Every fur parent’s worst nightmare is losing their beloved dog who failed to find their way back home. At this point, you decide to run out and find your dog with whatever means necessary without having a plan. We know losing a pet is a scary experience but you need to be in your best self to start the search and get your pet home as soon as possible.
As scary as it seems, you have to be calm and composed when your dog gets lost. A recent study shows that 93% of lost dogs successfully return home to their owners. To be prepared, you need to know how to find a lost dog to increase the chances of bringing him back home.
To start with, the easiest way to find your dog would be if he/she had a real-time dog tracker or LED collar / vest.
Plan A Search Routine
You need to get a map of the last place your dog was seen and plot a search radius. The search radius will depend on your dog’s temperament, personality, and fitness. More active dogs will tend to reach farther places than less active dogs. Check the map carefully and determine places that your dog is potentially attracted to. Check for nearby parks, commercial centers, restaurants, etc. Look for any place that he would visit. If your dog loves to hide, look for potential hiding spots. This would allow you to narrow down your search and make your time more efficient.
Get a Search Team
The first step you have to do is alert nearby vets, shelters, and your neighbors about the search. Create fliers that will help people identify your dog if they spot him someplace nearby. And immediately call a lost dog search team to help you with the search. Mobilize the search party as soon as possible so you can search faster. You should also get help from your family and neighbors to sign up with the search party. You can ask help from people who are familiar with your dog because he is likely to respond or get attracted to a familiar scent or voice. Discuss your search radius with everyone and divide the search party to priority areas.
The biggest you probably have in a night search is darkness. Remember to bring a flashlight and give every search party a flashlight to aid your search. When dogs feel alone and lonely, they have a natural instinct to try to go home. They are most active during dusk and dawn, so it is not a bad idea to look for your pet at night. Distribute a strong flashlight so you can illuminate a larger area even in the dark.
Leave a Trail of Your Pet’s Favorites
Dogs react to familiar scents like their favorite food and favorite toys. If you’ve narrowed down your search radius, you can leave a trail of food, water, treats, favorite toys or favorite blanket that lead towards home. The scent trail will help your dog find his way home.
Circle Back to the Starting Point
The location where your dog was last seen is very important. You have to regularly check this point because he’ll try to go back to this place. Be sure to leave a bowl of water and food in the area. Check if the food or water has been touched; because if it is, then that is most likely your dog circling the area.
Get Friendly Dogs To Help
You should never underestimate the power of “pack bond”. Dogs are pack animals. They love being a part of a group and having a pack to do stuff with. Your dog is likely to respond to his furry friend’s smell and bark. Get help from another family dog if you have one.
If you don’t have another dog that knows your pet, get the help of professional bloodhounds. These are dogs specially trained for tracking and hunting. They’ll be able to lead you towards a trail that you dog went through.
Don’t Chase or Run Towards Your Dog
The most important thing to remember is to never chase or run towards your dog if he is found. Everyone in your search party should know about this rule. A lost dog is in distress and anxiety. Even if he knows you, he might end up running if you start to chase him. He might get scared seeing a human running towards him. When anyone from your search party spots your dog, the best thing to do is call his name calmly and offer him food or treats. Wait for your dog to respond and approach you on his own. You will make him comfortable by doing these simple actions.