Before you get started, remember: try to remain calm, but at the same time, to be as fast as you can – the quicker you are, the higher the odds of finding your lovely friend safely. Bear in mind that your phone should always be with you, especially if your pup has a microchip – if anyone finds them, they can use the contact information to reach you. If you’ve got a reliable GPS pet tracker or if your friend is a well-trained dog, there’s also a bigger chance that they’ll be able to make their way back. Below, you have the 5 main steps on how to find a lost dog.
📝 Quick stat: according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, about 85% of missing dogs are recovered. So be positive – confidence is extremely important now!
1. Search your neighborhood
Dogs are often more active at dusk and dawn. You can start by going for a quick walk, carrying a recent photo of them with you to show any passers-by, and a bag of treats in case you need to attract your buddy. If your friends are around to help, you can split up and go in different directions in order to cover more ground. Does your dog recognize their own name? Then take a deep breath and scream it loud and clear! You can also talk with your neighbors and ask them to spread the word. If the first hour passes and you’ve had no luck, consider getting on your car (or a friend’s) and driving around.
📝 Quick stat: if you do this during the first 12 hours after the escape, you have a 90% chance of finding your missing friend!
2. Make a “lost dog” flyer
Adopting some marketing techniques will increase the probability that passers-by memorize your plea – and this can make a big difference. Therefore, consider these creative suggestions:
- Place the flyer in a busy public place.
- Use a clear colored photo of your dog.
- Write the copy from the dog’s perspective – “Hi, my name is Max and I’m looking for my owner”.
- Mind the flyer design. The standard white A4 paper will not stand out, so using a bigger and colored one (in a western “wanted” style, for example), can help you draw all the attention you need.
- Promising a reward is also an effective tactic (but be prepared to deliver!).
- Use anything you think will leave a mark on anyone that sees the flyer.
3. Visit local dog shelters
Are there any pet associations, veterinarian clinics or kennels in your area? If so, visit those every two days and declare your friend as a missing dog. Even if you’re told you’ll be notified if your dog turns up, it’s always safer to go there personally. Also, the personnel might give you useful tips on how to find a lost dog that you might not have tried yet.
4. Search the web how to find a lost dog
After you take care of the physical component, you can now start spreading the word virtually. Use social networks and encourage people to share a post about your missing dog. Local lost-and-found pet groups (mostly on Facebook) are very useful too! Also, these platforms can help you a lot in your quest:
5. Advertise in the newspaper or radio
Some people really do everything in their power to find their lost buddy. If you want to take that extra step, putting an ad in the local newspaper or even making a public announcement on the radio can be what you’re looking for. Keep your ad short and simple, and you’ll be closer to finding your best friend.
Essentially, don’t lose hope – even if you’ve done all of the above and there’s still no sign of your faithful companion. There have been cases of dogs finding their way home years after running away, so keep your efforts up and don’t let the negativity creep in! If you have any other tips on how to find a lost dog, leave them in comments! 🙂