Having a missing dog can be a very difficult experience, but it happens to even the most careful owners. The fact is, itís not possible to supervise your dog at all times, and dogs are curious and like to explore. For example, itís easy enough for your dog to slip out a door that has been accidentally left open, or to slip through a hole in your backyard fence. At some point in your dogís life he may be lost so itís important that you are prepared and have done what you can to make it very easy for him to be returned to you.
One of the first steps you should take is to make sure your dog has identification tags and that they are easy to read with up-to-date information. If your dog wasnít microchipped or tattooed as a puppy you may want to consider doing this now. Tattoos or microchips are permanent forms of identification ó unlike tags that can be lost. However, tags are what most people look for immediately upon finding a lost dog. Therefore, the most effective identification for your dog is a tag AND either a microchip or tattoo.
You should also have a "lost dog" kit ready just in case your dog goes missing. The kit should include photocopies of a recent picture of your dog and a description of him, along with your current contact information.
Keep your dog leashed when he is outside. Check the fence in your yard regularly to make sure there are not areas where your dog could slip through. If you have houseguests visiting remind them to be aware of open doors and windows that might prove dangerous invitations to your dog.
Steps to take when your dog is missing
It's possible for your dog to go missing even with precautions. If this happens be proactive. Spread the word.
- Search the area and ask everyone you see if they have seen your dog.
- Hand out photocopies of a recent photograph of your dog with your contact information.
- Contact animal shelters and file a lost pet report. Your description of your dog should include sex, age, weight, breed, color and any special markings. Unfortunately, animal shelters are often very busy so it's important to follow up with them daily and not wait for them to contact you.
- Post signs with your dogís description and a number that you can be reached at in neighborhood grocery stores, post offices and other busy locations.
- Place a newspaper or radio advertisement.
Most people who find lost dogs are happy to help reunite the dog with their owner. If the person is asking for a reward you may want to ask them a question about your dog's description or information on his tags that you haven't included in your signs or ads, just to ensure the person is legitimate. If you think your dog was stolen contact the police.
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