What to do if your dog is missing?

General discussion on all labradoodle-related matters - anything not otherwise covered by specific forums on the site.
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What to do if your dog is missing?

Post by MrsAdmin » 20 Jun 2010, 01:19

Following on from Marsi's problem of Charlie going walkabout, I thought, what would any member do if they posted for help and no-one was on-line? I'm going to ask Mark if this thread can become a permanent sticky on the top of General Discussion and pull together all the suggestions that came up on what to do if you have a missing dog so it is a permanent resource to refer to in moments of panic.

Please add any point you know of or think might help.

Preventive Measures first
Microchip your dog ASAP and get the vet to check the chip is working each year when you go for booster updates. Check the PetLog registration is kept up-to-date with all your details.

Get a collar and dog tag with your surname, address, postcode and phone number on. Put your mobile number on as you might be out searching if he went missing.

Make the collar with the tag on part of the routine for putting on a lead every time they leave the house. I do not leave collars on my dogs in the home for safety reasons but they are always fixed to their leads. Check the collar has not stretched and can slip over the dog's head. If so tighten it up or hole punch another notch.

Make sure all your gates have locks as well as catches and you have secure boundaries to your property.

Put your vet, dog warden and PetLog numbers into your mobile phone and take your mobile on walks with you, especially to strange areas.

Keep up to date photos of your dog so you can print them off and give them out, check kennels with them and use them on posters. Take photos of any distinctive markings or scars to prove it is your dog.

What to do if your dog goes missing

Don't panic.

Contact Dog Lost and Pet Log immediately.
They will help you and give you good info on what to do.



Contact the Police
Dogs aren't the responsibility of the police now but the local Council. Register your dog is lost with the police though as well in case they get a phone call about him.

Contact your local council Dog Warden
Phone your local Council dog warden and report him lost. Go to their kennels and take a photo of your dog with you. Many dogs get handed in but don't get matched to the descriptions taken over the phone from their distraught owners. Ask to see every run to check the dog is really not there under another description. Don't just take the harrassed assistant's word for it but say, politely, that you really want to see he is not there. Keep checking in with the dog warden and the kennels in case someone keeps him overnight and then takes him to the dog warden tomorrow.

Stay in the same place
Or if you have to go, leave a piece of clothing with your scent on it

Scent mark the spot
Collect some of your urine and scatter it as a reassuring calling card

Calling his name and making a noise he will recognise
Don’t shout your dog’s name anxiously, he won’t recognize the tone of your voice. Call as you would normally.

If he is whistle trained use your whistle around places he might go to. It will not convey the fear your voice will.

Use a favourite squeaky toy that your dog might respond to.

Get any other dog you have or any of your dog's doggy friends to bark loudly around the place he went missing. He might respond to their calls.

Keep the car motor running. He might recognise the engine sound.

Do not try to rush at your dog if you see him. He may be confused and frightened and run off again, especially if he has been away a while. Approach him cautiously, calling gently. Take some smelly dog treats, liver cake or dried liver or sprats with you to throw to him and lure him back. If he has been missing overnight take his bowl and breakfast and act very matter of fact about putting the bowl down. He will be hungry and might slip back into the normal routine of having breakfast, even if al fresco in the middle of the street.

Stay local
Your dog might return home so put a flyer and note through all the neighbours doors, both front and back of you and all down your street. Explain you are searching and that if they see him please phone you and try to encourage him to come to them with food.

Search in a triangular area. Dogs tend to go from A to B to C when they are lost.

Don't delay or sit and wait for his return
It will be exhausting but try to keep looking for as long as you can, particularly overnight. You want to make the most of your dog being in a small area before he starts travelling to find you.

If you have young children try to get a family member or neighbour to give them meals and put them to bed and stay with them whilst you hunt for your dog.

Sounds travel further at night so there is a better chance of him responding to your calls when all is quiet. If he is alone at night he might bark or cry and you can hear him more clearly.

Alert the canine community immediately
Dog wardens in all surrounding Councils in case he's strayed over their boundaries, all vets within a five mile radius, even if you have never used them before, dog walkers, both local people with their own dogs and professional dog walking firms in the local area, animal rescue centres, and fellow owners (via an organization like http://www.doglost.co.uk) and local people generally via any community web sites or notice boards.

Launch a poster and flyer blitz
Put a photo of your dog on. State that he is neutered and chipped and where lost and when. DO NOT SAY he is a Labradoodle. You do not want anyone to go looking for him to sell him on. Say he is a mongrel or cross breed instead. Include your mobile phone number and specify a reward.

