Jack Russell sitting on welcome home mat
Jack Russell sitting on welcome home mat
Jack Russell sitting on welcome home mat

How to Find a Lost Dog


One of the most worrying things that can happen to a dog owner is losing their dog. If this happens, it is important that you do not panic. We know how upsetting losing a dog can be, but you should keep a clear head. Follow the steps in this article to try and find your dog as soon as possible. Do not wait to begin the search.

In this article, we’ll talk you through how to find a lost dog and those people who can help.


How does it happen?

Dogs are such territorial animals that it can sometimes seem confusing as to how a dog could get lost. Cats, for instance, are known to wander. But why does a dog leave the comfort of their home and wander out alone?

The simple answer is that often they do not know better. If your garden gate is open or there is a hole in your fence, your dog may simply choose to explore a little before realising that they cannot find their way back. In other cases, something may have scared your dog, causing them to bolt. Once they calm down, they realise they cannot find their way back.

When considering how to find a lost dog, it is important to remember here that lost dogs become very scared. Their environments are new, the dangers are unknown and they may feel overwhelmed with their situation. This makes it difficult for them to find their way back home.


What actions can you take?

Here are some actions that you can take to begin the search for your dog.

  • Spread the word: By this, we mean talk to your neighbours and ask them to spread the word that your dog is missing. If you start looking for your dog soon after they have left, it is likely that they will not have gotten very far from the neighbourhood. Word of mouth helps in identifying your dog and having them returned to you. You will be surprised how fast news can spread.

  • Use social media: If you are wondering about how to find a lost dog, social media is an extremely powerful tool. You should use it to the maximum. Try and post about your dog with an accompanying picture, so that people can recognise your pet. If on Twitter or Facebook, ask your friends to spread the word. Also try posting on the Facebook pages of local clinics or nearby animal rescue centres, or tweeting to them directly; it will help gather attention.

  • Make posters: Posters should include information about how you can be contacted and should include a picture of your dog. If possible, offer a reward, as that would get more responses.

  • Check with your local authorities: Councils are usually responsible for the lost dogs in the city. Usually, if someone finds a stray or lost dog on the street, they are legally required to contact the local authority immediately. This means that if your dog is found, they will have information about it. One of the most important steps of how to find a lost dog is to contact your local authority. Do make sure you check often and send over a picture of your dog! A picture goes a long way in helping.

  • Check the animal rescue centre: The local authority will inform the animal rescue centre in your area about missing dogs, and they often try and match descriptions to reunite dogs with their owners. Sometimes, however, a description may not be accurate enough or someone may just misjudge the similarities. Do try and check animal rescue centres in person; it will increase the chances of you finding your dog.

  • Check with the local vets: While it is upsetting to imagine, your dog may have been injured during the time they were lost. There is a chance that someone picked them up and took them to the vet. Your dog may be found there. Call up the local vet clinics and see if someone brought in a dog that matches the description you have.

  • Be available: Above all, it is important to be available during the time that your dog is missing. This is the most effective response to how to find a lost dog. The sooner you begin your search, the sooner you find your dog. Chasing the trail while it is still hot is very important. Also make sure that every number you have put out on social media or on posters is manned all the time. Be available to pick up calls and chase down leads. You never know where your dog may have gone.


Who else can help?

We understand that losing your dog can feel very emotional and overwhelming. If you are feeling lost yourself about your missing dog and are looking for guidance, get in touch with agencies in the UK that are dedicated to reuniting dogs with their owners.

DogLost UK is the UK’s largest lost and found dog service. Animal Search UK is similar to a pet detective agency and is also dedicated to finding your lost pets across the country. They should be able to offer help and support, which is often valuable in times like these. You can also check the national pet register to see if your dog has been mentioned since it went missing. If your dog is microchipped or is wearing a collar, the chances of them being returned are higher, so make sure you cover these essentials for all of your pets.

Finally, do not panic. It is stressful and emotionally upsetting to have lost your dog, but the best thing you can do is to search as widely as possible.