You let your dog out in the fenced yard like you do every morning. You go to let them in, and they’re gone. Panic sets in and the scrambling starts. You start walking through the neighborhood looking and if you’re lucky, your dog hasn’t gotten very far and you find it. But after hours of walking or driving around with no luck, what do you do? Don’t give up hope; there are ways to track down your lost partner.
For Chipped Dogs
If your dog has a microchip, call the recovery hotline for that chip. Most of the microchips are either Home Again or AVID. Both have a 24-hour service for lost and found pets. When you call, have your dog’s ID number handy: it’s the first thing they will ask for.
Make and Distribute Flyers
Using a picture of your dog, make a simple flyer with a picture of the dog, a bit about them, and at least one way to contact you, such as a phone number and email address. You can add a small reward, too. Make the print big. People need to be able to see it from their cars. Once created, do the following:
- Make copies at least 30
- Buy a package of sheet protectors and a roll of duct tape
- At EVERY intersection close to your home, post a flyer, in a sheet protector, and make sure you post on all corners so you can catch drivers coming and going in any direction. Remember where you post them so you can retrieve them when your dog is home safe.
- If you have stores nearby with bulletin boards, post a flyer there
- Drop off a copy at the local police department
- Take a copy to the local animal shelter
- Give a copy to neighbors
- Use the Internet
There are a number of places on the internet to post that your dog is missing. Petfinders.com is a good place to start. They post to places like Facebook and get the exposure out there. You can also post to Facebook, as well. If you post to groups, look for ones that are made up of people from your local area.
Once the Word is Out There
Now comes the hardest part: waiting. Make sure to put food and water outside somewhere your dog can get to easily if he or she tries to come home on their own. Call the shelter and animal control a few times a day to check in to see if anyone has brought in a stray. It’s important to keep checking, especially if your dog is not chipped, collared or tagged.
The faster you get the word out the dog is missing, the better your chances of finding him. It’s a very upsetting and frustrating situation to be in, but don’t get caught up in self-blame or guilt. Just get to work hunting them down and bringing your dog home safe. Once your dog is found, don’t forget to go back out and take down all search flyers, and let places like the police department know the animal has been recovered.