Pets are a lot like children; they get curious about things and may wander off without realising that they’ve strayed from their companion. When this happens, you shouldn’t beat yourself up. No matter how careful you may be, there is no way you can keep your furry baby from being curious.
This is no time to blame yourself. You shouldn’t waste any time crying over it and focus on what you can do to find your lost puppy as soon as possible instead.
The good news is, there is a high probability of your dog returning home, especially if you’ve made sure that the dog tag you bought online is fastened securely to his collar. To boost these chances, here are six things you need to do to find your lost dog ASAP:
Search the Neighbourhood
Many cases of missing dogs often involve lack of training, as a well-trained canine would know and respond to basic commands like ‘stay,’ ‘sit,’ or ‘come.’ After all, he wouldn’t have run off easily after being told to ‘stay.’
But if your furry baby is already missing, calling out his name and using common commands like ‘come’ is still worth trying. He might even respond to ‘ride in the car’ or any other particular phrase that usually catches his attention.
Dogs use their nose for a lot of things and tracking food is one of them. For this reason, it is a good idea to bring his favourite treats on your search as they can help lure him home. If you don’t have any on-hand, you can use dog food delivery services to restock before you head out.
You can also leave his bedding or any clothing with your scent near the location you last saw him. This can serve as his guide on his way back.
A lost dog may also feel quite scared and may react differently towards unknown people who try to approach or pick them up. Make sure that you alert your neighbours, just to be safe.
Depending on your pet’s personality, you should include instructions on how to approach your pup when you send out flyers or post about him on social media. You can also enlist your other dogs to help sniff out their missing pal or call him home.
Alert Animal Organisations in the Locality
When people find animals that seem to be lost, they are likely to bring them to animal organisations in the locality. This is why it is important that you alert the animal control, animal shelter, the local veterinary office, and other similar entities about your missing puppy.
Put up fliers in their offices or call ahead. This way, they can let you know should anyone end up leaving your furry baby with them.
Some shelters may also be forced to turn away animals brought to them if they are already full, so they must know that your puppy already has a home in case he is brought to them.
It is also a good idea to follow up to make sure they remember about your missing pup.
Maximise the Power of Flyers
Printing flyers may seem like a simple task, but it’s crucial that you do it right to maximise its effectiveness in helping you find your dog.
Old-fashioned though they may seem, flyers work efficiently if you know how to use them properly. The key is to achieve two things: reach the right people and ensure that they recognise your puppy when they see the flyers.
Below is a checklist of the things you must do to accomplish this:
- Print enough flyers. At least 100 copies should be enough, or you’ll end up wasting time reprinting.
- Make sure they stand out. Use large and clear-cut fonts in bright colours.
- Post them in the right places. Be sure to put them on eye-level in well-lit and publicly accessible areas, as well as places many of your neighbours frequent like parks, shopping malls, and others. Don’t forget to put some in the place where you last saw your puppy.
If your canine pal has a history of running away, you may also try searching in and putting up flyers where you last found him.
Post About Your Lost Puppy on Social Media
Finding something these days is so much easier because of social media, so be sure to post about your lost puppy there. Like flyers, your goal should be to have your post seen by the right people at the right time.
Post about your missing pup on your own pages and social media accounts and ask friends and colleagues to share it. Don’t forget to add as much information as you can and attach clear, recognisable pictures.
You can also use hashtags like ‘lost dog,’ your pet’s breed, the city where you live, and the place where you lost him. Local groups can also be a good place to get the word out.
Think Like Your Dog
As a pet parent, you know your puppy better than anyone else. Use this to find your missing dog by trying to put yourself in his position.
Think about what you’ll feel if you’re lost and don’t know where to go. Consider places he enjoys going to or those where he likes to hide in, like the neighbourhood park, a nearby wooded spot, or a cemetery.
You should also visit local food service establishments like fast food and restaurants. Lost and hungry dogs are bound to be attracted to the smell of food. When you search the premises, don’t forget to check the dumpster as he could potentially be scavenging for food.
Don’t Lose Hope
Your dog is never truly lost until you decide to stop looking.
No matter how heartbreaking and terrifying the situation may be, you should remember that dogs can be quite resourceful if the need arises. While your pet may be used to sleeping on plush doggie beds and eating on dog bowls, his animal instincts are bound to kick in to help him survive when he’s on his own.
What you can do in the meantime is to be persistent and diligent in your search. Share on social media, post flyers, and call local animal shelters until he returns home.
Reunite with Your Puppy
Looking for a lost dog can be a dreadful experience.
With the right attitude, a clear head, and proper information dissemination, you should be able to reunite with your missing pooch sooner rather than later.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.