Losing your dog is the dread of all owners. Unfortunately, it can happen to all dogs, even those who do not necessarily have a runaway temperament.
Above all, keep calm and follow the following advice to optimize your search.
The first few hours will be decisive, even if some animals are found years later, so you will need to be organized so that your search is as clear and efficient as possible.
HAVE SELF-CONTROL TO FIND YOUR DOG QUICKLY
It is very important not to panic and to organize yourself properly so that you don’t run off in a huff. If you have just lost your dog, take a deep breath and call him, trying to keep the panic out of your voice. If your voice is hesitant, or with a sense of anger or fear, your dog may take a while to return.
Contact people you can count on and call family or friends for help in searching the area where you lost your dog. Some people may hide out of fear or if they have been injured, so it is best to have more than one person in the area to search. You may also want to have food on you to help your dog return to you if he is panicked.
You should also avoid feeling guilty at all costs because this kind of event can happen to anyone and it does not make you a bad owner. Even the most attentive dog in the world can take off on a game trail if a rabbit passes in front of him and it is in no way your fault because you cannot control everything since the dog is a living animal. And the living can sometimes be unpredictable.
I LOST MY DOG, WHAT SHOULD I DO ?
TELL AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE THAT YOU HAVE LOST YOUR DOG
As a first step, you can file a lost pet report with the gendarmerie in the town where you lost your dog, because even if they won’t come to help you look, they will at least know if someone brings them an unknown dog because you will be identified as the owner of a lost dog in their database. They will be able to contact you quickly if they need to.
The SPA and the shelters in the area
The Société Protectrice des Animaux and the shelters are also well placed to take in found or abandoned animals. If your dog is chipped or tattooed, and someone has found your dog and brought it to an association, the association will easily be able to find your contact information and contact you to come and get your dog.
I-cad is the national identification file for domestic carnivores. You can declare the loss of your pet online on their website so that if it is found and someone reads the chip, it is indicated as lost and can be contacted immediately. In order to file a lost pet report, you must have your pet’s identification number. This number is indicated on the registration card that I-cad sends you by mail following the adoption of a dog, cat or ferret.
Filalapat is a website that is linked to the I-cad, which can greatly facilitate your search and your lost pet announcements.
The application allows you to be in connection with many professionals in the animal world such as veterinarians, pounds, associations, etc. You can also generate an automatic announcement that will be broadcast on the Filalapat community. You also have ads indicating animals “seen” or “found”.
Pet Alert is a very powerful network to help people who have lost a dog to find it quickly thanks to the very active community and also thanks to the sharing of ads on the internet. The goal is to broadcast to as many people as possible the lost dog reports so that as many people as possible see the ad and may be able to locate your dog and recover it quickly.
You also have the possibility to boost your ad so that it is even more visible and highlighted in a radius of 15 km around your home, but this service is not free.
I LOST MY DOG, WHAT SHOULD I DO ?
GO AROUND AND TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT YOUR LOST DOG
Now that you have posted your ads online and notified the authorities and shelters, you can also print up flyers with your contact information and a recent, visible photo of your dog, and post them around your town on street lights and in businesses (bakeries, food stores, etc.) The goal is to get as many people as possible informed.
Keep looking, look under cars and ask passers-by if they have seen a stray dog.
Always carry treats to attract your dog as suggested at the beginning of this article. Take a food that he particularly likes, this can help him to approach you so that you can get him back. Be aware that a panicked dog may have difficulty returning to his owner. So if you see him, keep calm and call him gently while throwing him some treats to reassure him. Also, don’t hesitate to put a cloth or a stuffed animal that your dog knows at the place where you lost him with some kibble and water. By seeing these markers, your dog may be able to stay in the area and you’ll probably be able to find him more easily in the hours that follow.
I LOST MY DOG, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
ANTICIPATE THE NEXT TIME IF YOU HAVE FOUND YOUR DOG
You’ve successfully found your dog and that’s wonderful news. Now here are some tips to avoid another bad experience.
Lanyard him in “risky” areas. If your dog has run away in the middle of the forest in the middle of a multitude of game scents, keep him on a 5 or 10 meter tether to prevent the little pug from going on an adventure. This may be temporary on your walk, but don’t hesitate to have the reflex to reattach your dog if you see that he starts to track the ground more intensely than usual.
Get a GPS collar. This small purchase can be very useful and will prevent you from panicking if your dog has a tendency to explore a little too far, and a little too long. There are different types on the market today, but on average, you should pay about 30 euros for the collar and about 100 euros per year for the subscription to know where your dog is (about 10 euros per month). This can give you more peace of mind.
Reinforce the educational basics of recall and connection between you and your dog. Reward him for every good behavior: when he turns to look at you, when he comes back to you naturally without any request from you, and every time you call him back, even if he takes a long time to return, take a deep breath and praise him. The goal is that he pays attention to you outside.
I LOST MY DOG, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
YOU STILL HAVEN’T FOUND YOUR DOG
Even if it’s been several days, the most important thing, even if it’s difficult, is not to lose hope and to continue to spread your ads daily.
Our last piece of advice is to be vigilant against malicious people who may try to get money from people who have lost their dog.
The risk, by spreading your ad widely, is that some people will contact you and tell you that they have found your dog but that they cannot send you any proof without a monetary exchange. This can be justified by veterinary or customs fees (which are false of course!). Even if it can be tempting because you regain hope, don’t give in and contact the gendarmerie and I-cad immediately in order to clarify this situation.
Unfortunately, there are many people who use the misfortune of others to make money and it would be sad if you were one of them.
We see animals being re-homed even after months or even years. So, even if it is a difficult event, do not lose hope.