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Losing your pup can be really scary, but the following steps can help you stay sane and increase your odds of finding your pup. Take a moment to read through everything and then make a plan to get your pup home.
1. Don’t panic.
The more organized you are the higher your chances of finding your pup. And remaining calm will make you more focused and organized.
2. Make a plan!
You have a much better chance of finding your pup if you have a plan. Take a moment to collect yourself and list out the steps you’ll take, people to call for help, and neighbors to contact.
3. Check the microchip.
If your dog is microchipped, call the microchip company and inform them your pet is missing.
4. Triple-check your home.
If you have a smaller dog, thoroughly check your home and (if you have it) yard area for any place your pup might be trapped. Remember that your dog might be scared or hurt and not able to respond to your calls.
5. Search the neighborhood.
If you have established that your pup isn’t anywhere in your home expand your search. If you are alone you might want to employ a spiral search pattern, circling out from your home, or if you live in a city, you can employ a line search pattern by yourself. If you have friends helping consider a grid search pattern or a quadrant pattern.
6. Search with treats.
Carry treats with you in case you need to coax or soothe a scared pet, particularly BarkShop treats. Remember that your pet may act differently, so be cautious.
7. Alert your neighbors.
Knock on all your neighbors doors to find out if any of them have picked up your pup and to alert them that they’re missing.
8. Design and distribute posters.
Make simple posters/flyers to put up around your area and to handout to neighbors and include the following:
LOST DOG, Dog’s Name, Last Seen, A photo, preferably in color, Dog breed if specific enough to be useful, Collar and license info, Your name, phone number, email address, REWARD (but do not specify amount).
9. Call animal control and shelters.
Contact all your local animal control centers and animal shelters right away. Keep checking back in with them over the next few days, and go into nearby shelters personally. You’ll have a better chance of people remembering you and your lost dog if they’ve met you.
10. Reach out to local police.
Contact your local police and sheriff departments to ask if they have found any dogs matching your pup’s description.
11. Check out breed specific shelters/rescues.
Many people forget to check their local breed specific shelters, but they can be a great resource to look for your pup and to post flyers.
12. Put up notices around town.
Put notices in your local pet stores, doggy daycares, and groomers. Even at your local coffee shop.
13. Call local vets.
People who find pets don’t always know what to do with them, so some might bring them to a nearby vet or emergency vet clinic.
Post your lost dog poster on your social media accounts to get the word out quickly. Facebook and Instagram allow you to post your pup’s pic and spread the word far and wide to people you know and dog lovers everywhere.
15. Look on Craigslist and check lost pets websites/apps.
Use Craigslist to post a Lost Dog ad and refresh your ad every day so it goes back to the top of the list. Also search CL for your pet.
16. Utilize local media.
If you have a local paper place a Lost Dog ad.
17. Expand your search.
If your dog is still gone after three days expand your shelter visits to ones further from your home – your dog may have walked further before being picked up.
18. Beware of scams.
Don’t wire anyone money. If someone has really found your pup they’ll be happy to take the money in person when they give you your dog. Many people won’t take money at all, but the offer increases your chances.
19. Look to local organizations for help.
20. Don’t give up!
Keep expanding your search as the days pass. Many people who find dogs don’t know what to do with them, so your pup could be at a nice person’s home for days before they are surrendered to a shelter or animal control is called. Just rest assured that your pup is looking for you as hard as you’re looking for them!