Miscellaneous

10 Steps To Find Your Lost Dog

lost dog

A lost dog is an emotional trauma for a family devastated by the loss of their furry family member. And the moments following the realization your dog is lost can be panic-filled as you decide what your first steps should be. Here, to mitigate the panic is your step by step guide – working from quick, best-case scenario to long-term, worst-case. Use it as a checklist.

STEPS TO FINDING YOUR LOST DOG

  1. Grab some dog treats, a leash, and your cell phone. Put a treat – recognizable at a bit of a distance – in your hand (like a dogbone-shaped cookie) or a packet of treats your dog would recognize. Of course, the purpose is to lure him to you when you set eyes on him and contain him with the leash once you have him.  Furthermore, if you’re a praying family, ask God to bless your search.
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  2. Next, enlist every able body in your household – treats in hand – to head outdoors and look for him within a 2-3 block area. Call his name frequently in a friendly tone. A friendly tone is key because you don’t want to risk frightening him to wander further away from you. However, one person should remain at home in case your dog returns or someone calls the home number on his tag. Dogs often end up in the custody of a “finder” who’ll want to contact the owner.
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  3. Expand your search area by looking for him with your vehicle. If this isn’t the first time he’s run away, look in the place/direction he’s gone before. Because even dogs are creatures of habit. Call his name frequently out of your open window. Most dogs are within a mile of their home.
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  4. As you look, use your cell phone to touch base with family members to see if any of them has found your dog. If not, call neighbors, local friends, and extended family members to help with your search. Because the more eyes looking for your dog in the early hours of their disappearance, the better your chance of recovering him.
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  5. The person waiting at home should locate a picture of your dog.  Also, they can inform your social media contacts (neighborhood group page) that your dog is missing.
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  6. If your search is unfruitful after several hours, notify local animal control, Humane Society, and animal shelters of your dog’s disappearance. He may already be there. If not, leave a detailed description of your animal as well as your contact information. They’ll be able to contact you as soon as he turns up. Then, visit these locations every few days, for the first 2 weeks, to check up. Once a week after that.
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  7. Next, contact local animal hospitals in case he was injured and taken for treatment. And since “finders,” who are not dog owners, sometimes think a vet’s office is the place to turn in a lost dog. Again, leave a detailed description and your contact information.
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  8. Post “Lost Dog” posters in your neighborhood. Most importantly, keep the poster very simple and easily read by passing cars. Tiny letters are unreadable. Include the words “Lost Dog”, his picture, color, breed, and phone number. Also, add the word(s) REWARD ($500) if you are able. These posters increase your chance of a reunion with your dog by over 200%.
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  9. Be persistent and hopeful in the first month. Sometimes, it takes time.
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  10. Finally, know the facts. According to statistics, just 16% of dogs lost longer than a few weeks reunite with their owners. Therefore, prepare to explain to your children that your lost dog has likely found a new home.

lost dog

  • These are great tips! I tend to panic and get frantic when situations like this arise and it doesn’t help anything, especially when our fast Husky gets loose!

    • Alexandra Armstrong

      Carly, my next dog is going to be slow – basset hound, maybe. 😉

  • Neely

    I feel like the invention of Facebook neighborhood groups have really helped. So many dogs in my neighborhood get found this way.

    • Alexandra Armstrong

      Just as I was reading your comment, a notice from our neighborhood group popped up on my screen about a “Found Dog”. Incredible timing, eh?!

  • This kind of scenario is like my worst nightmare! My dog doesn’t go outside without a leash on because he loves to run off like it’s a game and their have only been a couple of times where he had gotten loose and it made my heart stop, but luckily, I was able to lure him back with some treats!

    • Alexandra Armstrong

      My dog doesn’t run off for me, but he does run off if the little grands forget to close the deck gate. When they call him to come back, he looks over his shoulder and laughs (I’m sure.) So grab treats to lure them back is step 1. 🥓

  • This is such a great list! It must be heartbreaking to lose your doggo!

  • Aww! When our friend lost his dog at 10 at night we used our cars and covered a whole lot of area.

    Alix | apintsizedlifeblog.com