How to Track a Lost Dog


Losing a pet can be one of the most panic-inducing experiences for a pet owner. If your dog has suddenly gone missing, it’s absolutely essential that you stay calm and take action immediately. The most crucial steps towards your dog’s safe return involve:

  • Starting your search immediately
  • Searching the local area thoroughly
  • Putting up flyers and reporting your lost pet sites like
  • Checking and following up with vets and local shelters every day

Around 85% of lost cats and dogs are eventually recovered, according to a survey of over 1,000 household by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Tracking a lost dog within the first 24 hours of disappearance definitely increases your chances of reuniting with your pet.

There are a few methods you can try to track down an escaped or lost dog.

Track Lost Dog with a Microchip

If you’ve had your dog microchipped and took all the steps to complete your registration with the microchipping company, you definitely have a much better chance of finding your missing dog. To track a lost dog with a microchip:

  • Visit the microchipping company’s website and enter your pet’s serial number.
  • If you’re not sure about which provider, use a service like
  • Call the vet that injected the chip if you need more information.
  • Ask vets, shelters, and animal rescue centers if they’ve scanned any pet with details matching yours.

If someone found your dog and took him to a vet or a shelter reporting him as lost, one of the things they’d do is scan your dog for a microchip. Upon scanning, the dog’s location will be reflected in the microchipping database, and provides details about the pet and its owner so the founder can easily contact you, as long as the microchip information is updated.


Tracking a Lost Dog with GPS

Technology has allowed pet owners to monitor and track their pets more closely. Most pet GPS trackers are small devices that are attached to the collar, giving real-time location on where your dog is. Using a smartphone app, you can get the coordinates of your pet’s location at any time. You can also receive alerts and notifications on your phone.

A lot of the top recommended pet GPS trackers have Geo-fencing feature which alerts you if your pet goes beyond a pre-assigned safe zone. Most GPS tracking devices require an activated SIM, batteries, and annual subscription fees.

It may be quite costly, but considering that a good GPS tracker helps you find a missing pet in an instant, it’s definitely an investment worth considering.


Sniffer Dog to Find Lost Dog

Many pet owners who have found their dogs missing have sought the help of professional pet detectives, who typically employ bloodhounds or sniffer dogs to follow the scent of missing dogs. Calling for professional help can set you back hundreds of dollars, but if you must explore every possible way to track a lost dog, we’ve heard many success stories where pet detectives are concerned.

You may also heed some words of advice on how to find a missing pet from West Coast-based pet detective Babs Fry.


Send Out Lost Pet Alerts

Never underestimate the power of local communities uniting towards a common goal: reuniting lost pets with their owners. Websites like exist to connect pet owners everywhere, helping share and spread information on any pet that’s been lost or found. The platform is easy to use and features great tools to help in your search for a lost pet. To start searching for your lost pet:

  • Log in to Create a free listing by stating if you’re looking for a lost pet or have found a pet that might be lost.
  • Upload a picture and details in the required fields. The system will automatically generate a flyer which you can print and aide you in your search.
  • Browse the PawMaw database of lost and found pets. Check the listings regularly for any updates.
  • When you report a lost pet, PawMaw alerts members in your location so more people are made aware of your search.


Shelters and Animal Rescue

Of course, it would make sense to track a lost dog in cooperation with shelters and animal rescue authorities. You can also try vet hospitals and clinics to see if anyone has taken in a dog of your pet’s description.

Anyone who finds a stray would most likely report to vets and animal rescuers, if not, take the missing pet to them directly. Call or visit these places and see if they have your pet in custody. If you make the initial rounds to all centers and vet hospitals in and around your area to no avail, don’t give up so easily.

Do follow up calls and visits in the coming days. You may also leave with the staff the flyer, you created for their reference. Make sure you provide the correct contact details in case someone finds your pet and reaches out to you.

Lure Your Lost Dog

In some cases, setting up a trap to lure a lost dog could necessary. Dogs that have gone missing for some time might be wary of humans and won’t respond to your calls.

If for instance, your dog is lost in the woods, you can wait for him with food and water right near the sport where he was last seen. If there’s been a sighting of your dog, you can try to set up a safe and harm-free trap in the said location. Bring his favorite food and toys. Lure him with your scent by bringing clothes you’ve worn. Check the traps you’ve set regularly.


Tracking your lost pet in the first 24 hours after he goes missing is absolutely crucial. However, there’s still good chances of finding a lost pet, even if more time has passed.  Some dog owners have reported their lost dogs coming home after weeks or months of getting lost! The important thing is to never give up on your search. Explore all the possible ways to tracking a lost dog and spreading information to people who could help. 


  • All Post arrow
  • Lost & Found Pet Tips arrow
  • Pet Behavior arrow
  • Pet Training arrow
  • Pet Food arrow
  • Pet Health arrow
  • Pet Care arrow
  • Pet Safety arrow
  • Others arrow

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.
Lost & Found Pet Tips
May 20, 2024 Pawmaw

Lost Dog Facts And Statistics 2024 Update

Annually, 10 million dogs go missing, yet there's a 93% recovery rate. Protect yourself by knowing these statistics and understanding the facts surrou...
Lost & Found Pet Tips
May 13, 2024 Pawmaw

How To Prevent Your Dog From Getting Lost

Prevent your dog from getting lost by using identification, technology, or training them if you do not want to lose your beloved furbaby.
Lost & Found Pet Tips
May 5, 2024 Pawmaw

How To Use Social Media For Finding A Lost Pet?

Learn how to utilize social media effectively in finding a lost pet. Get expert tips on leveraging online communities for a swift reunion.

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