What Do You Do When You Lose Your Dog? 

We all love our dogs and consider them a part of the family. Maybe your dog is your best friend, or you treat them like your fur baby. Whatever your bond with your dog, you would be devastated if they got lost. What can we do about it?

If your dog has recently gone missing, we have some advice on steps you can take to try and recover your sweet pup. And if you’re just concerned about the possibility of losing your dog, check out the tips on how to prevent your dog from getting lost in the first place!

dog lying down in leaves

6 Steps to Take If You Lose Your Dog

If your dog goes missing, here are six basic steps to take. Try to stay calm and hopeful. 

  1. Talk to Your Neighbors: If your dog got lost at home, one of the  first things you can do is talk to your neighbors. Go door to door and ask if they’ve seen your pup. You can even use the Nextdoor website or app to reach out to people in your neighborhood or community. It’s a great way to contact a significant number of people—even if you don’t personally know them. 
  2. Contact Your Local Police Station: This may sound a little extreme, but contact your local police department about your lost dog. In the case that your dog was stolen, the police can write up a report and help bring in the perpetrator.
  3. Call Local Veterinarians & Animal Shelters: Calling local shelters and veterinarians can also help you find your pup. If a good samaritan finds your dog, they may turn them in to a vet clinic or animal shelter. And if your dog has a registered dog license, the vet or animal shelter will be able to look up your contact information.
  4. Utilize Pet Loss Websites: You can find websites online that will help with lost pets. They are connected to shelters and will send them an alert about your dog.  
  5. Hang Up Flyers & Post on Social Media: One of the most common “old school” ways to find a missing pet is to post flyers around town. This may seem outdated, but it works! Your dog’s picture and your contact information will be seen by tons of people around your town. And posting about it on your social media pages can help too! Not only will your friends and family see it, but they can share your post with people they know. You can post about it in local community Facebook groups. 
  6. Contact Your Local Radio Stations & News Outlets: Try contacting your local news outlets or radio stations. If they are willing to help, they can get the word out to even more people who may have seen your dog. 

How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Lost 

If you’re concerned about potentially losing your dog, or wondering how to prevent it from happening again, below are some simple steps you can take to help.

  • Dog Collar & ID Tag: Make sure your dog wears a collar with a custom ID tag. If your dog runs off and a good samaritan finds them, the person can see your contact information on the ID tag and call you.

  • Dog License: This is also very important for dog recovery. Ensure you’ve registered your dog online and paid for a yearly dog license. Your dog will then wear a dog license tag on their collar, and any rescue shelter or veterinarian can look up your information.

  • Keep Your Dog Secured: If you are outdoors with your dog, make sure they wear a collar and leash. And consider having them wear a harness for more control and less choking. You can also install a fence around your backyard or use a dog run—just be sure it isn’t old and fraying. And if your dog is the type to dart out the front door, consider using an indoor retractable gate to block them.  

  • Microchipping: You’ve probably heard of microchipping. To do this, a veterinarian would surgically implant a microchip under your pet’s skin, so that it always stays with them. Then, if your pet is returned to a veterinarian or an animal shelter, they can scan your pet’s microchip, and your contact information will pop up in their system. The best part about a microchip is that you don’t have to worry about a collar or tag staying on your dog—the microchip is always there. 

  • GPS Dog Collars: GPS dog collars have become quite popular. With a GPS dog collar, if your dog runs off, you can check the app on your phone to track their location. 

Most Popular GPS Dog Collars

There are many different brands of GPS collars, and they all offer slightly different features. While some will provide only a GPS tracker, others will show you your dog’s activity levels, heart rate, sleep quality, and more—just like fitness watches for humans. 

And some GPS dog collars can even act as a sort of “invisible fence” to help teach your dog to stay home. Below is a list of some of the most popular GPS dog collars on the market. 

  1. Fi Series 2 GPS Tracker Smart Dog Collar: The Fi Series 2 GPS Tracker Smart Dog Collar is waterproof, comes in various colors and can have a battery life of 3 months when it’s regularly connected to your home Wifi. It also tracks your dog’s exercise levels and alerts you when your dog has left their designated “safe zone.”

  2. Whistle GO Explore: The Whistle GO Explore has a battery life of up to 20 days, plus a remote-activated light to help find your dog. You can set it up to alert multiple users, and this small device can be attached to many different collars. Plus, it provides weekly health reports about your dog’s activity, sleeping, and even things like scratching and licking.

  3. FitBark GPS Dog Tracker: The FitBark GPS Dog Tracker has a battery life of 10-20 days, is lightweight, and is waterproof. This collar alerts you when your dog leaves its “safe area.” This collar will also tell you your dog’s activity levels, sleep quality, calories burned, and more. And you can allow multiple people to receive alerts about one dog. 

  4. Garmin T5 GPS Dog Collar: The Garmin T5 GPS Dog Collar is an excellent option for places with poor cell service because it has a 9-mile range. Unlike other collars, it does not require the internet, a smartphone, or even any kind of subscription. 

  5. Halo Collar: The Halo Collar is an invisible fence, GPS collar, activity tracker, and training collar—all in one. Not only does this collar track your dog’s location and physical health, but it creates “fences” wherever you want them.  

Looking for more articles about pet-parenting advice? Check out the Blog at TheDailyDog.com.