What Should You Do If You Lose Your Dog

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Losing your pet is upsetting and stressful. Luckily, losing your dog doesn't mean that he is lost forever. Check these nine steps on how to find your dog in record time.

What should I do if I lose a dog? This is probably the one question that every dog owner (or a dog sitter) would love to avoid in a lifetime. However, this can happen. Losing a god is not immediately a sign that you are a bad pet owner. Things just happen and pets get lost.

Some are easily scared from any noise, such as fireworks. Specific noise can make dogs jump over the backyard fence and push them running to the unknown. Some of them will easily find their way home. On the other hand, some don’t know how to find their way back to a loving and safe home.

Regardless of the reason behind losing your dog, you should know what to do in those situations. So, let’s explore the concrete action-moves.

What Should You Do If You Lose Your Dog?

Losing a dog can be a traumatic experience, both for the owner and the dog. However, if this happens you need to make sure that you have a plan and that you will remain calm. A lost dog is also scared, sad, and probably running around panicking. You should know and do, better.

The majority of people are confused when they lose their dog, so they barely know what to do, even less how to find them. The most important thing here is that you need to be well-aware that you have to put other things on the side and find your pet. Yes, you have obligations, family, work, and everything else, but if your dog is missing you need to prioritize and organize. Your dog needs you.

Luckily, there are plenty of things that you can do to get your dog home and maximize your chance of finding your dog. But, before we begin going step-by-step on finding your Fido, you should know that dogs almost always find their way home.

Dogs Know Their Way Back Home

Dogs love being outside. Actually, next to food, exploring the outdoors with their humans is probably the No.1 activity.

Having a dog means that you spend a lot of time outdoors. So far, you know that when your canine just hears the word ‘walk’, ‘park’ or ‘leash‘ he will be at the door happily wagging his tail while you are preparing to take him out. This is a great and mandatory way to keep your canine healthy and active. Moreover, being outside is a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated.

Dogs can spend hours just sniffing around. Just as you walk, look, or touch unknown, dogs use their scent of smell to get familiar with the world around them – by smell.

Do a little exercise next time when you are walking: just as your dog finishes his business, tell him to go home (while on the leash) or ask him where the home is, and you will see him, most likely, heading home and leading you.

Dogs know where the home is if you took them out often enough for them to get to know the area. This is also a great way to teach your dog command ‘home’ and to prepare him in case he gets lost one day.

But… How they go the extremely long distances?

There is one thing that you should understand about dogs and that’s that their scent range works similar to the mobile phone coverage. They will always go around, around familiar scents. That’s how stray dogs found each other so easily.

They wander around and accidentally pick up the scent of a familiar dog. However, when it comes to extremely long distances, or in cases when a dog was transporter…how do they find their home? According to scientists, this may be linked with magnetoreception, otherwise known ability to perceive altitude, location, and direction, based on a magnetic field.

Moreover, the study published in the Frontiers in Zoology discovered that dogs tend to mark their territory/go to the bathroom while facing north or south. But, regardless of your dog’s extraordinary ability to find its way home and seize many scents, you should bear in mind that there are always exceptions, and your dog just might be a puppy, not trained well, so the scenario might be different. That being said, you should follow these 9 steps to get your dog home.

9 Things You Can Do to Find Your Lost Dog

Losing your dog can be scary, especially if a stressful situation happened and cause the escape. However, you need to stay calm and ease this traumatic experience as much as possible, both for your dog and yourself. Here are concrete action-packed steps that should help you find your furry friend.

1. Don’t Panic

This may sound at first as a too basic step, but truth be told, this is the most important step. If you start panicking you won’t be able to do anything of the following. So, take a deep breath, stay calm, and proceed with the following steps.

2. Make A Plan

Yes, take a minute to think! This will give you the needed time to think, organize and ask for help. This is also a great way to think about the things that you wouldn’t think about in general. Also, everything is much easier with a plan.

List all the steps that you believe might help in finding your canine. Call people to help, and contact family members to be supported.

3. Search The Neighborhood

In most cases, pets will stay in a known area. Let’s face it, no one if a fan of new places when scared. Therefore, make sure that you go carefully through the neighboorhood. You can do this by foot or drive through your neighborhood more than once every day. Make sure that you inform neighbors that your dog is missing, and ask them to inform you, or even better keep his at home while you arrive if they see him.

4. Contact Local Shelters And Animal Control

Inform your local shelters that your dog is lost and ask them to contact you if they take in a dog that matches the description of your dog.

Maybe a kind stranger will find your dog and take him to the nearest shelter. This is also a great way to cover more shelters because shelters should be connected inside and if your pooch is found in the other city area, they will be the first one to hear it.

While you are on the phone, ask them if they would let you post a photo of your missing dog in their offices and if they would share his photo on their social media channels.

5. Check The Microship

Losing a dog is one of those situations where having a microchip in your dog is more than rewarding. If your dog is microchipped (and we hope that he is) make sure that you call your veterinarian or your microchip company (this may vary from area to area depending on the authorities) and inform them that your dog is missing. While you’re reporting this situation, double-check if the info is up to date.

6. Distribute Posters

Yes, we are living in the world of social media and digital communication, but actions like these still bring enormous results. Even extremely fast results, believe it or not. Make sure that you put a good photo (avoid dark photos or any type of photos while in motion) and keep it simple.

Just write, “Lost: Dog, color, any physical specific. Reward (always think about this one). Underline that the dog is not dangerous if you have a large breed dog (this is only when you can confirm this statement). Phone Number.”

You can put a poster in local stores, lampposts, and even local newspapers.

7. Go Social

The more people know that you have lost a pet, the higher the chances of you finding your canine at the end of the day. Therefore, you should utilize the power of the Internet. With so many different pet-related channels nowadays you can easily broaden your message.

So many people are passionate about animals’ well-being that they will be more than happy to share your story and help you get your dog home. Besides, you can try these sites:

8. Be Careful On Pet-Recovery Scams

Putting a reward note on your poster or social media post may speed up finding your dog a bit if you are lucky. On the other hand, it some cases ‘reward note’ works as an open invitation for scams, and you should be well-ware of that one.

When a stranger contacts you and claims that he has found your pet, make sure to ask a few questions.

Ask him to describe your dog, moreover, dog’a specific characteristic. If he can, the chances are that he may not have your pet. Be wary of people who insist that you give them money in exchange for any information on your dog.

9. Expand Your Reach

You can reach an enormous amount of people, and animal lovers, if you sign up with an automated service. Services such as Lost My Doggie or FindToto will immediately e-mail or call thousands and of your nearby to notify them that you need extra help and that your pet is missing.

No matter what you decide as your best options, one thing you shouldn’t take easily, and that’s – you can’t ever give up. There are many cases where animals were united with their owners after months, and some after many years. Also, it’s crucial to react immediately. Have posters around, alarm social people, and scroll the neighbor every day.

What Should You Do If You Lose Your Dog – Conclusion

Having a dog around you is one the best feeling ever. You have something warm and furry following your every day, and taking you out on regular walks.

But, what to do if your walks are not a thing suddenly and your furry canine is lost? Well, in that case, you should know that you will have to organize your time, prioritize and spend a few hours a day searching for your canine. For how long? As long as you find him, of course.

Some dogs are capable of finding their home much easier and faster than others, so you should support your dog and help him get home as soon as possible.