Do You Know What To Do If Your Dog Gets Lost?
Updated: Oct 8
In honor of National Lost Dog Awareness Day (April 23rd) here are some tips to help reunite you and your dog. Most of these helpful tips also pertains to reuniting other pets and their owners.
Who should you contact?
-Animal Control in your area
-Your local shelters and rescues
-Non emergency police number
-Your vet and any other local vets
-Post to your social media-Facebook, Instagram, Nexdoor, etc
Facebook tip: post to your profile first and make the post public. Share that post to your local lost pet pages and township pages. This will make it easier for you to post updates by only having to update one post.
-Post to lost pet websites (such as PawBoost)
-Hang a flyer at local pet stores and stores with community boards
-If your dog is microchipped contact their chip company
-Give your mail carrier a flyer in case they spot your dog on their route.
-Make neighbors aware
Your Lost Dog Flyer Should Include...
-Lost Dog in large clear bold font at the top
-Clear photo of only your dog (no humans or other pets)
-Location (road, intersection, landmark) where they went missing
-Any other important information (medication needed, skittish, leash attached, etc)
Keep in mind that the font should be seeable from your car and that people should be able to get enough information from your poster as they drive down the road. It is best to put flyers at busy intersections near traffic lights or stop signs. Flyers should be in plastic sheet protectors with the opening at the bottom taped shut or laminated to help keep the flyers weather proof. Exclude from your poster one description detail that you can ask the finder to make sure it is your dog (ie: specific marking, collar pattern, etc). When reunited make sure you take down all of the flyers/posters/signs. This will allow space for someone else's missing pet flyer. Experts advise against advertising a reward for the return of your dog. If you choose to advertise an reward, do not advertise the amount. This ensures that the people have your dog's best interest at heart.
-Start your search at your dog's last known location. Dogs typically travel 1-3 miles from their lost point within the first 24 hours. Walk the neighborhood and talk to anyone you see about sightings. Expand your search area as time passes. Search when your neighborhood is quiet (early morning, late at night).
-Use large eye catching neon colored yard signs. They should be place near where your dog went missing and in your yard (if the pet went missing at/near your location).
-Physically go to the shelters to look for your dog. Do not assume that they will contact you if your pet is brought in. Sadly, people bring pets to out of district shelters trying to avoid kill shelters. This makes it harder for pets to get reunited.
-Place game cameras where your dog has been spotted. Use a feeding station to help keep them in that area. When sightings become consistent, a trap may be helpful.
-If you see your dog, avoid eye contact and avoid talking to your dog. Instead use claiming signals or sing to your dog. Sit on the ground and make believe you are eating something. Use of a treat bag or chip bag may be helpful since most dogs associate the crinkle sound with treats.
-Some have luck with grilling bacon or other meat at a frequent location.
-Check with local take out restaurants to see if they will help by including your flyer (that you provide of course) with all take out orders.
-If around Halloween time, make stickers with your pet's info and your info to put on the candy you are passing out.
-Tagging your car with florescent window paint is another great option to spread the word.
-Place ads in your neighborhood newsletter and/or magazine.
-If your pet has been missing a while, create a Facebook page dedicated to updating the public on your missing pet. This will also allow you to boost (pay for advertising) your post to reach more people.
-Be aware of scams and never go alone.
-Use of a tracking team or pet detective may be helpful
-Never give up!
-Yell or talk to dog
-Make loud noises (whistle, clapping hands, patting leg, etc)
-Make direct eye contact
How to prevent losing your dog...
-Keep your dog’s tag up to date
-Microchip your dog and register it
-If your dog is skittish, attached your dog’s leash to a harness and attached another leash to their collar or use a slip leash.
-Contact a dog trainer to help teach a reliable recall
-Make sure your fence and gates are kept intact with no holes where the dog can get out
-Have a fence jumper? Use coyote rollers on your fence or hook your dog to long line.
-Have a digger? Make your fence go under ground to help prevent escaping.
-Have a door rusher? Use baby gate around doors along with putting the dog away or teaching a place command
Helpful Lost Pet Recourses:
Lost Cats New Jersey https://www.facebook.com/LostCatsNewJersey/
Lost & Found Pets of Camden & Gloucester County NJ https://www.facebook.com/groups/804962439580562/?ref=share
Lost Dogs New Jersey https://m.facebook.com/LostDogsNewJersey/
South Jersey Lost and Found Pets https://www.facebook.com/groups/572787992789649/?ref=share
Gloucester County NJ Lost/Found Pets https://www.facebook.com/groups/528990770546131/?ref=share
Lost and Found Pets in South Jersey https://www.facebook.com/groups/lostandfoundpetsinsj/?ref=share
Lost Dogs in New Jersey https://www.facebook.com/groups/LostDogsinNewJersey/?ref=share
New Jersey- Lost Dog, Cat & Pets https://www.facebook.com/LostPetsNewJersey/
South Jersey Craig’s List Lost+Found https://southjersey.craigslist.org/search/laf?
South Jersey Craig’s List Pets https://southjersey.craigslist.org/search/pet?
PawBoost Lost and Found Pets https://www.pawboost.com/
Pet Trackers/ Lost Pet Professionals in South NJ
Missing K-9 Search & Rescue https://www.facebook.com/Missing-K-9-Search-Rescue-570934056394129/
Hound hunters-NJ https://www.facebook.com/HoundHuntersNJ/
Buddha Dog Rescue & Recovery https://www.facebook.com/bdrescueandrecovery/
List of NJ Shelters by County (updated May 2019) https://www.nj.gov/health/vph/documents/shelters_and_impoundment_facilities_with_websites.pdf
Note: based on resources for Gloucester County, NJ
Kathlyn Lawrence of All Jazzed Up Pet Services LLC is a Certified Professional Trainer (CPT) with years of experience training dogs and working with animals. For more information on our Pet Services please visit our website.