A few weeks ago, my CPR alum dogs Jordyn & Maggie went missing. The morning started off like any other, where I let them out to do their business after breakfast. I continued to get ready, realizing after some time it was oddly quiet. I went outside, called their names, and heard nothing. Walking around the yard, I realized they had both escaped our invisible fence and were gone. The panic began. What do I do next?
Luckily, within a few short hours I was reunited with my pups. It was an incredibly emotional time that I still feel anxiety over. Even to the most responsible of pet owners, there is a 1 in 3 chance your pet will be lost in their lifetime – a hole in the fence, an opened door, or a dropped leash. Those minutes and hours can feel like days, so I want to share with you some things I’ve learned. Who to contact & what to do first:
- Animal Control / Local Police – this should be your first call as anyone who sights your dog on the lose will likely call as well.
- Microchip – updating the status of your pet to “lost” will notify any shelter/vet who scans it.
- Posters – As outdated as it may seem, this is the most effective means of getting the word out locally. The brighter the poster, the better!
- Social Media – Share, share, share! Posting a picture of your pet with their last known location and your relevant contact info is incredibly important – you need as many sets of eyes on the lookout as possible. There are also many local groups whose pages are focused on lost & found dogs.
- Online Databases – check google for local & national lost dog registries
Beyond the traditional methods, there are also some really effective (and cool!) devices
on the market out there today that can make finding your pet again so much easier and
- I.D. Tags – never underestimate how critical it is to have your phone number on your dog’s collar! When they’re found, it’ll be the first thing anyone checks for. Only 1 in 10 pets are returned home without any I.D.
- Microchip – this inexpensive procedure implants a device under the skin between the shoulder blades of your dog. If your dog winds up at a shelter or vet, they will scan it and provide all your contact information (Your dog is 2.5x more likely to be returned home with a microchip.) Because Companion Pet Rescue knows how important this is, all our dogs come with a microchip! Oh, and June is National Microchipping Month!
- Bluetooth-based tracking device – Tile & Trackr are popular Bluetooth based tracking devices are very inexpensive. Attach to your dog’s collar and your phone can locate your lost dog, but only within a couple hundred feet.
- GPS-based tracking device – Pod3, Whistle and PawTracker are popular GPS-based tracking devices that are more expensive but have enhanced features. They require a monthly subscription because they use cellular data to allow you to track your dog’s real-time location anywhere in the world – no matter how far they may roam. They also feature health/activity tracking & geo-fencing alerts!
- Radio-based tracking device – These devices, like MarcoPolo & Findster Duo, use radio signals to communicate between a device you have and the device on your dog’s collar. They work in a few mile radius from each other and are perfect options for more rural locations with spotty cellular service, without any monthly fee.
While all this may seem overwhelming and a bit scary, a recent ASPCA study reports over 90% of lost dogs are eventually returned home! In the unfortunate event your pet becomes lost like mine did, I hope some of these suggestions will help your dog be found as quickly and safely as possible!