My dog’s been missing for a week. Will I still find him?
The first 24-48 hours after a dog goes missing is especially crucial in finding him alive and well. During this period, it’s very important to act quickly and do what you need to do, including putting up lost dog flyers, posting on and browsing lost animal listings, and inquiring at shelters and vet hospitals.
After the 24-hour period, the chances of finding a lost dog go significantly lower. However, this doesn’t mean that you should lose hope. There have been many cases of lost dogs having been found after going missing for weeks, even months. Increase your chances of finding your lost pet by following a more specified action plan.
1. Re-evaluate your search strategy.
Having a week gone by without your dog by your side can cause surges of panic and tons of worry. If your dog has been missing for a week, you must remember to stay positive and keep a clear head. Take a deep breath and re-assess your search strategy.
Search area – Chances are, you’ve
already made an immediate search of your neighborhood. If a week has passed to no avail, it’s time to bring out a map and try to optimize
your search. Get a better idea on where to look by considering your dog’s
personality and health. How far might he have gone? Has he been lost before,
and where was he found? Based on how well you know your dog, you can cross out
areas that your dog is likely to avoid.
Search times – It’s worth trying
searching when it’s dark and quiet. Your dog is more likely to hear you call if
you do a search in the hours of dusk and just before dawn. Don’t forget to
bring a flashlight and strong-smelling dog food. You may also bring your dog’s
blankets and toys. He might get a whiff of the familiar scents and find his way
back to you.
· Search party – Assemble as many people as are willing to help to search with you. Divide the search party to cover more ground, with the goal to look at all possible corners and holes, in case the dog is injured and unable to move. Instruct your search party to not call out the dog’s name all at once as this could only frighten him away, if he’s on survival mode.
2. Keep posting and giving away flyers.
Even if my dog has been missing for two weeks or more, distributing and putting up lost pet flyers is always a worthwhile aspect of lost pet searches. Create a lost pet flyer that stands out with big, clear fonts, a high-resolution picture of your dog, and updated contact details. Have as many people as possible see it by putting these up all around town’s busiest spots, including shelters and pet supply stores.
3. Take full advantage of the internet.
Doing a regular physical search while your dog is still missing is a good idea, if you have the time and resources for it. But while you’re at home, you can still take some actionable steps.
Search online marketplaces –
Check websites that sell pets online. Someone who found your dog may be trying
to sell him in one of these online marketplaces.
Social media community pages
– There are social media community pages dedicated to helping lost pets get
back home safely. Post your lost dog flyers on these pages and have more people
be on the lookout for your missing pet.
· Lost and found listings – When it comes to finding your family pet, even if my dog has gone missing for three weeks or more, there’s no way you can overdo it. Lost and found listings and online classified would usually have sections for missing pets. Post an ad in as many of these websites as you can find.
4. Follow up with the animal shelters and vet hospitals.
You may have already tried calling animal shelters in the first week of your search. Even if you called a dozen shelters and got no results, remember to not give up! Keep calling or paying visits regularly. Consider the possibility that whoever found your dog didn’t take him to the shelter right away.
5. Send out a pet alert.
There are online networks of pet owners, rescuers, volunteers, and concerned citizens who are willing to help owners like you locate missing pets. One such community is at PawMaw.com, where you can send out an alert to hundreds of community members, who are going to keep an eye out for your dog.
6. Focus on the area where he was last seen.
If someone reports a sighting of your dog, try focusing your regular searches around the area. Try to find a safe spot where your dog is likely to show up and leave a carrier with some familiar objects inside. Check the spot at different times of the day. Your dog might be coming back at regular intervals and you may just be missing each other. If you have time to spare, you can wait at the spot with some food. The scent might lure him to you.
7. Seek the help of a professional.
Professional pet detectives typically use bloodhounds to track missing dogs. Their experience can help you locate a pet that has been lost for a much longer period of time. Search online for pet detectives in your area.
Never forget the most important step to finding a dog that has been missing for a week or more: never give up! Stay committed to your goal and hold on to the thought that your dog is still out there, waiting for you to find him. It’s easy to give in to despair, but for your beloved pet’s sake, you must continue to stay positive. Sometimes, even if nothing seems to be working, keep looking forward to the day when your fluffy buddy will be back by your side. Read more useful advice on finding lost pets.