Pet Care Tips and Articles

Steps To Take If Your Dog Is Lost


All pet owners fear the possibility of a lost pet. Pets may be lost for a variety of reasons including running away from home, running in a strange place if frightened, or theft. Some steps you can take to increase the likelihood of getting your pet back include:

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  • Get an identification tag for your pet. This can be the single-most important item that will help you and your pet get reunited.

  • Act immediately. Do not wait for several days hoping your pet will come home. The quicker you begin your search for your lost pet, the better the odds are of finding him.

  • If your pet becomes lost or runs away from your residence, do a thorough search of your house or apartment, including accessible ventilation areas and behind or inside of large appliances like dryers or refrigerators.

  • Next, check out the neighborhood where your pet was lost, talking to residents and leaving your phone number and description of your pet with them.

  • If you have a computer or know someone who does, make up a quick flyer with a recent picture of your pet, if possible, and place them in a wide radius around the neighborhood. Include local post offices, libraries, pet supply stores, veterinary offices, and grocery stores.

  • Call out to your pet (everyone the pet is familiar with should do this) and shake a box of food or bag of favorite biscuits. Stop, look, and listen for sounds of your pet. Do this at night, too, since some pets may be afraid to come out in the daylight.

  • Sit or place a piece of clothing right outside your home so your pet can 'smell home.'

  • Don't delay calling the veterinary clinics in the area, then the humane societies, Animal Control, police, and finally, check out "found pet" ads in the newspaper.

  • Go to the animal shelters and look for yourself. The staff may not match your pet to the description you give them.

  • Call your local radio stations. Some radio stations will broadcast lost pet information for free. Give them detailed information on where the pet was lost, its description, and how to contact you.

  • Consider placing a "lost pet" ad and offering a reward.

  • Depending upon where you live and the possibility of scams, you may want to keep some of your pet's identifying characteristics from the public. Have the finder tell the characteristics to you.

We sincerely hope that no pet owners have to experience losing a pet, but please be prepared, just in case.

By: Race Foster, DVM - Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
© 2005 Drs. Foster and Smith, Inc.
Reprinted as a courtesy and with permission from
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