Tuesday, April 14, 2015

What to do if your pet goes missing

Missing pets is a pet owner's nightmare, and they can be gone in the wink of an eye. Most of the time they don't mean to leave - it just happens. Dogs slip out of their collar on a walk, jump a fence in pursuit of a cat, or find another way to go chase that oh so interesting squirrel. 

What do you do if your dog does run away?

1. Search the neighborhood.

Start with your normal dog-walking routes, and expand your search from there. Remember to bring a leash and some smelly, yummie foods. A favorite toy that makes sound is a great thing to bring; dogs hear quite well. If you have more than one dog, or if your doggie has a friend, bring them. Show recent photos to everyone you meet, and give people a way to contact you.

2. Tell your neighbors.

Not every neighborhood is suitable for going door to door, but most people are happy to help. Post fliers and tell as many people as possible. On the flier, offer a reward and create tear-off tags with your phone number. Leave fliers at vet offices, emergency clinics, shelters, groomers, pet stores, and everywhere else you can think of.

While you do this, talk to the vets, trainers, and groomers. Someone might pick your dog up and decide to keep him or her. If they seek out a vet or a groomer, you want to know.

Post photos of your dog on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media available to you.

3. Enroll the mailman.

Postal workers, delivery drivers, and bus drivers go around your neighborhood all the time. Give them a photo of your dog and ask them to call you if they see anything.

4. Search shelter and rescues.

Contact local breed specific rescues, even if they're not right by you.

Search shelters within roaming distance every day - depending on where you live, strays might be euthanized after just a couple of days. It's tempting to just sit down and call, but it's much better to go in person. Whoever answers the phone might not know which dogs are there. Your dog might be designated as the wrong breed or gender. If you're not allowed inside, bring photos.

5. Never give up.

Dogs are tough. Some people look for their furry friends for months or even years before the doggie turns up on the other side of the country. Keep looking, and keep asking people to help you search.

What do you do if you find your dog?

In a perfect world, doggie would come running up to you with a wagging tail, excited to see you. The outside can be pretty darned exciting, though, and other things might be more interesting.

Chasing a dog usually isn't a good idea. Tricking them into a yard that can be closed off is easier. Encourage your dog to run after you instead of the other way around. If that doesn't work, try falling down on the ground and crying out in a high-pitched, distressed tone. Many dogs will run over to tend to their owner.

Have you lost your pet? What did you do?

~ Maria Sadowski ~


  1. Mom's worst nightmare. We lost a cat and he was never found, still bothers us years later. Hopefully, we will never run away!

    1. It's horrible, and it happens so quickly. A couple of years ago the metal part on the leash that attaches to the collar snapped off when I was taking a walk with Bonnie. Luckily she's so well behaved she stayed with me, even though she really wanted to run across the road to chase another dog...

      And we almost lost all our dogs a few weeks ago. Luckily, I slept through all of it or I would have been panicking. My husband took them out in the morning and sat down on the front porch. What he didn't know was that someone had backed into the gate at the back of the yard during the night, so it was bent and open. He didn't even realize the dogs were gone until a neighbor came walking with them, going, "Hey, aren't these yours?" Scary! Ever since I walk around the yard to check every time we let them out to play.

      ~ Maria ~