What should I do if my dog goes missing?

Dogs are curious creatures. They may be happily playing in your garden or sniffing around during walkies and then, unexpectedly, disappear leaving you worried and anxious for their safe return.

It can be a very distressing time for you if your canine chum goes missing, but taking the right steps will give you the best possible chance of being reunited.

A man cuddles his dog. What do you need to do to find your missing dog?

Here’s a helpful list of things to do to help you find your missing dog:

  • Call the microchip database or go online to register you missing dog. Your vet may have the contact details if you can’t find them.
  • Contact your local authority or council. Dog wardens are contacted by anyone finding a lost or stray dog and they’ve a responsibility to keep the dog for seven days.
  • Speak to neighbouring local authorities just in case your dog has ventured across local council borders.
  • Get in touch with all the vets in your area. Pets that have no apparent owners are often taken to the nearest vet whether or not they are injured. All vets keep lost and found books.
  • Contact all the local rescue centres or animal charities in your area. Dogs can often end up at these places whilst waiting to be re-united with their family.
  • Do a local search. Knock on doors where you last saw your dog. This may be in your own neighbourhood or somewhere you were out walking.
  • Consider advertising & reward. Many pet insurance policies include this as a benefit and will offer you a sum of money to help advertise that your pet is missing along with a reward for their safe return. Create posters and leaflets featuring good photos of your dog and include a written description and anything else that might be useful (where they were last seen, the date they went missing, etc.). Distribute this in your area and don’t forget to include your contact details. Pop your posters in a plastic folder and attach to places such as lampposts or local notice boards where a lot of people will see it.
  • Check online lost and found websites in your local area. Register your lost pet on specific sites such as Dog Lost, a free national database which is run by volunteers who will help you search for your dog.
  • Share a photo and a short description of your dog on local community Facebook pages/ groups and dedicated local ‘Lost & Found’ Facebook pages/ groups.
  • If you really think that your dog has been stolen, you should call the police.

It’s important to ensure your dog is microchipped by your local vet as this will greatly increase your chances of being re-united with your missing dog.

It’s always worthwhile having a pet insurance policy in place. For example, you could get help with advertising & reward should your pet go missing.

More pets = more fun!

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