How to find a lost dog

Photo by courtney_80

It is stressful. Your dog has gone missing, and you are worried about her. What you need is a plan of action. That plan can be found in the book The Lost Pet Chronicles. I know you need advice now, and can’t wait to order the book, so I’ll outline some of the key advice to finding your dog:

  • In suburbs, search within a 3/4 mile radius of your home where your dog was lost. In cities, narrow the area. In rural areas, expand the circle.
  • Ask permission of your neighbors to search their yards.
  • When you search, look for hiding spots under houses, in culverts. Your dog can be trapped or stuck.
  • Search places without people, like woods.
  • If your dogs is a mutt, people don’t notice them as much. A recognizable breed means your dog may get picked up by someone driving by. Expand your search area.
  • Motivation to picking up your dog can be they are trying to be helpful, or they may want your dog for themselves.
  • Contact the animal shelters and animal control. They will have a list of animal rescue organizations. Contact them too.
  • Make up LARGE signs and post at intersections. Use fluorescent poster board, full poster size. Use no more than about 5 words in a very large print with large permanent black marker: example- Reward Lost Dog Poodle Red Collar. Put a regular 8.5″ x 11″ paper with photo, description, name, contact information, and other details at the center of the poster. Someone driving by will see the sign. If they see your dog, they can come back and read your contact info. Hold the poster up with duct tape around sign posts from the back.
  • Give out a cell phone number, or use the free Google Voice forwarding service for your cell if you are private with your cell number.
  • When you find your dog, he may be afraid of you. Another dog on a long leash can be a good ambassador to greeting a frightened dog.
  • Use waterproof fluorescent marker like NeoMarker to put a Reward for Lost Dog message on your car.
  • Your dog did not disappear from the earth. She is somewhere.
  • Don’t give up. People have found their lost pets even after months.
  • Put ads in Craigslist under lost & found.
  • Be wary of the trucker scam. “I found your dog while driving my truck. I picked him up, and he is with me. I am now out of state. If you send me money, I’ll ship him to you.” Don’t pay money before you have seen your dog.
  • Send a postcard to all or some of the homes within an area using a service like QuantumDigital. Select Mail delivery for a quote where they address and mail each card. Their MapMail service will provide the addresses for no additional cost.
  • Hire a pet detective, or find a volunteer lost pet organization to help you. There is also more advice on finding your lost dog (and Cat). Go to
  • If you see a dog without an owner, it is likely a lost dog. It is not just a stray.

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