Lost Dog: What Do You Do When Your Dog Goes Missing?

A couple of weeks ago this crop of Lost Dog signs popped up on every street corner in this rural area around Granite Falls, Washington:

What to do when your dog goes missing

What to do when your dog goes missing

Losing a dog is heartbreaking

This sign is posted on every intersection within at least 20 miles of this dog’s disappearance.

Is this dog microchipped

The photo is helpful. Not all the signs have a picture of the Huge White Dog with Tan Ears










The first thing to do when you think your dog is missing is to be sure that you’re right. Check around the house. Offer “supper time” or his favorite toy. Be sure he’s not under the bed or in a hole he dug in the back yard.

If you’re really sure he’s gone, and you can access an “Amber Alert” service (see “Pet Retrieval Websites” below), contact the service and ask them to push “send” on the alert notification.

Next you’ll make up some contact cards that have your name and number and the dog’s description. Then make a sweep of the neighborhood. Ask neighbors, the mailman– everybody you see– “Have you seen a dog fitting this description. Give each person you talk to one of your cards.

If you don’t find your dog in this sweep, then you’ll need to expand your search.

Posters and Flyers:

They’re old fashioned, but if the dog is still in the area, they may play a primary role in getting your dog back to you. There’s more to creating an effective poster than meets the eye. See PetHub’s website to learn how to create a well-designed ad.

Turn your car into a billboard:
  • LOST: (Breed/ Description)
  • WHERE (was he when he got lost?)
  • WHEN (time of day/ date)
  • CONTACT: (Phone Number & e-mail)

These markers work on glass ==>

Phone Calls:

Call every relevant person and business you can think of:

  • Veterinarians in the area
  • Groomers
  • Pet care companies
  • Private, municipal, county, town shelters
  • Animal control services
  • Police
Social Media:

The power of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) must not be overlooked. Be sure to tell readers where the dog was lost. Was he wearing a collar? With tags? Is he microchipped? Is he medication dependent?

Resource Portals:

Pet Hub is one example of Resource Portals. Most use social media and “Amber Alert” broadcast services. In the case of Pet Hub, you receive a physical dog tag that has a digital ID tag that will provide the location the tag was scanned when scanned with a smart phone. I have PetHub tags on Alice and Wil. Wil’s tag has the medical alert symbol. When their tags are scanned, or if the person goes to the PetHub site, he will quickly know who these dogs are and how to reunite them with me. PetHub says that 96% of pets that are lost get home within 24 hours.

Pet Retrieval Websites:

These sites send out notifications to vets, shelters and pets stores the moment you notify them that your pet’s gone mission. Check out lostmydoggie.com, MissingPetPartnership.org, and PetAmberAlert.com.

Shelter Websites:

In the past 2 years, North Central Washington has been under siege by Mother Nature. This year we nearly doubled the fires that ravaged wilderness areas and towns and burned up about 1 million acres. Spend just a few minutes in the towns of Twisp, Mallot, Concunully, Riverside, Omak, Tonasket, Pateros—to name just a few—and ask any resident if he knows of someone (or did himself) who lost a pet during the fires. The stories will break your heart. Even now, months after the fires have burnt out or are buried with much-needed snow, pets are dead or missing.

Shelters are one of the first places people will take a found animal. So be sure to check in with shelters within a 100 mile radius or more to see if your dog is among the inmates. A microchip will assist them in definitively identifying you as the owner. Be sure your contact information is current.

Lost and Found

Websites such as FidoFinder.com or lostpetusa.net or even Craigslist.com might help you find your dog. Check daily to see if your dog is found. And place your own ad too.

Dead Lists

Contact the highway department to be sure that your dog has not been found dead. When you contact shelters, ask them too if they have had a dog come in that died– either euthanized or injured.

Here are some other sites that have great ideas and strategies for finding your dog:













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