This morning I was walking two dogs and as I turned a corner one of them started tugging to go check out something in the grass. The other dog tugged the other way. For a split second I thought about what I would do if one got away. Their leashes were wrapped around my hands and wrists tightly but it had been a while since I had walked two or more dogs at once – and I realized then that I didn’t have a game plan.
Even as I sit here writing this, I still don’t have a plan. However, the incident did get me thinking about what to do if your dog gets lost. These tips include some things that need to be done before a dog is at risk of escaping, and some things that you can do if your dog gets out to help recover him safe and sound as quickly as possible.
Here are 7 tips to help make sure you’re reunited with your dog again after he or she gets lost or escapes:
1: Collars with tags
This is the most common and most visible form of ID that your pet can have. It also lets strangers know that your dog is not a stray. The tags can have your pet’s name, your #, and any other information. Microchip tags, rabies tags, and personalized tags all greaten the chances that your dog will be returned to you. Make sure your information is current for the microchip tag as well as the personalized tag. The downside is that the collar could come off and the tags could fall off.
A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and resides under your dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. The code on the chip is linked to a database that has the information you’ve provided for the safe and secure return of your dog. Make sure that information has your current address and phone numbers. If your dog is picked up and brought to your local county shelter, they scan for a chip and will contact the company who in turn, contacts you.
3: Scan and scour the neighborhood
Don’t panic, take some deep breaths and begin looking around your property. Your dog may be hiding nearby or might be under your porch. Talk to your neighbors and let them know, give them your name, your pet’s name, and a number they can reach you. Call your pet’s name frequently as you walk around looking for your dog.
4: Help your pet find its way home
Placing your dog’s bedding or something that will help your dog smell its way home is a technique that has worked for a few people who have lost their dogs. One friend of mine set up a tent and slept in it, in the middle of the night his dog came busting in after being lost for several days. Talk about amazingly happy endings!
5: Call local vets, shelters, and humane societies
Check with all these places, let them know your is missing, and to please keep an eye out. Give them your contact information in case someone brings your dog to their facility. Stop in and show them a photo or drop them off a flyer if you have made them.
6: Post fliers and lost and found ads
On the flyer include a photo of your dog, a detailed description, and your phone number. You may not want your name or address included for safety reasons. Post information regarding your dog’s personality. If your dog is shy, s/he may not walk up to a stranger and might run, let that be known. Post a lost and found ad on your local craigslist site as well and on other sites that have pet sections.
7: Consider a recovery service
A recovery service can deliver an automatic alert to your cell phone and as many as 10,000 other homes in your area asking the residents to notify the service if they have seen your dog.
No one wants to lose a dog, but these tips can make a difference in the recovery process.
Do you have experience with recovering a lost pet? What tips would you add?
photo by scragz