Lost Dog! How to Avoid the Unthinkable (And What to Do If it Happens)

lost dog

July is lost pet prevention month. Lost pet prevention month was created in 2014 to give pet parents focused, in-depth resources, tools and strategies for preventing a lost pet, as well as advice for getting them home quickly if they go ‘AWOL’ (Absent without a leash).

Every year, the Humane Society of the United States estimates that 10 million pets get lost.

It can be overwhelming to figure out what to do when you have a lost dog or cat. There are several different resources to consider when you have a missing pet.

Most importantly, you should try to remain calm, hold on to hope, and try to use as many different tools as you can.

Many owners are able to be united with their pets as long as they follow a few crucial steps, as missing even one of them could mean losing your pet.

Today we talk about lost dogs. Read on to learn why it is important to have a process while searching for your lost dog, as well as how you can prevent it from happening in the future.

Steps to Find Your Lost Dog

The first reaction people generally have to a lost dog is to panic. This is a completely understandable and normal emotion to feel, but in order to search most effectively, you need to come at it with a level-head.

Take a few minutes to regroup and formulate a plan based on this list. The sooner you are able to search, the better your chances are at finding your pet.

As well, delegate tasks if you are able to other family members so that you all can get the most done as quickly as possible.

1. Contact Local Organizations

The very first step you should take is to call local animal shelters and animal control agencies.

The likelihood of your pet being there will depend on many different factors, such as how long ago they went missing, and the region you live in.

As a general rule, file a missing pet report for any shelters or organizations within a 60-mile radius of your home.

To find these shelters, search online or check phonebook. In the event that there are no local shelters, contact the police department to file a report.

Provide a description of your pet to them, as well as a clear picture for them to display in the event that they see your dog.

lost dog

2. Search the Neighborhood

Once you have contacted as many agencies in the area as possible, begin to search your neighborhood.

It can also be helpful if one person is able to begin contacting shelters, while the other is checking the immediate area.

Searching the neighborhood a few times a day is a crucial step to finding your pet, even if it has been a while.

Moreover, try to let the local postal workers and delivery drivers know you are looking for your dog. As well, provide them with a flyer or picture directly.

3. Post Advertisements

Creating a flyer with the name, age, sex, breed, and description of your pet can go a long way in finding them.

Once you have your flyer, post it anywhere you can think of. Vet offices, community centers, grocery stores, traffic intersections, and pet supply stores are a great start.

Other locations will depend on what is in your area, but no matter where you are able to put it this can help create awareness.

Moreover, consider contacting the local newspaper to place a missing pet advertisement, as many will allow you to do this at no cost.

lost dog

4. Utilize Online Resources

There is an abundance of online resources and newer technology for you to use as you look for your missing pet.

The Center for Lost Pets, Craigslist, Fido Finder, Lost Dogs of America, Lost Pet USA, and Missing Pet Partnership are great places to start.

5. Stay Wary of Scams

Unfortunately, there are plenty of people willing to take advantage of those looking for their dog.

This often takes the form of monetary requests or requests for wire transfers from people claiming to have your dog.

Always ask for them to send a picture of your dog if they claim to have it. Moreover, try to leave out one unique aspect of your dog or its coat.

Then, have the person give you a thorough description of your animal if they claim to have it. If they only can describe what you have posted online or in the flyer, it is likely a scam.

6. Never Give Up Hope

Regardless of how many of these steps you are able to take, remember not to give up hope in finding them.

There are many success stories in finding lost pets, even after long periods of time.

lost dog

Prevent a Reoccurance

In the event you find your pet, remember there are also ways to prevent losing them again.

In Honor of National Lost Pet Prevention Day, try to take steps to keep your dog with you.

Have them wear a collar and tag as much as possible, get them microchipped, spay and neuter them, and keep them safe and secure outdoors and indoors.

Final Thoughts on Lost Pets

Overall, it is possible to find your lost dog as long as you handle the situation calmly and effectively.

In a panicked state, it can be easy to overlook steps and make other mistakes. Therefore, try to be methodical, and divide tasks between you and your family.

Remember to contact your local organizations, post flyers, advertise online, and search your neighborhood as much as possible.

As well, be wary of any scammers claiming to have found your pet. But, do not lose hope at any point in the journey. Anything is possible, and it is important that you do as much as you possibly can to find them.

For more information on keeping your pet safe, check out our post on seven ways to keep them cool this summer.

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