There is nothing worse than having your pet go missing. It causes panic and distress unlike anything else, leaving you wondering where they are and what happened to them. The good news is that not all is lost, and just because they are missing doesn’t mean you won’t find them.
But how are you supposed to find your lost pet and is there a way you can try to get them home faster? There are definitely things you can do to increase the chances of being reunited with your furry friend - several of which can be found in this guide.
#1 Alert Local Vets and Shelters
You must make sure that Animal Control and the local Police, as well as local vets and shelters are informed as soon as possible. That way, if someone brings in a pet that matches your pet’s description, you will be informed right away. It’s a good way to spread the word and keep more eyes and ears on the situation - also making your pet ‘too hot to handle’ for any sticky fingers that might have picked them up. Animal Control will also set a trap if there is a sighting.
#2 Get on Social Media
Make sure you post about them being missing on social media and ensure it is as detailed as possible. Did they go missing when introduced to the current dog at the home? Were they spooked on a walk? Give full details of your pet’s temperament and location, as well as how to contact you. By getting people to share your post, you have a wider search radius.
#3 Print Out Posters
Printing and putting up posters locally is a good way to keep the local community aware of what has happened and also ensures that you reach those who are not on social media. Put the posters in local shops and bus shelters, as well as on telephone poles to spread the word and help improve your pet’s chances of being found.
Lost pet poster courtesy of PawMaw
#4 Cook Sausages Where They Went Missing
It might seem goofy, but it has actually been successful in the past. Go to the place they went missing with a little grill or campfire and start cooking up some sausages. Usually, your pet will get hungry quickly from all the stress and they are likely to come back to the smell of food. It’s important to note here however, that it is not a good idea to leave the food out for too long - hungry dogs are much easier to find!
#5 Leave Familiar Smells Out
You can also leave toys, bedding, and items of your clothing where they went missing or outside their doggie door to help lure them back. These familiar smells of home can be comforting to your missing pet and encourage them to return to a space where they feel safe and loved. Just make sure people know why the items are there so that they are not moved or tampered with.
#6 Set up a Search Party
It can be helpful to gather a search party that sweeps the area where your dog was last seen - especially if there is a large space to cover. This ensures that areas are not missed and also splits up the work so that more space is covered in a shorter period of time. It is imperative that everyone understands the best course of action if they do spot your pet - naturally we are inclined to approach and/or even chase the dog, but that will often only make things harder. The best thing to do is get down on the ground and gently toss high value treats (hot dogs, chicken etc.) towards the dog and let them come to you.
#7 Don’t Give Up
It can be hard to keep the faith after so many hours, days or even weeks of disappointment, but don’t give up - post and repost social media messages or local flyers and try to go farther than you think your dog is likely to travel - you may be surprised when it just takes that extra mile or effort to find them when you could have easily (and understandably) begun to admit defeat.
Using a GPS Tracker
Unfortunately, unless you have already purchased a GPS tracker, then this isn’t going to help you to find your beloved pooch on this occasion, but we felt it was worth a mention as a possible measure to prevent any future heartache. Attaching a GPS tracker on the collar of your pet can make all the difference. For example, the Weenect Dog Tracker 2 is able to give you an accurate GPS location for your pet in real-time and will also stay charged for 3 days to help you keep on your search. It takes a lot of the stress out of pups who have wandered off on a walk.
You should also make sure your dog has a microchip as this is essential in tracking you down if your dog is found (as well as being a legal requirement). However, it cannot be used for tracking and so having both on your pup is a great way to help keep them safe.
It is important that you don’t lose hope when your pet goes missing, especially as there are so many ways to help get them home. Just make sure you follow these steps, spread the word, and ensure your pets photo and information is plastered everywhere to help increase your chance of being reunited with them.