Ask others to assist in searching, posting and distributing flyers, and implementing as many strategies as possible to locate your dog.
Especially if your dog is a new addition to your family, immediately notify his previous guardian (prior owner, rescue organization or shelter, foster home, breeder, etc.) and request assistance. Do not be embarrassed or worried about this notification, as the dog’s recovery could be dependent on it.
Post BIG Flyers – large, visible, and un-cluttered
Posters can also be made through stores such as Staples.
Post SMALLER Flyers - visible and un-cluttered
Printable flyers can also be created on-line or at office supply stores (links below the following instructions)
Using a computer, create and print 8 1/2 x 11 inch vertical flyers. Put "Call if Seen" at the top on one line using the largest font possible. Next, add a color photograph of the dog and, under the photograph, put a contact number - use the largest font possible in one line of text. Put "REWARD!" beneath the contact number, also in the largest font possible. Insert flyers to be used outside into clear sleeves, as described above; this will prevent curling and protect them.
These flyers can be used to supplement the larger posters along roads, and can be:
*Alternatively, a specific flyer could be made for this purpose that requests that owners search areas of their property where a dog could possibly be hiding
Create a free lost dog flyer on-line or at office supply stores
Pet FBI - create a free, printable flyer
Lost My Doggie - the free services package includes a lost pet flyer generator.
Staples - flyers and/or posters can be printed and/or laminated at stores such as Staples.
Visit Area Animal Shelters
It is best to actually visit these facilities and, while the dog is lost, to do so every few days if possible. While there, provide them with some small flyers so that they will have a photograph of the dog, but ask to view the dogs at the facility, including those dogs in an infirmary or quarantined area. Don't count on a staff member to know if your dog is there, or to recognize the dog as yours.
Contact Breed Specific and Other Rescue Groups
The volunteers involved with these groups would likely be willing to spread the word regarding the missing dog, often learn about found dogs, and, if the dog were to enter into the care of their group, would know to notify you. Be sure to provide them with a photograph of the dog.
Use resources such as Petfinder's shelter search feature to locate shelters and rescue groups in the area of the lost dog
Visit Law Enforcement, Veterinarian, Grooming and Other Such Facilities
When there, leave small flyers and request that staff be made aware of the missing dog. At the dog-related facilities, discuss with them that the dog could be brought to their location as a "found" dog or as someone's "pet."
Do Not Chase
Being chased can result in a lost dog being harder to capture, and can cause the dog to run further away or into traffic. Therefore, it might be best to include instructions for potential rescuers to not chase your dog, but to call with a location and attempt to keep the dog in sight. In fact, lost dogs often revert to a fight or flight mode and do not recognize or respond even to their owners. The best approach is often to gain the dog’s attention (do not stare or look intently at the dog), and get down on the ground on your back, a position which can serve to draw the dog to you. Having treats with a strong aroma can be of assistance, but depending on the level the dog is functioning at, his sense of smell could be compromised. If there are other dogs in your home, consider taking them to search with you.
Entice the Dog to Stay In, or Come To, an Area
Water, food, items with the dog’s scent, items with worn clothing from a person closely bonded to the dog, and, if possible, some type of shelter should be placed in areas of sightings. These items can serve to motivate the dog to stay in an area and make reuniting with him easier. Grilling food on a BBQ can assist in luring a dog to an area.
Continue to canvas the area for the lost dog and solicit help from others in doing so
Check posters and flyers and replace when necessary
No Current Lost Dog?
If you are not currently searching for a lost dog, consider preparing materials and choosing any resources that you would use if your dog were ever to become lost. Of course, what you want to do is prevent the occurrence.
Post On, and Check, Lost and Found Pet Sites
Craigslist (post and search in the community section under pets and also under lost+found)
Poster, Email, Facebook, Phone, and Postcard Alerts (free and paid services)
PawBoost - input your lost pet's information and photograph and have a free, printable poster emailed to you. This poster can be emailed, for free, to shelters, veterinarians, and volunteers in your geographic area. With a paid option (three price points) called PawBoost Alert, your lost pet's information will appear in the Facebook newsfeeds of people in your local geographic area.
PetAmberAlert - choose from poster fax alerts and/or phone alerts - social media alerts are free with either option.
FindToto - phone and social media alerts
Lost My Doggie - a free lost pet flyer; free fax/email alerts to animal shelters and veterinarians; and paid phone and mail options.
Lost Pet Cards - postcard mailing alerts
If you utilize a phone alert service, request that the message ask people to search their property for the missing dog
If your lost dog is micro-chipped, notify the micro-chip registry company so that your dog can be listed in their lost dog database and alerts can be sent out - for instance, Home Again.
Pet Key - All micro-chip brands can be registered for free. Enter your dog's micro-chip number into the Pet Key database, report that the dog is lost, and an alert will be sent to shelters, veterinarians, and members within twenty-five miles of where the dog was last seen.
Radio and Television
Contact local radio and television stations and request that they assist in notifying the pubic about your missing dog; they will sometimes do this as a free service.
Place a lost dog ad in local newspapers and, if possible, include a photograph. Although generally not free, some newspapers will offer a discounted rate for lost dog ads. Also, read the found dog listings.
Write on Your Car with Window Markers
By using fluorescent window markers, you can use your car and cars belonging to friends to spread the word about the missing dog. Missing Pet Partnership recommends the NEOMarkers in a 1/2 inch broad tip and finds it best to use four colors to make it easier for viewers to read. In addition to writing on the back window of the car, attach a photograph of the dog (facing outward) to the inside of the back window, or place the photograph in a clear sleeve and tape it to the outside of the window.
If the dog has been sighted in an area, but is not approaching close enough to anyone to be "caught," consider using a humane trap such as HavAHart. To make it more likely that the dog will feel comfortable entering it, a towel or blanket can be put inside, and another can be draped over it. Use "smelly" food in the trap to attract the dog.
Pet detectives provide fee-based, professional services that generally utilize law-enforcement investigative techniques as well as dogs trained in scent trailing to locate missing dogs. These services can be located through internet searches, and there is a national directory of MAR (Missing Animal Response) certified technicians maintained by Missing Pet Partnership.
Dogs for Adoption or for Sale
Check listings for available dogs; your dog might be found by someone who misses your lost dog publicity and decides to rehome the dog, or surrenders the dog to a shelter/rescue group that is not aware of your lost dog.
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