If you have a laser printer use that to print the posters so the inks don't run. If getting photocopied specify laser copying for the same reason. Laminate the posters or put in a plastic wallet so they don't get wet. Hole punch some corners so you can tie them easily onto fences and railings. Take pins and string with you to fix posters up.

Put posters at garages, ATM’s, supermarkets, stations, postal sorting offices, in ice cream vans, at scrapyards and in rough pubs (where dogs get traded). Expect the odd crank call.

Put posters up at all vets in the area and all around where he gets walked. Animal charity shops are a good place as they will be looked at by walkers who will keep their eyes open. Any local shops in the local area, especially pet shops.

Put a flyer in your car and ask anyone you know to put them in their cars too.

Give flyers to the sorting office at your local post depot and ask they are given out to all posties in your area and up to a 10 miles radius. They are out early and might see your dog and report it back. Do the same with milkmen too. Make sure all community volunteer policemen local to you also have a flyer with a photo. Leave flyers with all local newspaper shops to be given to all their delivery boys and girls. They might spot your dog whilst doing their rounds.

Contact the media
Get flyers and posters to your local radio stations, both commercial and BBC. Ask that they feature your dog on any community programmes. Is there any interesting or touching story about your dog that might interest them? If they do a feature try to say he is a mongrel rather than a Labradoodle. You don't want to alert thieves that he is lost and could be stolen. Ask friends to respond to phone-ins and mention your dog on them.

Get friends and neighbours to post on Facebook and Twitter. They might have other friends in the area who will keep an eye out for him.

Contact your insurance
Some insurance policies will advertise if a dog is lost or stolen. Let them know if he is missing for longer than a few hours.

Take the long-term view
Never give up hope. It is unlikely that your dog has been stolen, however, if the worse has happened, dog thieves rarely take a dog more than 30 miles from where they stole him. Dogs are sometimes returned after one, or even two years if they are microchipped.

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Re: What to do if your dog is missing?

Post by Clairejen » 20 Jun 2010, 08:23

That is a very comprehensive list, thanks for that. I also have a dog tag which says "read my microchip" on one side and "lire mon micropuce" on the other and my mobile number includes international dialling code.

I'd also suggest that before taking a dog on holiday you research the vets etc in the area you are going to in case the worst happens while there.
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Re: What to do if your dog is missing?

Post by KateW » 20 Jun 2010, 11:19

Well done, Cecilia :D This would be a good permanent thread......

I would just like to remind people that DogLost is a voluntary group of people and they welcome new volunteers. if you sign up you will receive information about any dogs missing in your area so you can help in the search



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Re: What to do if your dog is missing?

Post by Bid » 20 Jun 2010, 12:42

If you have another dog, it is worth seeing if they can find your missing dog. Daisy has found Poppy for me before now.
Beauty without vanity, strength without insolence, courage without ferocity, and all the virtues of man without his vices - Byron

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Re: What to do if your dog is missing?

Post by KateW » 20 Jun 2010, 14:31

Bid wrote:If you have another dog, it is worth seeing if they can find your missing dog. Daisy has found Poppy for me before now.
And sometimes your dog's dog friends can help :) We meet a spaniel on country walks regularly and Rufus was the first dog she encountered on her first walk. He is great with puppies and they have always got on well but this girl, now aged two, is quite a hunter, much worse than Rufus and a couple of times we have found the owner in tears, dog missing. It may have been a fluke but Rufus has twice found her and brought her back; I think she eats her prey under cover which obviously takes some time. At least Rufus always brings any trophies to show me.


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Re: What to do if your dog is missing?

Post by Dillondood » 20 Jun 2010, 16:13

Cracking post Cecilia - thank you :D

I would be beside myself if I lost one of my boys, and you have managed to organise my mind in the event it shoud happen 8)
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Re: What to do if your dog is missing?

Post by eileenandmolly » 20 Jun 2010, 19:39

Many thanks for this, Mrs Admin. Molly and Saffie have never (so far!) been out of sight for more than a minute or so, and although Saffie has a strong hunting instinct, she has a stronger separation problem.

I have saved your guide as a word document and will put it in the girls' file :roll: I hope it will be made a sticky, but even so, computers/forums can go down, hence my belt and braces approach :wink:

Thanks again - really helpful :D

And Katherine - I didn't realise you could sign up to DogLost - will do that now too. Thanks :D
Ei, Molly and Saffie