Learning how to find a lost dog before your family pet goes missing is one of the best ways to ensure a successful homecoming. The family pet is a very important member of the family. Understanding how to both protect your pet before he is lost or missing, as well as afterwards, allows you to develop a plan in advance to immediately begin a search for your beloved family dog.
Steps to Find a Lost Dog:
- Ensure that your dog can be easily identified before he goes missing. Make sure that your dog wears proper identification on a sturdy collar—even if he spends most of his time indoors. Be sure to include your pet’s name, address and contact telephone numbers.
- Do not forget to properly license and vaccinate your dog. In addition to being a responsible pet owner, many fail to realize that in many states, both a license tag and a rabies tag can help reunite a lost dog with his family. Local dog licenses are issued to specific animals with the pet owner’s contact information recorded by the agency issuing the license. Rabies vaccines are often traceable to a specific veterinarian or clinic which is sometimes able to research records and identify the immunized pet’s family.
- Microchip your pet. Microchipping is a fairly low cost method to allow your pet to speak for you should he become lost without identification. Microchip scanners can be found at a number of pet friendly locations such as veterinarians, shelters, kennels, groomers and even in many pet stores. If your pet has been microchipped and properly registered, that little electronic device stores vital information about the pet and his family.
- Develop a "missing pet response kit" before the dog is missing. Even with preventive measures, accidents happen and pets find themselves lost or missing. Take the time in advance to compile a list of email addresses for local pet friendly groups and organizations, maintain current photos of your pet, and even consider having a pre-made flyer ready that can be printed and distributed quickly. When the stress and anxiety of the lost pet strikes, you will already have tools ready to use for your search.
- Harness the power of the internet. Post information about your missing pet on the social network sites that you frequent—and be sure to ask your friends to re-post on their pages as well. Take advantage of email and contact local shelters, dog parks or any other pet friendly group in your area. Many are more than willing to send out lost pet information to their own mailing lists and newsgroups. Take advantage of online lost pet services and finders and be sure to post more than one contact method or telephone number.
- Do not forget the importance of a physical search. Many dogs are located near home—but some can stray for several miles on foot, or be transported across town by a well meaning passerby with the intention of protecting the animal from harm. If you live in a metropolitan area, by all means, begin by checking local shelters, veterinarians and pet businesses, but be sure to branch your search out to nearby suburbs and areas as well. It is also important to remember that a physical shelter visit may yield better results than a phone call. Shelters are staffed by busy volunteers who may not be familiar with every animal in the facility on a given day. While your description may be 100% accurate, you may speak with someone who had not seen all of the dogs on a given day!
- Do not give up hope. There are many successful pet family reunions happening months and even years after the animal’s disappearance. While losing a pet is heartbreaking and stressful, there are often happy endings.