How Do I Find a Lost Dog?
By: Jeff Noce, Voyce President
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), each year approximately 15 percent of us have a pet go missing.
It’s not something anyone likes to think about. After all, our pets are our family members and the idea of not knowing where they are is frightening.
The good news, however, is that 85 percent of missing pets are eventually recovered and returned to their owners.
Even better? There are steps you can take to help increase the chances of a quick and happy reunion should your pup take himself for an unsupervised walk.
One of the first things you should do is create enough flyers/posters to blanket a one to two mile radius around where your pet went missing. Keep the flyer simple; include one clear (preferably color) picture, along with “Lost Dog” above it and your number below.
Many people make the mistake of putting too much information on the flyers. It should be just as easy to see and read by drivers as by pedestrians. Make larger signs out of neon poster board for busy intersections.
Contact the Microchip Company
If your dog has a microchip, let them know your pet is missing right away. Verify that they have correct, up-to-date contact information.
Place an Ad
Contact your local newspaper about placing a “lost dog” ad and do the same for any online ad services in your area. Be sure to check these same resources regularly for ads placed by the person who may have found your dog.
File a Report with Local and Neighboring Shelters
Most humane societies and shelters keep reports of both lost and found pets on file. File a report with the one nearest to you, as well as those in neighboring towns. Because shelter staff are often very busy, do not solely rely on them to contact you if your pet is brought in. Check back regularly, preferably in person, to see if they have taken in any strays matching your pet’s description.
Notify Surrounding Organizations and Businesses
Take or email flyers to both pet-specific and non-pet-related businesses. Start by notifying veterinarians, animal rescues, groomers, dog trainers, kennels, doggy daycares and pet retail stores. After that, broaden your efforts to include grocery stores, coffee shops, restaurants and even fire stations.
Your neighbors are a valuable resource for helping you find your lost pet. Personally knocking on doors, talking to them and handing them a flyer will make you more memorable. Also ask them to check under porches, beneath bushes, in out buildings and other places where your pet could be hiding.
Post to Social Media
Social media is a great tool for getting the word out quickly to a large number of people. Start by posting your flyer on your own Facebook page and asking friends to share (make sure that the privacy setting is set to “public.”) Then do the same with any online “lost animal” organizations in your area.
Put Out Food and Familiar Clothing/Blankets
Although animals have been known to wander great distances from home, there’s a good chance that yours is still nearby. Put out tasty/smelly treats or food near where they were last seen. Set up a crate or blanket, along with an article of your clothing. The familiar and tempting scents may help coax a frightened dog out of hiding.
Often, lost dogs can become disoriented and skittish, running away even from those they know. Make sure your search party understands that they shouldn’t chase your pup if they locate him. The same holds true if you catch sight of him. Approach him calmly and slowly, throwing treats and speaking in quiet, low tones. If all else fails, lie down on the ground. This brings you down to his level, makes you less threatening and helps pique his innate curiosity.
Remember, taking swift, proactive action increases your odds of getting your four-legged family member home where he belongs!
I’d like to hear from you! If you have questions you’d like me to address on this blog regarding pet health or behavior, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.