Losing your dog or your dog going missing is one of the greatest fears an owner can have. But do you know what to do or who to contact if this does happen?
If you’re unsure of what to do if your dog goes missing, have a read below. Even if your dog is currently safe at home with you, it’s important you know what to do, just in case.
You’ll need to act fast, so we’ve written a super speedy guide to the steps you’d need to take to find your dog.
Step One: Search for your dog
This may seem like an obvious step, but whether your dog has escaped from your house/garden or run off on a walk, there is still a chance he’ll be in the surrounding area.
Stay in close proximity to the area where you last saw him: call his name in a cheery tone, you don’t want him thinking he’ll be punished. If he hasn’t returned after fifteen-twenty minutes of calling, extend your search to and enlist the help of family, friends or other dog walkers.
Try rattling biscuits/treats or his favourite noisy toy, he may hear this and come running back if he is still in the area. Knock on doors of nearby houses and ask them to check their gardens, garages and sheds, he may have been locked in by accident.
Step Two: Contact your local council/dog warden
Make sure you take note of the time, date and last place your saw your dog. If someone finds a stray dog, they are encouraged to contact the local council dog warden, who will normally ask them to contain the dog until the warden service can come and collect it.
See if the council have had any calls describing a dog that matches yours, as they could have already collected him or he may be waiting for you at a caller’s house. Even if there isn’t a dog warden cover near you, or it is out of hours, some have an emergency line for you to report your lost dog.
Step Three: Speak to local vets, microchipping company and pet rescues
It is very important for you to contact your microchipping company (if your dog has a chip-which we highly recommend he does!). They will be able to flag your dog up as lost, so can contact you if anyone calls them who isn’t you and tries to change owner details for example.
You will need to contact local vets (we suggest at least those within a ten mile radius) in case your dog was found injured. Your dog may also have been taken to a local RSPCA or pet rescue branch for this same reason. Call and leave your contact information, a description and name of your dog, and the details of when he went missing.
Visit the pound every day. Do not rely on just leaving a description and calling, especially if you have a popular breed of dog.
Step Four: Inform your local community
Put up posters which include a clear, colour picture of your dog, and a contact mobile number. NEVER include your full name, address or your dog’s name in the advert – some people may take advantage of this and either pretend they have your pet, or ask for a ‘ransom’. You can put a reward on the poster, but this is up to you. If you feel your dog is being held for ransom and you have been contacted asking for money, always contact the Police.
File a lost dog with your local Police station. Although they no longer take in stray dogs, they must still file a ‘lost property’ report.
Someone may have found your dog but thought he was a stray or unwanted and so decided to keep him. Inform everyone, from your supermarket to the churches in your area to your local radio stations: ensure that your dog is everywhere. Make sure as many people know as possible and you have a larger chance of someone finding him.
Step Five: Use the internet
There are so many platforms online where you can post an online version of your lost dog poster. Try using Mumsnet and other popular forum sites who have thousands of users who can help find your dog. There is also Animal Search UK and Dog Lost, where you can register your lost pets.
Losing a dog can be a distressing time, which is why we encourage pet owners to ensure their dogs are microchipped from puppies. If you have a garden, it should be fully enclosed and gates should be kept closed and locked. If your dog has a tendency to run off when on walks, keep him on a lead and ensure his recall training is improved.
Here are some more handy contacts if you ever lose or have found a dog:
- The RSPCA: 0300 1234 999
- Battersea Dogs and Cats Home: 020 7622 3626
- Missing Pets Bureau: 0844 448 2246