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December 31, 2020
Your dog is so much more than a pet; he's family. So, the thought of losing your precious pup most likely twists your stomach into some serious knots. According to the American Humane Association, roughly 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen each year in the United States. Of those pets, the Coalition for Reuniting Pets and Families estimates that less than 23% end up getting returned to their owners.
Plus, with the approaching New Year, sometimes things like fireworks and other loud noises can spook dogs, causing them to run off and hide. Therefore, it's critical to know the best steps to take if your dog ends up lost, so you can increase your odds of getting him home safe and sound.
Of course, when you first discover your dog is missing, your immediate reaction might be to panic. But, quick action and a cool head will make a speedy return of your pup more likely.
If your dog just got out of the yard or ran out the front door, he's likely not far. Call out for him and have a handful of his favorite treats at the ready. If you can see your pup, resist the urge to chase him; he'll assume you're playing and keep on running from you. Instead, crouch down and call your dog in an excited, upbeat voice. Squeak his favorite toy and show him the treats so he'll come to you.
Sometimes, if your pup gets loose and is scared, he might be closer than you think. Check out your driveway and your neighbors' yards and garages, look behind trash cans and under cars to see if your dog is hiding (or possibly stuck). This can especially be the case if certain stressful situations are happening, like fireworks or bad weather, or if it is cold outside and your dog is trying to find a place to stay warm.
It’s a good idea to go out at night with a flashlight and look for your pup, too, as he might have hunkered down somewhere during the day. Not to mention, if he’s nearby by nightfall, he’s more likely to respond to you as he’s probably hungry. You can also try putting out your dog’s food bowl to see if he’ll make his way home once he gets hungry, but the essential thing to remember is to not depend on this. You never want just to sit back and wait for your dog to come home; action is necessary.
Unfortunately, if you don't notice your dog missing right away, it becomes more challenging to find him, but definitely not impossible. Still, you need to work fast. You can do some of the expected things like post fliers throughout the neighborhood with your pup’s picture, place an ad in the local newspaper, and consider offering a reward. A reward encourages others to keep an eye out for your furry friend, plus persuades people to turn in your untagged pet instead of choosing to keep him. It’s also helpful to post fliers at local stores, vets, and groomers.
Let your neighbors know that your dog is missing; also, contact your vet and groomer. It’s also important to call your local shelters as well as animal control. Typically, shelters and animal control will not call you if a dog matching your pup’s description comes in (unless your dog is chipped). So, it’s imperative that you contact the shelter every day and call animal control at least every two days. Also, no one knows your pet like you, so visit the shelters in person and ask to see dogs recently brought in.
You can also try calling your local radio station to help spread the word. Likewise, ensure you scan the local found ads every day, too. If you see any descriptions that could possibly be your pup, call the number in the ad immediately.
Today, social media has become a powerful tool for animal shelters and rescues to find homes for pets. Social media has also proved helpful in reuniting lost dogs with their families. Therefore, when your pup is missing, post his picture on various social media platforms like Facebook and Nextdoor, and even the app for the popular doorbell camera, Ring.
Using the internet and various apps to aid your dog search instantly increases your search party by thousands. You can also check websites like www.petfinder.com and Pawboost to initiate a lost pet alert.
The American Humane Association estimates that 1 in 3 pets will get lost in their lifetime, so taking certain precautions is vital if you want to ensure your pet isn’t one of them. Here are a few pointers that can help make it more likely that your pup stays home where he belongs:
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