A missing-dog situation requires you to stay calm as best you can, because the first 24 hours are crucial. Before you find yourself in this stressful situation, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with this lost-dog checklist to give yourself the best chance to find your pet quickly and safely:+
1. File a lost report with Animal Control
They might have your companion and are just waiting for your dog to be claimed. Some communities will bring your dog or cat home if they are wearing a current city license.
2. Is your dog microchipped?
If so, call your microchip company right away to let them know your dog is missing. While on the phone, double-check that they have your most up to date contact information.
3. Call all local vet offices and animal shelters
Share a description of your dog, their microchip ID number, and any identifying characteristics or collars or leashes they might have.
4. Leave a trail home
Leave some strong-smelling food and water next to something with your scent outside to help your furry friend find their way.
5. Spread the word through social media
Join and post in as many Facebook groups for Lost and Found Pets in your area. Surprisingly, this can be one of the most effective routes.
Post in neighborhood and community groups such as Nextdoor.com or local yard sales sites, and ask friends to share as well.
6. Place a lost pet ad on Craigslist
7. Put up visible flyers at least 3 miles in all directions
Post your flyers everywhere. Make sure you have an up-to-date picture and put your contact information, description of pet, collar color, date missing, and any useful information (e.g., “answers to Buster” or “scared, do not approach”). Don’t forget to put “reward” if you are offering one as an incentive. Laminating your flyer or placing them in plastic page protectors will help keep it legible in case it rains. Make sure the text is big enough for drivers to see while driving by.
Walk around your neighborhood and hand out flyers to all your neighbors. Put a large sign in your yard as well.
8. Continue to visit all local shelters to see the animals in person
Animal shelters are constantly updating their social media pages with their new stray intakes. However, you should also go to the shelters to see the animals in person because some breeds are mislabeled when they enter the shelter, especially mixed breeds.
9. Consider hiring a pet tracker
With a 97% success rate, Dogs Finding Dogs is very popular in Maryland. Dogs Finding Dogs is an organization of K9 search teams that are trained to search for your pet by pinpointing an area where your pet has traveled.
Be wary of the incredibly expensive scams. Sometimes pet detectives will reach out to distraught owners from their missing-pet flyers.
10. Most importantly, don’t give up
Although you are understandably panicking, don’t jump to any gloomy conclusions. Be aggressive, while being centered, in approaching your search. Although staying calm is easier said than done, dogs and cats that have been gone for months have been returned to their owners.
Best of luck,
From our pet family to yours.