A dog going missing is absolutely heart wrenching, but if you do ever find yourself in this situation try to remain calm. Here's a plan to help you effectively recover your lost dog.
Ask Yourself Why
Quickly try to imagine why your pet may have taken off. Are they overly curious by nature, or easily frightened by loud noises? Are they unneutered and searching for a mate? Were they recently rehomed? If there’s an obvious answer to any of these questions, it could lead you to your pet’s location. For example, a recently rehomed pet may have taken off in search of their former family. An unneutered male may be on the scent of a female in heat. A timid dog may be hiding beneath the porch cowering in fear of a fireworks display. If you can’t think of a reason, don’t worry. Begin your search near the last place your dog was seen.
How To Search
If your dog is missing, immediately begin searching within the two-mile radius of where he or she was last seen. Recruit family and friends to help you comb the neighborhood and pay special attention to spots your dog is fond of. Try to keep your voice as calm and positive as possible. A dog who fears that he or she is in trouble is unlikely to respond to panicked voices. In addition to their name, use familiar words and commands that the dog responds positively to such as “treat,” or “wanna go for a walk?...car ride?” etc. Take a moment to think about your dog’s favorite walking spots or destinations. Send a friend that your dog is familiar with to those places while you continue to search the vicinity.
Who To Notify
If your immediate search is not successful, start notifying any pet recovery services you may be signed up with. Here’s a useful lost pet service provided by AKC Reunite. It’s a good idea to set them up now and save their number in your cell phone. If your dog is microchipped, contact the company that monitors the information. Next, file a report at your local police stations and at all of the shelters and humane societies within a 50-60 mile radius. Be ready to send in a clear photograph and description of your lost dog.
Enlist the Help of your Community
Share your dog’s photo on social media and print as many posters as you can. Consider offering a reward to greatly increase your chances of enlisting the help of strangers. Large color photos that display your dog’s face are usually best. Include clear, easy-to-read contact information and do not overload your flyer with unnecessary text. Leave out enticing food and enlist the help of a professional trapper.
A dog becoming lost can happen to even the most attentive and mindful owners. Getting spooked by a loud truck driving past or darting after a squirrel across the street are accidents that no one can anticipate. What you can do however is be prepared. Here's a checklist we put together of things to do if your pup goes missing.
Lost Dog Checklist:
- Stay calm.
- Try to think of some reasons why your dog may have run off.
- Start your search in the last place your dog was seen.
- Enlist the help of friends and family.
- Check the places your dog likes to hang out.
When they are back safe in your home, consider getting them a LINK AKC smart collar so you are able to track them in the event that they are ever lost again in the future.