Clear and Comprehensive Guide

How to Find Your Lost Dog and Never Lose It Again

 
photo of a lost dog poster pasted on a park 
 

If you are reading this article, your dog may be lost. We want to say how sorry we are about that and we also want to give you hope. This guide has been written with care, based on the experiences of our users and team members who have been through the same situation. It also has data from expert studies and research, which makes it more useful and easier to understand. Follow the advice we’re going to give you, and chances are you’ll be able to find your dog.

How to Find a Lost Dog

1. Alert Neighbours, Veterinarians, Police, and Shelters.

1.1 Neighbours:

Ask them to be more aware of their surroundings, to tell people they know in the neighborhood, and to notify you if they get a tip or think they have seen your dog.

2.2 Veterinarian

Use your mobile phone to call your vet. Make sure you inform them if your dog has a microchip and has been lost. In the microchip registration database, it should be recorded that the dog has been lost. This is important so that if someone takes the dog to another veterinary clinic, they know that the dog is lost and can report it.

2.3 Police and Animal Shelters

It is important to go to the police and file a report that your dog is missing. This is relevant as you are responsible for what happens to the dog. Also, if there is a traffic accident or other situations, there must be proof that the dog was lost and not simply abandoned. You can also ask at the animal shelters in your town, as someone may have found your dog and taken it to a shelter.

3. Look for him in the street:

3.1 Where to look for him?

3.1.1 Search radius:

How far away your dog is will depend on their characteristics and the environment they are in. We recommend that you estimate how many kilometers his paws may have taken him away in the past few days and mark a search area in this way.

To give some guidance here are some estimated statistics from dogs we have rescued:

Size and Age of Dog: Large-aged dogs: Usually recover within a 1 to 3-kilometre radius of their home.

Breed of Dog: Purebred or rare breed dogs: Tend to be «rescued» more quickly and recovered within a 1 to 3-kilometre radius.

Mixed-breed dogs: Often go unnoticed, and their running distance may vary more.

Dog Temperament: People-friendly dogs: They are usually retrieved within a 1 to 3-kilometer radius because they approach strangers for attention.

Dogs with aggressive temperaments or shy dogs: They may travel further and avoid human contact, which can lead to travel distances of 8 to 16 kilometers in some cases.

Environment: Densely populated areas (flats, condominiums, etc.): May have a smaller search radius.

Sparsely populated areas (farmland, mountains, deserts, etc.): This may mean that the dog travels further.

Circumstances of the Disappearance: Circumstances surrounding the disappearance may also influence how far the dog travels.

Human Factor: People who find a lost dog often take it out of the immediate search area to their homes or rescue centers.

It is important to remember that these statistics are general and may vary in individual situations. Each dog is unique, and their behavior and range may depend on multiple factors. If your dog is lost, it is essential to act quickly and use the information provided as an initial guide to determine the search area.

3.1.2 In places where there is food:

Lost dogs may go to familiar places in search of food. Check near rubbish bins, stray dog colonies, and public buildings such as schools, restaurants, or sports centers, where they may find food.

3.1.3 In shelters:

Make a register of all the dog shelters in your area. The best thing that could happen to a lost dog is to end up in a shelter. There he can be cared for, fed, and given medical attention. If your dog gets lost, keep in touch with the dog shelters in your area to warn them in case your dog is found.

3.2 When to look for him?

We recommend that you start as early as possible. However, to increase your chances of success, you must consider the following:

The best time to search for a lost dog is usually early morning or early evening.

These times of day tend to be quieter, with less traffic and human activity. In addition, the temperature may be milder, which can be more comfortable for both you and your dog. During these times, your dog is more likely to feel less stressed and more willing to respond to your call or come to you if he finds you.

3.3 How to call it?

Here is a list of the best ways to do this.

Use his name: If your dog has a name and recognizes it, use it in a friendly, cheerful tone. Say his name with enthusiasm to get his attention.

Use a Friendly, Calm Tone of Voice: Avoid yelling or showing frustration. Speak in a calm, gentle tone of voice so that the dog does not feel frightened.

Familiar Keywords: In addition to his name, you can use words or phrases that your dog associates with positive experiences, such as «let’s go home,» «treat,» «walk,» or «good boy.

Whistle or Familiar Sound: If you have used a whistle or specific sound to call your dog in the past, use it. Consistent sounds may be recognizable to your pet.

Sound Rewards: Make kissing noises, finger snaps, or sounds that your dog identifies with rewards. This may attract his attention.

Open Body Language: Maintain an open, friendly body posture. If you are crouched down, your dog may feel safer approaching you.

