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What To Do If You Lose Your Dog

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A missing dog inspires feelings of both guilt and panic in owners.  Worst-case scenarios play through your mind and you feel frantic about the safety of your companion.  Although it is difficult to remain calm, thinking clearly and rationally offers the best hope of finding your pet.

There are several reasons well cared for dogs go missing:

They are creatures of opportunity.

Dogs have a naturally curious nature and love to explore.  Many dogs escape through open gates, doors, and even pull the leash from an owner’s hand when they become curious or excited.  They are seeking an adventure.

Some dogs are fearful of certain stimuli.

Storms, fireworks, and other loud noises can cause a dog to bolt and hide in fear.  4th of July celebrations are notorious for an uptick in missing dogs.  The ASPCA recommends that you crate your dog or lock them in a secure room during fireworks celebrations.

If your dog is not spayed or neutered, they are more likely to go missing.

Instincts are instincts, and no matter how well-behaved your dog is, they will respond to the call of the wild when it comes to mating.

If you take your dog to an unfamiliar place, you need to be especially vigilant.

Dogs can easily become disoriented and frightened when surrounded by sights, sounds, and smells that are unfamiliar.

Two easy and inexpensive ways

Almost one-third of dogs will go missing at some point during their life.   Two easy and inexpensive ways to increase the odds of a happy reunion with your pet:

1. A collar with your current contact information on it.

You can get these from any local pet store or order them online.  Remember to make sure that if you move or change phone numbers that you update the information.

2. As part of your safety plan, please have your dog microchipped.

As with a collar, make sure that you keep your contact information updated in the national registry.

Steps to implement if your dog is missing:

Download the app or visit the website, findshadow.com.

The app allows you to create an immediate alert for your dog, including a photo.  This alert will go out to the community. They will also provide you with a custom action plan and helps you create a downloadable flyer for your pet.  Volunteers will start combing through photo matches from found dogs listed on the site as well as pictures from local rescues, shelters, and lost and found pages.

Plaster your neighborhood, or the location your dog went missing, with these flyers.

Offer a substantial reward. Make the flyers bold and eye-catching. Make a large sign with all relevant information and place it in front of your own home.

Comb the last known location of your dog.  Go door to door.

Calmly call to your dog. Be patient, and you may have to return to the site more than once.  One study showed that fifty percent of lost pets were found by the owner searching the area where the pet went missing.  If your dog bolted because he was frightened, remember, he may be hiding. Look under shrubs, cars, and anywhere else that would feel like a haven for a frightened animal.

Talk to everyone in your neighborhood

From neighbors to mail carriers, and show ask if they will take your number in the event, they spot your dog.

Go outside at night and call for your animal.

Sound carries farther when things are quiet. Listen carefully for the distant sounds of your dog’s bark or whimper.

Post pictures and the last location of your pet on the lost and found pages of social media.

Make sure you are easy to contact. Social media settings may make it difficult for you to receive messages for strangers. Put your phone number on the post and ask people to call you immediately with any information.

If your dog is not home within a few hours, visit every shelter within a large radius of your home.

Ask to file a missing pet report at each shelter. Return to the shelter every two days until your dog is safely home.

Search the Found list for your area on Craigslist.

Continue to monitor social media posts and the FindShadow app.

​Almost 90% of lost dogs, whose owners are searching, are reunited.  Remain hopeful. There are numerous stories of dogs joyfully reunited with their owners even months after they go missing.  No one wants the separation from their pet to last that long but keep the information about your pet up-to-date on the above resources and do not give up hope

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