The first 24 hours is a critical time when it comes to finding your pet. After that, the chance of you finding your dog drops dramatically. Give yourself the best possible chance by doing these things as soon as you realize your dog is missing.
#1 – Form a plan
Take a moment to organize whoever is readily available to immediately start searching for your pet. It helps to be organized and ensures you don’t miss something. Keeping a list like this handy will also help ensure you cover all your bases.
#2 – Sweep your neighborhood
If your dog just left your house, he may not be too far, immediately sweep your neighborhood, calling out your dog’s name. Be sure you bring something extra tasty, like steak, to get him to come to you if you are worried he won’t.
#3 – Tell neighbors
While out searching, tell everyone you meet you are looking for your dog. Show them a picture from your phone. Call all your neighbors that are in the vicinity so they can be on the look-out for your dog.
#4 – Alert the microchip company
If your pet has a chip, call the company to let them know your dog is missing. Make sure all your contact information is up to date at that point.
#5 – Create flyers
Create flyers to post everywhere! Make sure you have an up-to-date picture and put your contact information, description of pet, collar color, date missing and any useful information (like “needs meds,” or” scared, do not approach”). Don’t forget to put “reward” if you are offering one. Put them everywhere, which gives you another chance to sweep your neighborhood in case your dog turned back or was hiding earlier and you missed him. Pet FBI has a template you can use.
#6 – Stop by local vets
Go to the local vets with your flyer so if anyone brings him in, they know where he belongs. It will help them quickly find you in the event it’s an emergency situation and/or the microchip won’t read.
#7 – Visit animal control and shelters
Most shelters and animal controls will not tell you if they have a dog that matches your dog’s description over the phone. Instead drive there and leave some flyers. That way, if your dog comes through, they will know he has a home. Remember, shelters sometimes turn dogs away if they full; but if they have their flyer they can tell the person who found him to contact you.
#8 – Post on Facebook
Don’t forget how powerful social media is! Post your flyer on your page (don’t forget to put your location)! And ask people to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE! Contact local dog groups and ask them if they will post it on their Facebook page. Many states and cities even have their own Facebook pages just for lost dogs, search for those as well.
#9 – Post on Craigslist
Post your lost flyer on Craigslist in case someone is looking, but also look for “found” dogs. A lot of people post “founds” in the pets section of Craigslist, so check it daily.