How to Find a Lost Dog


Finding out your dog has escaped or run away can be quite terrifying. According to pet lost statistics, 14% of pet owners have lost a dog in the past five years.

Your dog may have gotten lost because he was scared by a loud sound or noise, he may have been chasing or chased off by another animal, or was simply curious. Whatever the reason, you need all the help you can get to get him back. This guide will tell you how to find a lost dogincluding everything you need to do to boost chances of finding your missing pet.

Chances of Finding a Lost Pet after 24 Hours

Once you find your pet missing, it’s imperative that you begin your search right away. Chances of finding your lost dog within the first 24 hours of going missing is significantly higher so it’s best not to waste time and take action right away. A thorough sweep of the neighborhood is extremely crucial. But as you prepare to do a physical search, you may get started by getting the word out to as many people as possible first. So, here are more suggestions on how to find your lost dog fast.

1. Make and distribute flyers.

Find a high-resolution photo of your missing dog and create a flyer with all the important information such as when he went missing, where he was last seen, any identifying marks, and your contact details. Put up these flyers in high-traffic locations right away.

Bring some flyers with you when you go door-to-door so you can show the flyer to anyone you meet.  You may opt to offer a reward, but be wary of possible scammers who may only be taking advantage of you in this vulnerable situation.

2. Post an ad and browse listings.

Go online and post an ad about your missing dog in online lost & found forums and websites. When you report your lost pet to PawMaw, your free listing is featured on the home page where more people can see it. You can also generate a downloadable flyer fast and easy so you can focus your energies on your search.

In the few days after your dog goes missing, be diligent in checking lost & found pet listings online. The person who found your pet may be looking for you!

3. Talk to family and neighbors.

It’s understandable that you’re worrying about how to find my lost dog but consider the possibility that he hasn’t gone far. Some dogs are just so friendly with everyone. Ask your friends and neighbors if they have seen your dog and when was the last time they did.

4. Call vets, animal rescue, and shelters.

If some Good Samaritan came upon your lost dog, the sensible thing to do is for them to report the lost animal to the proper authorities. It’s also possible they’d take the dog for a checkup at the vet. They may not do it right away, but wait a few days or a week.

Give vets and shelters a heads up that you’re looking for a dog of a certain description, and if they’d please contact you in case someone bring him in. It would also be a good idea to do follow up calls or visits until you find your missing dog.

How to Find a Lost Dog with a Microchip

Microchip technology is obviously one of the best ways to find a lost dog. If you’ve been a mindful pet owner who made sure that your dog has been microchipped, you have significantly increased the chances of reuniting with your lost pet.

To find a lost dog with a microchip, call the microchipping company or go to their website right away. Look up the microchip serial number and see if your pet has popped up in the system. Include the microchip information when you make calls to local vets and shelters helping them identify your pet in the event that he’s taken in.

How to Find a Lost Dog at Night

So, you’ve been making calls and searching all day and still no good news. You can keep looking for your missing dog at night, when it’s quieter and your dog may have better chances of hearing your calls. To find your lost dog at night, you’d need the help of as many people as you can manage. Start by going over your search, route and divide areas among the members of party. Consider your dog’s energy and activity level to narrow down your search radius. Tell your search party to bring flashlights and look in every hiding place.

Also, warn them not to approach when they spot the dog as it may run away from fear. In case anyone sees your dog, bring food and your pet’s favorite things in said spot and wait for him to make his approach.

How to Find a Lost Dog in the Woods

In case your dog got lost in the woods or in a strange place far away from home, you might need to set up traps in addition to doing a physical search and the other steps mentioned. Animal rescue can lend you a safe trap, which you can set up around the spot where your dog has been last seen. A dog that’s lost in the woods or any unfamiliar territory may get into survival mode so it’s possible he won’t recognize your voice when you call out his name. Check the trap every so often and see if your pet has been captured.

If you’re absolutely sure that your missing dog has been spotted in a specific location, you can set place a crate in safe, sheltered spot in said location. Put his blankets, toys, and a piece of clothing with your scent in it inside. If you have time to wait for him to come, use food as a lure. Food may attract other animals, too. If your dog shows up, remember to be careful. Speak in soothing tones and make sure to use non-threatening body language. Don’t come near him right away, but wait for him to approach you.

Follow This Infographic More About How to Find Your Missing Pets

Now that you’ve taken all the important steps on how to find a lost dog, there’s a good chance that you’ve found some useful leads already. Waiting could be the hardest part, but the most important thing is to never, ever give up on your beloved fluffy. Many lost dogs have come back home after weeks, or even months, of going missing. He’s out there waiting for you so think about that and never lose hope. Keep making calls and checking online listings to see if anyone has located your pet.


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Get Your Pet Back Home

Over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen every year. You can report your missing pets with PawMaw. We can notify thousands nearby within a minute.

Report Lost Pet