
You can also share your post via phone messaging services, like Skype and WhatsApp. Don’t be shy in asking everyone to share your post!
6. Report it
File a report with your local police and get in touch with all local animal shelters, vets, and animal charities to share a detailed description of your dog and the circumstances of how they went missing.
7. Wait It Out
It may seem counter-intuitive to stop searching but one person alone cannot cover much ground. Go home and mobilize a search party, enlisting the help of family and friends.
You should also go back and regularly check the last place you saw your dog, as well as their favorite spots. Do this at different times, at least once a day. If you always check at the same time, you and your dog could be missing each other by just minutes!
8. Make a Map
Mark on a map the areas you know your dog likes to spend time in or areas they may be attracted to.
Think about other dogs in the area that your dog may have decided to spend some time with. Also mark out places that you think your dog may avoid.
Once you start mapping these out, you will get a better idea of the search area you should be covering.
9. Don’t Give Chase
When you do spot your dog, your first instinct may be to yell out and run towards them. However, this is likely to be unhelpful as your dog may become startled, or think they are in trouble, and they could take off again.
They may also misread your signals and think it’s part of a game, which could send them bounding in the opposite direction.
Make sure to keep your pockets filled with their favorite treats, to offer them up when you see them, and speak in a calm and relaxed voice, so you don’t scare them off.
10. Prevention Tips
There are good practices you can implement to help prevent your dog from getting lost.
Firstly, ensure they are micro chipped and your contact details on their chip are always kept up-to-date.
Secondly, ensure that you take them on long, exploratory walks on a regular basis. If the only chance they get to venture out is for a quick ten-minute bathroom break once a day, its likely they will use this as an opportunity to escape and experience more stimulation.
Finally, its crucial that you train your dog to obey your recall commands, so that they are confident in how to return to you if you become separated from each other.