Don’t Chase: Avoid chasing the dog if he moves away from you. This may cause him to become frightened and run further away. Instead, try to lure him with friendly words and gestures.

Use Toys or Treats: If you have a favorite toy or treat for your dog, show it to him. It can be an effective way to get his attention.

3.4 Looking for him alone or accompanied?

When searching for a lost dog, it can be beneficial to do so accompanied, and here’s why:

Advantages:

Greater Coverage: With more people, you can cover a wider search area. Each person can search in different directions or areas, which increases the chances of finding the dog.

Emotional Support: Searching for a lost pet can be emotionally draining. Having someone by your side can provide emotional support during this stressful process.

Witness and Help: If you find the dog, having someone with you can help hold the dog or call for help if needed.

Increased Safety: In some areas, especially if you are searching at night or in remote areas, it may be safer to have company.

Dissemination and Communication: If you have more people, they can spread information more quickly on social networks, local communities, and among friends and neighbors.

Considerations:

Communication: Be sure to coordinate well with the people accompanying you to avoid confusion and ensure an effective search.

Avoid Scaring the Dog: If searching with several people, be sure not to scare the dog with a crowd. Keep a calm and friendly approach.

Defined Roles: If you search with others, it is helpful to assign clear roles. Someone can be in charge of calling the dog, another of looking for clues, etc.

Avoid Chaos: Too many people can create chaos and make the dog feel overwhelmed. Try to keep the group small and calm.

Ultimately, the decision to search alone or with others depends on your circumstances and available resources. If you have family, friends, or neighbors willing to help, it is generally more effective to search accompanied. However, if you are alone, do not hesitate to start the search on your own, and if possible, seek the help of local volunteers or animal rescue groups. Collaboration can be key to increasing the chances of finding your lost dog.

3.5 What to do if you find it?

If you find your lost dog and want to capture him safely, follow these steps to increase your chances of success:

Stay Calm and Patience: Even if you are excited to find your dog, stay calm and avoid scaring him. Dogs may be nervous or suspicious after being lost.

Talk Calmly: Use a calm and friendly tone of voice when talking to your dog. Get his attention by using his name and words he associates with positive experiences, such as \»good boy\» or \»let’s go home.\»

Don’t Approach Suddenly: Avoid approaching too quickly or abruptly, as this can scare the dog and cause it to move away. Move slowly and gently.

Offer Food and Treats: If you have food or treats on hand that your dog likes, offer them in a friendly manner. This can help you gain their trust.

Use a Collar and Leash: If you have a collar and leash on hand, carefully attach them to your dog. Make sure the collar is snug, but not too tight.

Avoid Direct Eye Contact: Dogs can interpret direct eye contact as a threat. Look askance or to the side, rather than looking directly into your dog’s eyes.

If the Dog Runs Away: If the dog gets scared and runs away, don’t chase it. Instead, stay in the area and continue calling him in a soft tone. He may come back on his own once he feels less scared.

Seek Additional Help: If you cannot safely capture your dog on your own, seek the help of a family member or friend who can help you. Sometimes having someone else can make the capture easier.

Consider Using a Trap: If the dog is extremely elusive, you may consider using an animal capture trap designed to safely catch lost dogs. These traps are usually provided by animal rescue organizations.

Contact a Professional: If the dog is in a dangerous situation or exhibiting aggressive behavior, consider contacting a professional, such as an animal rescuer or veterinarian, for assistance.

Remember that each dog is unique, and the way you should proceed may vary depending on their behavior and personality. The dog’s safety is most important, so act with care and patience to ensure its well-being while you safely capture it.

Patience is essential in this situation. Wait until the dog feels comfortable enough to approach you. There’s a good chance he’ll be as relieved to see you as you are to find him.

4. Attract him back

If you want to lure him back home from your own home, you can take steps to increase the chances of him returning. Here are some tips to achieve this:

Leave the Door or Entrance of Your House Open: If your dog is familiar with your home, you can leave the door or entrance open so that he can enter himself if he approaches. Especially in quiet hours with less human activity.

Place Clothes or Familiar items outside: Leave outside a piece of clothing that has your scent or an object that your dog associates with the house. This can help it detect the familiar scent and be attracted to return.

Leave Water and Food Outside: Place a container with fresh water and some food near the entrance to your house. This could encourage your dog to come closer if he is hungry or thirsty.

Use the Sound of Voice: If you have a patio or outdoor space, you can go outside and call your dog in a friendly, familiar tone of voice. Use his name and words he associates with positive experiences, such as «let’s go home.»

Use the Whistle or Familiar Sound: If you have a whistle or other sound that you used to use to call your dog, use it. Consistent sounds can be recognizable to your pet.

