Our dogs are an important part of our family, and so when he suddenly goes missing it can be absolutely devastating. Regardless of whether he has been lost or stolen, you will probably feel sick with worry until his whereabouts have been traced. Your natural instinct may be to panic, but it is important that you keep calm and act quickly to have the best possible chance of safely recovering your beloved pet.
Here is our guide to what to do if your dog is lost or stolen.
Report your dog as lost or stolen
The very first thing that you should do is report your dog as either lost or suspected stolen (whichever applies) to your local council’s dog warden, as this is the person most likely to pick up your pet if a member of the public finds him wandering around.
You should also report your dog as either lost or stolen to local branches of the RSCPA and veterinary practises, again because these are places that a lost dog may be taken by the finder.
If you have reason to believe that your dog has been stolen rather than become lost, then you should report it as a theft to your local police station. Unfortunately, not all police are willing to record missing dogs as theft, and so you may find you need to be insistent and provide any proof that may be left behind.
Finally, you should report your dog to the microchip database. They will then know to inform you if anyone tries to re-register the chip number associated with your pet.
Search the neighbourhood
While it is completely understandable to want to get straight out and start searching for your beloved dog, a methodical and well thought-out search is almost always more beneficial. By visiting the locations that you usually take your pet for a walk, including nearby parks and walking routes, you will be able to speak to other dog owners about your missing pet. Go armed with photographs and post-it notes with your contact number on, so that anyone that may have seen your dog can get in touch.
Then spread your news wider
Some dogs have the ability to run for very long distances, and if your dog has gone missing then he may be further away than you anticipate. If you don’t have any success in tracking your pet down within the first 24 hours then spread news of his disappearance further afield.
Utilise the power of social media
Social media is currently one of the most powerful tools at our disposal, and news of your dog’s disappearance can spread extraordinarily quickly. Ask your social media friends to like and share the information, as this significantly increases the number of people who will hear that your dog is missing and will dramatically improve the likelihood of recovering your pet safe and well.
Even with the evolution of technology, there is still a definite place for traditional methods when it comes to tracing lost or stolen dogs. Create a poster using one or two very clear and recent photographs of your pet. Include the details of when/where your dog went missing or was stolen and remember to put your contact details on too. Display the poster in as many places locally as you are able to, including shop noticeboards, schools and libraries.
Don’t give up hope
Some dogs that have gone missing are not found for several days or even weeks. Don’t give up hope and keep circulating information about your pet.