Every year, over 15% of dog owners report their dogs missing.
That’s a lot! Dogs go missing for a variety of reasons, from sneaking out of a faulty gate to being spooked by fireworks. When your dog is lost, you’ve got no time to lose. Here’s what Vetted wants you to know about the first two hours after your dog goes missing.
0-30 minutes in: Hit the Ground
Once you’re sure your dog is missing and not hiding under the bed, you’ve got to act fast. If your dog is microchipped (and she should be!), immediately call the microchip company and your vet to tell them what’s occured. Be sure the microchip company has your correct contact information on file, too.
You’ll want to immediately sweep the neighborhood; if there’s more than one of you, split up. It’s best to do this part on foot, calling your dog’s name loudly while you do so. Take a favorite squeaky toy with you, if your dog has one! Don’t be afraid to knock on doors to let your neighbors know to be on-alert. Check around bushes, under porches, and anywhere else you think your dog may have hidden.
30 minutes – 1 hour in: Post and Search
Once you’ve thoroughly searched the neighboring area on foot, grab your car if you have one and expand your radius a little bit. If you still haven’t found your dog, head back home to put your technology to work for you. And remember: there’s a good chance your “lost” dog will return home once she gets her orientation, anyway!
If you’re a member of any online neighborhood groups like NextDoor or a private Facebook group, post a photo of your dog and describe where you think she might have gone. Give your neighbors tips on how to attract her and provide your phone number so you can be contacted immediately.
1 hour – 2 hours in: Call Around
When you’ve alerted the internet to your missing dog, it’s time to call vet’s offices in your local area. Dial up any vet within a few miles and give them a description of your dog; they can call you to let you know if she’s brought in by a well-meaning citizen. It’s also a good idea to contact shelters in your area to describe your dog and get your contact information on file, too.
It’s never a bad idea to keep searching, even if it’s been several hours since your dog ran off. As night falls, your dog is more likely to stop wandering and hunker down for the evening, so you can make up a little lost ground by searching for her then.
And remember…don’t get discouraged! Over 93% of lost dogs are eventually returned safely to their homes! Just stay calm and be patient.