5. Look for it on the Internet

It is important that you spread the word on the Internet, since with this you can reach many people quickly. And these people can let you know if they have seen your lost cat.

5.1 Create the Online Poster

The first thing you will need is to create a lost dog sign online. You can use this simple tool to create it online in a few minutes.

https://es.postermywall.com/index.php/art/template/4445acd52a52ab70548e649ebae6b9de/lost-cat-design-template

5.2 Share it with your family and friends

Now that you have the poster, we recommend you share it with all your contacts. Whether through WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or the social network you use. Ask them to share it to generate more dissemination.

5.3 Put it in Facebook groups in your city

There are lost and found groups in almost every city. To find them just Google the following:

»Lost Dogs in (your city) Facebook»

Here you post the lost dog poster and ask them to share it.

5.4 On lost and found websites

Here you should put both the data and the photo of your pet. You can use several websites for this, just google the following:

»Lost and Found Dogs in (Your City)»

5.5 Consider hiring a professional

Some websites are dedicated to digital outreach to find lost dogs. If you can afford it, go to https://rescota.es/ and create a dissemination campaign, our search options start at €45.

6. Put signs on the street

Post large, eye-catching signs with photos and information about your dog. This is essential to receive calls if someone in the area has seen you.

You can use the same one you created to search for it on the internet.

(https://es.postermywall.com/index.php/art/template/4445acd52a52ab70548e649ebae6b9de/lost-cat-design-template), you just have to print it.

Make sure to place them in highly visible places and even in the mailboxes of your nearby neighbors. If anyone spots it, they will contact you.

Remember that they must inform you if they have seen it, but you should be the one to initiate the moment of capture. Otherwise, your dog could run away from the stranger.

7. Use a Dog Trap

Using a dog trap is an option to safely capture your lost dog if he or she is elusive or hard to reach. Here are the basic steps to using a dog trap:

Important Note: Before using a trap, be sure to consult with local animal rescue experts or professionals, as improper use of traps can be dangerous for your dog and other animals.

Get a Dog Trap: You can get traps specifically designed to catch dogs. These traps are usually provided by animal rescue organizations or may be available for rent.
Place the Trap in a Strategic Location: Place the trap in a place where you have seen your dog or where you have reason to believe it happens frequently. It may be near your last known location.

Add Bait: Place an attractive bait inside the trap. You can use foods that your dog likes, such as pieces of meat, sausages, or canned food. You can also use a toy that he likes or a piece of clothing with your scent on it.

Set Up the Trap: Set up the trap according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually involves making sure the trap door is ready to close when the dog enters.

Monitor the Trap: Once the trap is set, monitor it closely. Keep a safe distance so you don’t scare the dog if he approaches.
Keep the Door Open: Some traps have a door that is held open so the dog can enter easily. Do not close the door manually; Leave it open so the dog can enter and eat the bait safely.

Act with Caution: If the dog enters the trap, do not approach it immediately. This could scare him and cause him to try to escape. Stay at a safe distance and wait until the dog is calm before approaching.

Call a Professional: Once you have safely captured your dog, it is important to call a professional, such as a veterinarian or an animal rescue organization, to check on your pet’s health and ensure that he or she is okay.

Remember that using a trap should be done with caution and with the guidance of animal rescue experts. Do not try to trap the dog yourself if you are not experienced in using dog traps, as this could endanger the dog’s safety. Always prioritize your pet’s well-being and seek professional help when necessary.

8. Consider a professional Detective

Hiring a professional detective to find your lost dog is an option you may consider, especially if you have exhausted other measures and are willing to invest additional resources in the search. Here are some considerations:

Advantages of hiring a professional detective:

Experience and Knowledge: Professional detectives often have experience searching for lost people and animals, which can increase the chances of finding your dog.
Network: Detectives may have a wide network of contacts in the community, including animal rescue organizations, shelters, veterinarians, and other professionals who can assist in the search.
Technology and Resources: Detectives may use additional technology and resources, such as surveillance cameras, online investigations, and advanced tracking methods.
Professional Tracking: A detective can conduct extensive tracking and investigation to determine the whereabouts of your dog and take specific steps to recover it.

Considerations before hiring a detective:

Costs: Hiring a professional detective can be expensive, and fees vary depending on the location and complexity of the search.
Effectiveness: While detectives can be effective in searching for missing people, finding a dog can be more challenging due to the animals’ mobility and behavior.
Clear Communication and Expectations: Before hiring a detective, be sure to communicate your expectations and ask about her specific experience searching for lost animals.

How Long Does It Take To Recover a Lost Dog?

