Every dog owner will tell you that their dog is not simply a pet. Their dog is a family member. This is why it can be a truly traumatic time if a family loses their dog. Regardless of how the dog got away, the actions you take immediately following can determine if you get your valued family member back or not.
Many dog owners today are saved by a microchip. This small chip is implanted in the dog, usually at the same time it is under anesthesia while being spayed or neutered. The chip provides GPS tracking in the case the dog is lost or even stolen.
However, if your dog is not microchipped, all is not lost. There are a handful of steps you can follow, in no particular order, that can help you recover your furry friend.
Search for Your Dog
Immediately after noticing the absence of your dog, you should go out looking for him or her. Get family, friends, and neighbors to help with canvassing the neighborhood. Checking places you think your pet might be is usually not successful. When a dog gets loose, there is not telling where he or she might go.
You should walk and drive around the neighborhood calling for your pet by name. People searching on foot can check down small alleys, walking trails, and parks. If you are in the car and searching for your dog, drive slow, call for pet by name with the windows rolled down, and make frequent stops with the vehicle off to listen.
Searching for your dog at night or at dawn is often the best solution. You have much less exterior activity going on which not only creates less noise for you to try to break through, but it also provides less stimulant for your dog.
Make Posters and Info Cards
After a quick yet thorough search, you should take the time to create posters and informational cards. You should make as many posters as you possibly can, with a very simple statement of “LOST DOG” at the top. This should be easy to read even if the person is driving their car. Describe your dog and then include an image if possible. You should also include your dog’s name and offer a reward, but don’t state how much. Then, obviously, include your own contact information.
In addition to posters, you can create informational index cards to pass around the neighborhood. This too should include your pet’s description, name, along with your own contact information. You can even request that people check their sheds or hidden areas of their yards. Leave the index cards wherever people are going to pick it up. You can deliver it door-to-door, slide it into people’s doors, place them under windshields, or place them in mailboxes.
Place a “Lost” Ad in the Paper
A lot of local newspapers allow pet owners to place “Lost” ads for free. Despite how much you read the paper, you never know who might check that section frequently or who may have information about your dog’s whereabouts but have no idea who to contact. In a lost dog situation, every set of eyes matters.
Enlist the Help of Social Media
Believe it or not, social media has been a huge success in terms of helping dog owners find lost dogs. Pet lovers are quick to share and like pet related posts, and missing pets are no different. These fellow dog owners know the importance of returning a pet home and will have no hesitation in reaching out to their own networks to enlist help.
Again, the more people that are aware of the missing dog, the higher the odds are that the dog gets returned. There is no quicker way to spread the word than through a viral Facebook post.
Contact and Visit Local Vets, Shelters, and Pounds
Finally, you should be contacting local veterinarians, shelters, and pounds. You should even contact vet clinics or emergency vet hospitals outside of your local area. Some good Samaritans pick up strays but may unknowingly bring them further away from their home if they know of a responsible animal hospital.
You should also be contacting local shelters, dogs pounds, kennels, and police. Police can help contact animal control as well as their fellow comrades in blue. Kennels will often take in dogs if one of their employees happens upon a stray. When it comes to dog pounds and shelters, a simple call may not suffice. Unfortunately you can’t always take their word for it when they say that they don’t have a dog that meets your description. You should visit the pounds and shelters daily, personally viewing all of the dogs they have.