Losing your dog is without a doubt a dog owner’s worst nightmare. Whether by general loss or left, both provide you with severe distress and at times it can seem hopeless that you’ll ever get your dog back at all.
There are several things you can do to make sure your dog is located and returned to you so do not despair!
The best way to avoid losing your dog is to prevent loss or theft in the first place.
Microchipping is the process of having your vet or local grooming salon apply a small rice-sized capsule under the dogs skin that contains digital data such as your registered address, name and contact number. A premises with the appropriate scanner (kennels, vets, some dog grooming salons, the police etc.) can retrieve the data with a quick scan of the dog and contact you to enable you to be reunited with your dog should it go missing. Microchipping is considered a standard procedure and whilst it is not required by law it is affordable and highly recommended to go alongside a regular dog ID tag placed on the dog’s collar.
Have your dog Neutered
Getting your dog neutered will stop it from running off to hunt for a bitch that might be in heat. Dogs can be relentless in behaviour when they catch the scent of a female nearby.
One of the most common types of theft involves un-neutered pedigrees that will go on to be used for breeding with the aim for profit. Neutering your dog will eliminate the chance that your expensive pedigree dog will be stolen and used for this purpose.
Do not leave your dog tied up.
“I’ll only be five minutes” is all it takes for someone to take your dog while it waits for you patiently outside a shop. Don’t take the chance and tie your dog up outside.
Dog-proof your outside spaces.
Make sure that there are no gaps in the fences that surround your property, particularly in places that you will allow the dog to wander freely.
Teaching your dog good and responsive recall skills, such as returning to you when called will reduce the risk of your dog running off.
My Dog is Missing!
The first thing you should do when you are sure that your dog is lost is to stay calm and try and locate the nearest person around to see if they have seen anything. The place at which you determine that your dog went missing from will have an impact on how much you can do to aid in locating him. For instance, outside a shop or public place there might be more people around in comparison to losing your dog through a hole in the fence in your yard.
Ask your neighbours if they have seen anything and ask them to keep an eye out for your dog and to contact you if they do see anything which could help.
If you cannot locate your dog and you believe it to be stolen, your first step would be to call the police. Check too see if there appears to be any forced entry onto your property and if it occurred outside a shop or busy area, ask around to see if anybody saw anything. Speak to local shop or building owners to see if they have any CCTV available that they can offer to police to assist any investigation. Distribute your name, number and any contact details to anyone that might appear relevant.
Distribute your name, number and any contact details to anyone that might appear relevant.
What else can I do?
Flyers are the most well known way of advertising a lost pet. Use bright, eye catching paper and design your flyer with big bold letters. Neon-fluorescent paper is available from most craft or office supply stores. If you can spare it, offer a reward and make it clear on the notice. Make sure to include a large, clear picture of the missing dog and annotate the picture with unusual markings or physical characteristics that will help identify him.
Visit your local Vets and Police station and hand them a flyer as well as your contact details as these are another two common places that people hand in dogs they’ve found. Ask local small shops and your local vet if they’d put the flyer up in the window for you.
Put an advert in your local area’s newspaper with a picture if possible and use social media to spread the word. Upload a clear picture and ask people to share to their ‘friends’ or followers.
Visit the following sites designed to help you get reunited with your pet. Most will allow you to add your missing pets information.
Keep in regular check with your local kennels and animal shelters to make sure they haven’t had your dog handed in to them for care. No matter what happens, keep spreading the word, it’s possible that someone has taken in your dog as it wasn’t claimed or the true owner couldn’t be found.