How to Find Your Lost Dog?

You noticed of her or his absence. You walked around your house, in your neighborhood but couldn’t find it. You have been to the local animal shelter and registered your pet as missing. You have lost your dog.

It’s estimated that 78 million dogs and 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States. Approximately 44% of all households in the United States have a dog, and 35% have a cat (reference). The American Humane Association estimates over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. One in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.

If you have a tag on your dog’s collar with a current phone number on it, then you have made the job of your pet coming back to you much easier.

Why pets run away and where they often go?

Normally, pets run away from loneliness, to answer sexual urges if they have not been neutered, in response to sudden and unexpected events that frighten them, or simply out of curiosity if doors, windows or gates are left open, or if they are new to a home and are looking for their former surroundings.

How far they run is just a function of how far their legs will carry them. Big strong dogs, especially young ones, can run 5 miles or more. Small dogs may be able to go half a mile at most. Most dogs are recovered well within a two-mile circle of their home, especially because they normally will never run for an extended length in a straight line no matter how strong or fast they are.

If it is an outgoing dog, it will be looking for other dogs and for other humans who are friendly and likely to comfort, feed and shelter it. Neighbors’ yards and public parks are spots it will like. If it is a shy or older pet and not trusting of strangers, it will hide. Bushes and under cars are good spots.

More households do not have a pet but include someone who previously had a pet. Strong chance of positive response. More households again do not have a pet but have children, who will be eager to take in a lost pet. That is a lot of eyes and ears. That is a lot of strangers who are on the side of finding and helping your pet return home.

Where to start your search from?


Let’s draw a circle around the spot you lost your pet. Half a mile? A mile? Five miles? You decide.

Let’s think about the places in that circle where you pet would likely go to find company, comfort, and food. A school yard? A house where your pet sometimes gets treats or has a buddy it looks at during walks?

People who spend lots of time outside and are likely to see a lost dog. People who drive through your part of the world regularly as part of their work, who you don’t know and who don’t know you. Let’s contact all of them for your lost pet.

You need to make up big signs, colorful, eye-catching signs. You need to include the word Reward in big letters, to make everyone understand that this is really important to you. You have to include a photo of your pet. If you are in a bilingual community, put your sign in both languages. Make online posts too. The major search engines on the internet translate your text immediately and for free.

You want to put the signs where the most people who either live, work, or regularly travel through the circle will have a chance to slow down and see them. Major intersections controlled by traffic lights. Entry and exit to parks. Where all the school children get off the bus or are dropped off in the morning, so both parents and children can see them. Entry and exit to grocery stores. The local espresso bar.

Now you have added a thousand people to your search.

The person who took your dog to their vet in the next city. The child who saw a dog in the back of their yard. The new neighbor who didn’t know that was your animal. The truck driver who stopped on a route to pick up a lost dog, but couldn’t do anything about it until he had finished his delivery, 2 hours down the highway. They are out there looking with you.

Go home. Open the yellow pages. You need to mail your small version to the groomers, vets, kennels, animal hospitals, animal shelters and pet stores in the area at least double the size of your circle. Don’t be shy. While all of these places will notify the local animal shelter when a pet is found, you need to understand that animal shelters are under different city and county jurisdictions. They are, sadly, not unified. They do not share information. A pet store taking in a stray without a tag would have no way of knowing if that dog is 2 miles or 20 miles away from home. If they contact the animal shelter near them but far from you, your pet may be going to the wrong shelter in the wrong direction. Some shelters only hold a pet for 4 days, then give it out for adoption or destroy it. Maybe the pet store will solve the mystery correctly. Make it easy for them to get it right and help bring your pet home.

Now, get on the internet. Many shelters are online. They maintain lists of found pets. Check your city’s shelter and pet division too. Post a free Ad on LocoBiz Lost and Found Pets to give more online visibility to your rescue effort.

There are many rescue organizations which regularly publish current lists and digital photos of found pets at the shelters, as a way of helping them go home or be adopted.

You can run an ad in the local paper’s classified section for lost pets. Please be careful of the people who call you. You are vulnerable. There are people who use these ads to con and scam reward money for pets they do not have. Check the found ads as well.

You have posted your signs. You have mailed your flyers. You have visited the local shelters. You are checking the internet postings once every day. You are watching the classified found ads.



And now, it is time for you to wait patiently as you continue your normal life. Most people get the call that their pet has been found within a week.


Tags: #LostDog #LostMyDog #LocoBiz #LostCat #LostPet

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