No matter how careful we are, sometimes a pet can slip away from us and become lost. There are several things you can do to ensure that if your dog becomes lost, he will be returned to you quickly.
1. Notify your neighbors. As soon as you realize that your pet is missing, let your neighbors know. Very often a dog doesn’t get too far from home before being spotted. Letting your neighbors know to be on the lookout gives you a better chance of having him returned to you none the worse for wear.
2. Do a meticulous search of your own home and yard. Look everywhere, even if it’s a spot that seems too small for your dog to have gotten into or a place your dog has never been before. Your dog may have gotten stuck under the porch or slipped into your swimming pool. He can be under your car or in a closet. Be sure you search every inch of your property.
3. Do a thorough search of your neighborhood as soon as possible. If your dog isn’t found on your own property, it’s time to set out through the neighborhood. Walk up and down streets and check any spots he could possibly be hiding or stuck. Leave your name and number with your neighbors so they can get in touch with you if they spot your dog. Leave pictures with them as well if possible.
4. Go to local animal shelters and humane societies. It’s important that you visit these places yourself rather than simply place a call. You may even need to visit each place more than once. The reason for visiting rather than calling is that your description of your dog may not match the description the shelter has at the desk. If you call and say you lost your brown boxer and lab mix, they may not associate him with the tan pit bull mix they just brought in, even though you are both talking about the same dog. When you make your visit, bring a picture along to leave with them.
5. Make flyers with full color pictures of your pet and post them around the neighborhood. The full color picture can help people quickly identify your pet. Make sure your phone number is on the flyer. Post as many flyers around town as you possibly can. People’s eyes might slide past one poster, but if they see your pet’s image over and over again, they are more likely to take note of him if they see him.
6. Check with local veterinarians to see if any unidentified pets have been brought in for treatment. If your pet was injured, someone may have brought him to a local vet. If they have any unclaimed pets, don’t rely on the phone call for identification. Go to the vet’s office in person to see if your dog is there. You can also leave pictures with local vets to help in identifying him.
7. Place ads in your local papers, and read the “found” ads. Most newspapers have lost and found sections where people can place ads about pets they’ve lost or pets they’ve found.
8. Don’t wait for your pet to get lost to take measures to ensure his return should he become missing. If your pet becomes lost, his return is far more likely if you have taken some steps beforehand. Make sure your pet is wearing an identification tag with your contact information. You can also have your pet microchipped. With this process, a microchip is implanted under your dog’s skin by a veterinarian. If your dog becomes lost, a shelter or veterinarian can use a scanner to get your contact information from the chip. Keep clear, up-to-date pictures of your pet around. Take your dog on walks through the neighborhood. In this way, your neighbors will get to know him, and will recognize him immediately should he get away from your home.
Losing a dog is an upsetting experience, but by thinking clearly and acting quickly, there is a good chance that he’ll be home safe and sound before you know it.