The length of the search and the time it takes to find a lost dog can vary widely depending on various circumstances, such as location, dog behavior, search actions, and other factors.

On average, some dogs can be found within hours or days, especially if they are lost close to home and are familiar with their surroundings. However, in more complicated cases, or if the dog gets scared and runs away, the search could take weeks or even longer.

How quickly a lost dog is found depends largely on the promptness of the response, collaboration with the local community, dissemination of information, and other factors. If your dog is lost, it is important to act quickly, actively search and use social media, and collaborate with animal rescue organizations to increase the chances of finding him or her as soon as possible.

Why Dogs Try To Escape & How You Can Avoid it?

Dogs can escape and get lost for a variety of reasons. Here are some common reasons dogs escape and some suggestions on how to avoid them:

1. Curiosity and Exploration:

Reason: Dogs are naturally curious and may escape to explore their surroundings or follow interesting trails.
How to Avoid It: Keep your dog in a safe area or use a long leash during walks to allow him to explore under supervision.

2. Fear or Anxiety:

Reason: Frightened dogs may escape from scary situations, such as storms, fireworks, loud noises, or stressful situations.
How to Avoid It: Provide a safe place at home where your dog can retreat during stressful events. Consider using behavior modification techniques or consulting with a professional if your dog has anxiety.

3. Desire for Company:

Reason: Dogs may escape in search of company, especially if they are lonely or bored at home.
How to Avoid It: Provide appropriate mental and physical stimulation for your dog, such as walks, games, and interactive toys. You can also consider the company of another dog or pet.

4. Hunting Instinct:

Reason: Some dogs have strong hunting instincts and may escape to chase prey, such as squirrels or rabbits.
How to Avoid It: Keep your dog in a fenced area or use a leash when in hunting-prone areas. Train \»stop\» or \»no\» commands to redirect their attention.

5. Boredom:

Reason: Lack of mental and physical stimulation can lead dogs to run away in search of adventure.
How to Avoid It: Provide adequate entertainment and exercise to keep your dog mentally stimulated and physically active.

6. Lack of Supervision:

Reason: Lack of proper supervision can allow a dog to escape through an open gate or broken fence.
How to Avoid It: Always supervise your dog in outdoor areas, make sure gates and fences are in good condition, and use leashes or safety harnesses.

7. Attraction to Other Dogs or People:

Reason: Some dogs may escape to seek the company of other dogs or people.
How to Avoid It: Socialize your dog properly and use a leash or fence to prevent him from approaching strangers or other dogs unsupervised.

8. Instinct to Mark Territory:

Reason: Dogs may escape to mark territory or respond to other animal scents.
How to Avoid It: Keep your dog indoors or in a fenced area to prevent him from marking territory in dangerous places.

Prevention is essential to prevent a dog from escaping and getting lost. Provide a safe environment, proper training, and attention to your dog’s emotional and physical needs to reduce the chances of him wanting to escape in the first place. Also, make sure your dog is wearing a collar or harness with an up-to-date ID tag and microchip for easy identification in case he gets lost.

What To Do When You Get Your Lost Dog Home

When you have recovered your lost dog and he has returned home to you, it is important to take some steps to make sure he is okay and to prevent future losses. Here is a list of actions you should consider:

Veterinary Exam: Take your dog to the vet for a complete health checkup. Make sure he didn’t suffer any injuries or illnesses while he was missing.
Update Identification: If your dog did not have a microchip or the information on the identification tag was outdated, make sure he is correctly identified. Update contact information if necessary.
Provides Comfort and Affection: Your dog may be stressed after the experience of it. Provide him with a comfortable place to rest and lots of love and attention.
Fence Check: If your dog escaped from your property, check the security of your fence or fence. Make sure there are no weak spots where he can escape again.
Consider Training: If your dog’s behavior contributed to his escape (such as not responding to commands), consider enrolling him in training classes to improve his obedience and behavior.
Maintain Routines: Reestablish normal feeding, exercise, and grooming routines for your dog. Stability can help him feel secure.
Additional Supervision: For some time after your return, it is advisable to supervise your dog more closely when he is outdoors to prevent future escapes.
Future Loss Prevention: Identify the causes of the initial loss and take steps to prevent it in the future. This could include corrections in the environment, the dog’s behavior, or supervision.
Gratitude and Notification: Thank everyone who helped find and recover your dog. If you use social media or signs, be sure to notify the local community that you have recovered your dog.
Continued Care: Continue to provide proper care and attention to your dog, and keep him safe and happy in his home.

Remember that each dog and situation is unique, so it is important to adapt these recommendations to your pet’s specific needs. Make sure your dog is comfortable, happy, and healthy after returning home.