What to Do if Your Dog Gets Lost

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

dog-2911444_640 What to Do if Your Dog Gets Lost

Dog loss is one of the most terrible events that could happen to a dog owner; one moment, your dog is with you, and the next, they disappear. Of course, it’s very stressful and upsetting when your pet goes missing, especially as there is the extra worry that he may be lying somewhere hurt or hiding under a bush scared. If your dog has gone missing from your home, he likely won’t have gone far. He may have wandered off to look for food, chased a passing cat, or even been spooked by the rumble of thunder or a loud noise nearby.

If you think he is in the local neighbourhood, spend a while whistling and calling for him. Likewise, call out for him if you’re on your usual dog walk, and stay alert. Perhaps another dog walker has spotted him and is searching for you. If the nightmare continues, you’ve looked everywhere and still your dog hasn’t been sighted, it’s time to alert others that your dog is missing.

A recent tip that someone told me about is next time you are grooming your dog take some of the hair and put it in a screw lid jam jar. Then if search dogs get involved, you have your dogs sent for them to work on

14-step guide to give you the best chance of being reunited with your lost dog


As well as being the law since 2015, it also has advantages over an ID tag (your dog should have both). However, it is essential to ensure that your contact details are current. That way if your dog is handed to someone like a very or the dog warden, they can scan your dog

Also, with a registered Microchip, you will be notified if someone tries to change the details.

Remember that an IDtag with your details can be removed or caught up on a branch and lost etc., whereas the microchip can’t be lost by accident]

One of the most common microchip companies is Petlog. Make sure that you are registered with them so you can check your details are up to date.

It might also be a good idea to keep the Microchip number in your wallet for easy access.

Whistle and call your dog.

Spending at least 20 – 30 minutes calling and whistling your dog is essential. Whilst doing this, make sure you sound cheerful and not panicking. He may not want to return to the area if you sound cross.

Carry a torch when searching for a dog.

Even though it may be daylight, it is worth carrying a torch with you when searching for your dog. This will enable you to look under cars which are great hiding places when scared.

Contact your neighbours

Ask your neighbours to watch your missing dog – especially if your dog has run off from the house.

Get them to check their gardens, sheds and conservatories. If he has runoff from the park due to being spooked, then there is a chance he will find his way home whilst you are looking for him.

Pet Insurance

It is essential to contact your t your Pet Insurance Company. Depending on your policy, they may help with advice on providing financial assistance for advertising.

Make up some posters.

It is important that you make up “lost dog” flyers with information about your dog. This should include up-to-date photos, a physical description, and any unusual marks

The poster should also have your name and contact details along with maybe your vets’ details if they can get hold of you and information about where your dog was last seen, what they were wearing (collar, harness. coat) etc. and then distribute the flyers in the local area

Below is a list of where to distribute the posters, but this is by no means comprehensive

  • Local dog walkers
  • local vets
  • Dog bins in the area your dog was last seen, along with entrances
  • Bus stops and tube stations
  • newsagents
  • Local school gates
  • Doctor surgeries
  • supermarkets

Contact the local Vets

Contact the local vets in the area, as many people will take a lost dog to the local vet. Ensure t y have a copy of your flyer so they can put it on the noticeboard in the waiting room.  

 Walk or cycle up and down the roads

nearest the area your dog was last seen. People strolling or cycling nearby are another helpful resource for spotting your animal.

Make sure you visit your local newsagents and community notice boards.

Once you have a poster that you have either created yourself at home using a template or created using dog Lost, make sure these go up in your local neighbour.

Contact the local council, dog warden, police and animal control authorities.

Give them a description and the time and area of your dog lost. They will be the ones who will be contacted if your pet has been in a car accident, for example, or if your dog is reported as a stray. You can also check the government website to see if your local warden has your dog.

Search national databases for lost pets

Register your dog on a national database such as doglost, as they may have a local team in your area that can help look.

DogLost also provides posters and links you can share with others on the internet and in places such as Facebook.

Dog lost was founded in 2003. Since then, they have reunited over  13000 missing and stolen dogs registered on the site.   Dog Lost is run entirely by volunteers, which includes the admin and search parties. Please try and make a donation, as these are essential to keep the website running.

Admin 0844 800 32220

 Check local animal shelters and rescue homes. 

Lost animals will often be handed to the local animal shelter. Contact local rescue centres to see how they can help locate your pet. When contacting local shelters and dog lost, they will want to know things like the age and breed of the dog, size and colouring, temperament, Any unusual markings  Details of the microchip, including the number. Does he have a c lar with an ID tag, and where did you last see the dog? Your dog must have both an ID tag and a Microchip.

 Leave an item of your clothing in the area you last saw your dog

Dogs often use the power of scent when they are lost to find their way home

Lweacuing items of your clothing, such as a jumper you have worn for a few days (or socks) at the location you last saw them can help your dog find their way home

Social Media

Use Social Media, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as a tool to spread the word and give details of where your dog went missing, along with pictures and contact details. Ask people to ‘Shar’ your post on Community Pages.

It’s very important that you also focus on yourself as the wear and tear and all this worry isn’t good for you. Try to keep doing the usual, routine things in your life. This will help you to stay focused and productive.

By raising awareness of your dog’s profile and making him “too hot to handle”, you have a much better chance of finding him. All being well, you will soon be reunited with your beloved pet. 

Remember, dogs are also stolen daily, so it is worth taking steps to prevent dog theft.

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