Even the best pet owner may experience the heartache of having a lost pet. The most important thing is to be proactive, and do not give up hope. Some dogs may be lost for weeks before they are found, especially dogs who are considered shy. Below is a list of resources and tips for people with a lost pet.
Step 1: Contact Animal Control
It may be that your pet has been found before you have even realized it is lost. Call Animal Control immediately and notify them that your pet is lost. You will need to provide a description and sometimes a picture can help. Also, call the Animal Control offices outside your immediate area, sometimes dogs wander large distances, and sometimes people may pick up a lost dog and report it to their local Animal Control.
Step 2: Notify the neighbors and community
Have flyers made up with a current picture and distribute them. Ask local business if you can hang them up and make sure your neighbors are aware your dog is lost. Place flyers in parks and other wooded/isolated areas like cemeteries where dogs may be drawn to. Sometimes a good Samaritan may pick up a dog and think it is a
stray, taking it to a rescue group without looking for an owner so getting the word out there is important.
Step 3: Contact the Rescue Group
If this is an adopted dog, contact the rescue group so they are aware. They will often provide support to you in your search, and guide you towards valuable resources. This is especially true if you have a Peppertree Dog, we they will have a Peppertree Tag with our hotline number on it, and a tracking number for the dog.
Step 4: Hit the Internet
The Internet can be a wonderful resource for a pet owner, especially when their dog is lost.
CraigsList.org - CraigsList has local pages, and offers a place to post Lost/Found Pets, as well as a Pet section. You can post there without a charge and you can upload pictures as well. Please make sure you are posting in the appropriate regional CraigsList.
FidoFinder.com - This is a public database of lost and found dogs, there is no fee and you can register your dog through FidoFinder before it is even lost. This is not a bad idea for a dog who is prone to breakouts.
K9AmberAlert - This is a Yahoo! Group that people must be registered for to get an alert. It is a valuable resource as many rescue groups have members and will pass your alert on to their contacts. Often times people can reach out to you and offer help/support in your search. You
must join the group, but there is no charge.
FindToto.com - This is a commercial site that charges a fee, but will contact your neighbors over the phone, getting the message out for you.
Step 5: Contact Vet Offices
Often a found animal will be brought to a vetís office, especially if it is injured. Contact all your local veterinary offices and let them know your pet was lost. It cannot hurt to stop by with a flyer and speak to a staff member in person. It is also important to contact the vets office where your dog received their rabies vaccination as the rabies tags have contact numbers on them. However, that will not help if the vet where the dog was vaccinated does not have your current contact information.
Step 6: Contact the Microchip Company
If your pet is microchiped, many companies have a service sending out a notification when your pet is lost, and can offer support and additional resources.
Step 7: Keep Looking
Walking around and talking to neighbors, continuing to call Animal Control, keep reposting on CraigsList, whatever makes you feel better and keeps getting the information out there will help. The more eyes looking for your pet the better.
Finding a Dog who is Shy or New to the Home
It is not uncommon for a newly adopted dog to get lost. They are in a new place and do not have the instinct to return to their home when they get out. This can be an added challenge, especially if the dog has not yet bonded to its new family. However, there are some tricks that will help you.
Contact the rescue group/family that had the dog previously, the dog may be trying to make it back to them, or they may have insight as to where the dog may go, or what it may be attracted to. If the foster family/prior family is willing to come out sometimes a new dog will be more likely to recognize their voice/smell and approach them.
Look for the dog with another dog, especially a companion dog or a dog it is familiar with. Sometimes the presence of another dog will make the lost dog more comfortable, or inclined to approach.
If you think you know the area the dog is sticking to, rent/borrow a Have-a-Heart trap and bait it with stinky food. You may also consider putting out a blanket the dog slept on, something that provides a familiar smell to the dog to make them feel more comfortable in that area, if they are a dog that enjoys their crate, onsider leaving a crate there and having the neighbors keep an eye on the area. Many times Animal Control or local
rescue groups will have Have-a-Heart traps available for renting, so contact them before purchasing your own. If you cannot locate a Have-A-Heart trap still set up a feeding station, encouraging the dog to stay in the area.
Things to consider
Many areas have tracker dogs who can be hired to follow the trail of a dog who is lost, even if they cannot locate the dog they can often help you discover the direction they headed in and give you an area to
concentrate on. Some areas have local tracking clubs for dogs who can be contacted to help.
Some people who have lost pets swear by Animal Communicators. It is worth considering and can never hurt in a situation.
Do not give up hope, some dogs can be lost for weeks, perseverance will often pay off.
Tips for Before Your Dog Gets Lost
Microchip your dog and make sure the contact information is current. A dog may slip out of itís collar, leaving it without identification, but a microchip cannot be lost.
Make sure your dog has an up to date tag with your current contact information.
License your dog, and make sure it is wearing its license. Animal Control will have the contact information on record that way and it can speed up the process of getting your dog home.
Keep a current picture of your dog on hand, in digital format if possible. This will speed up the process of making flyers and getting the word out there when your dog is lost.
Know the number of your local Animal Control, and the Animal Control for the surrounding areas.
This page was last modified at 22:05:34 on 05/17/2010.