7 Tips for Finding a Lost Dog

If your dog is lost, there are a number of steps you can take to increase your chance of finding your canine companion.

Contact Your Local Shelter and Animal Control

You can find your agency by looking in the yellow pages or calling your veterinarian or local pet store for a contact number. Alert them to the fact that your dog is lost. They will ask you basic questions, such as the breed(s) of the dog, age, size, color, collar type/color, any form of identification (such as a lincense, rabies tag, identification tag, microchip or tattoo) and if there are any markings or identifying features that would set your dog apart from all others.

You'll need to know when and where your dog went missing. Most agencies will have a lost/found procedure and can walk you through what might need to be done next, such as coming in yourself to identify a possible match or if they would call you for a possible match. It is always a good idea to go to the facility to see for yourself if your dog is at the shelter as misidentified dogs are common in animal welfare organizations.

Go door to door

Often times someone in the neighborhood was home when your dog went missing and if they don't already have your dog hiding in their house or garage, waiting for you to come home, they may have seen something and can at least help you pinpoint what time the dog went missing, if someone picked him/her up, or did a friend take the dog home with her hoping a distraught owner might post lost flyers.

Call Local Veterinary Hospitals

In the unfortunate event that your dog was injured while missing, a good samaritan may have picked up your dog and taken him/her to a local vet. Make sure to call local veterinary hospitals and emergency vet clinics to see if any injured strays have been brought in fitting your dog's description.

Make Missing Dog Fliers

Keep your fliers brief and noticeable. "Lost dog" at the top with a picture, description, where lost, your contact information and listing "reward" sometimes make people more inclined to help you out if they think they may be compensated for their actions. Put the flier everywhere you can in your neighborhood, and also local veterinary hospitals, pet stores and animal shelters or rescue organizations.

Contact Your Microchip Company

Pets that are microchipped by Avid and/or Home Again can call the main number on their websites and an electronic flag will be put on your pet's file that the dog is missing. In the case that the dog ends up at a shelter or veterinary hospital and is scanned, the agency will quickly be alerted that the owner is looking for the dog.

Put an Ad in the Newspaper/Website

You may want to consider putting an ad in the newspaper or posting on the numerous websites that offer free postings to people who have lost pets.

Hire a Pet Detective

There are pet detectives that offer their services using their experience and knowledge of dog behavior to aid an owner in finding their lost dog.

The best thing you can do to find your missing dog is to act quickly and keep looking. Think outside the area as well as people passing through may not be familiar with the area but and the animal may end up outside the obvious search area at a shelter you may never consider. Continue calling your local animal control agency as staff often get bogged down and can't respond to every lost pet inquiry. And make sure to visit your animal shelter frequently as most get dogs in throughout the day.