A lot of owners lose their dog. They are not doing something wrong, but some dogs have a tendency to run away and go missing.
Some dog breeds are even more prone to running, like the Husky, German Spritz, and other similar breeds.
With that in mind, a lot of pet guardians who lose their furry friends have no idea how to find a lost dog. We want to give you some steps to take, and try to explain why dogs go missing.
Why do dogs go missing?
Dogs can be loyal companions, but every now and then, that can change in a second. There are six factors and everyday situations that can cause your dog to run away.
Here are those:
- Unfamiliar surroundings during vacations, or new surroundings like a new home, new environment, and different smells and distractions. All of these can cause your dog to explore the area and get lost in the process
- Fireworks and similar loud noises can scare away pets. In fact, more than 20% of pets go missing during fireworks
- Speaking of fear, many things can scare your dog, not just loud noises. When your dog is scared, he might run to a familiar place, and in the process, get missing
- Hunting instincts are strong in some breeds. These hound and hunting breeds can search for preys, and you cannot stop their prey drive
- When dogs are in heat, especially female breeds, they can go missing and run away to find a mate. Male dogs are in heat all year long to be fair
- Last, but not least, some dogs run away out of pure boredom. Leave your dog alone for long periods, and he will look for entertainment at other places
What are the chances of finding a lost dog?
According to the National Lost Pet Survey, 93% of dogs and 75% of cats reported lost were returned safely to their homes.
That is a huge percent. But if you want to be in it, you must follow the steps for how to find a lost dog. Most dogs were found in a shelter, and a huge amount was found due to the microchip and identification tag.
Steps to Find Your Dog
There are many steps you can take on how to find a lost dog. It is important that you do not stop at step 3, 4, or 5. You have to do everything you can to try and locate your furry friend.
With that in mind, here are some ideas.
- Make fliers with a picture of your dog, but also include your phone number and information about the dog. Make sure to give a good description of your dog, his habits, and the name he responds to. You can hold one identifying characteristics to make sure the person calling is not just looking for a reward
- Speaking of it, offer a reward for return if you can. Rewards can be motivating for people. Some dogs might go missing, and those that find them keep them or sell them. A reward can motivate them to give the dog back to you
- Post the fliers to the area where your dog usually goes, and to the close surroundings in the beginning. If you do not find the dog for a few days, widen your searching area, since the dog might go wandering
- Visit local animal shelters and rescue organizations. Some rescue organizations notice lost dogs and take them so that they can be safe until their owner returns. You can also file a lost pet report with animal control offices within a 70-mile radius
- Get the word out to veterinary clinics in the area. Chances are, if someone has found your dog, he will take it to the vet to check him out
- Organize groups with your friends and family, and walk and drive through your neighborhood. Also, check areas where your pet likes to go. Talk to people, especially those with dogs of their own, if they have seen your pet
- Leave dog food and fresh water outside of your home just in case your furry friend finds his way back
- Place ads in local newspapers and online websites such as Petfinder, Craiglist, and similar networks
- Post on social media, nowadays many things can get found through social media networks, especially Facebook and Instagram
- Put your commitments on hold, and focus your energy on finding your pet. Yes, there are everyday tasks that cannot wait. But if you can, pause some commitments and delegate them to friends and family. Chances are, your concentration won’t be high while thinking of your lost pet
- Keep your phone with you at all times. It is vital that the number you posted for retrieving your lost dog can be answered at all times
- Do not sleep through the night, make sure to use a flashlight and search small places where animals might hide during the night. When it is dark and the night comes, usually there are fewer dogs and people, which might make it easier to locate your canine friend
- Call your animal’s name, and listen carefully for any signs
- Don’t give up your search too quickly. Try to be aggressive. Some dogs can be gone for months, and then return to their owner
- Practice self-care. This might be the most important and most underrated step. It is easy to panic and go crazy when your friend is missing. But you have to take care of yourself. Try to take care of yourself while you are searching. If you do not eat and sleep, you will feel exhausted, and be tired to look for your dog
Can You Prevent Your Dog from Getting Lost?
You cannot stop all of the factors we mentioned at the beginning. You might prevent factors like heat by walking your dog on a leash, but noises like fireworks can happen at any time, and your dog can go crazy.
With that in mind, walking your dog on a leash, and keeping him at the yard on a leash are ways to prevent running.
But you can also do other things to make sure your dog can be easily found. For starters, provide a cell phone, dog name, and your name as information on a pet ID tag.
You should also make it an imperative to microchip your dog. Some owners refuse it, even though it is mandatory. A microchip can serve as an identification of your dog, provided people that find him take him to the vet.