So You Found A Lost Dog
Updated: Oct 8
The best case scenario, is that the dog you find has a collar with up to date tags for you to contact the owner. If not, taking the dog to get scanned for a chip would be the next step. The vet, the shelter or animal control usually offers this services for free. Not all scanners pick up all microchip brands. It might be best to get the dog scanned by multiple places. Microchips can migrate, so make sure they scan the whole dog. If you come up empty handed, here are some tips on what to do next. Most of these helpful tips also pertains to reuniting other pets and their owners.
Who should you contact?
-Animal Control in your area- By law you need to contact them to report a found pet. The pet will need to do a stray hold. Depending on your location, you may be able to complete the stray hold at your location instead of the dog being held at the shelter. Please do not lie about the location where you found the dog to prevent the dog from going to a kill shelter. This will make it harder for the owner to be found and to be reunited.
-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/found pet groups and township pages. This will make it easier for you to post updates by only having to update one post.
-Post to lost/found pet websites (such as PawBoost)
-Hang a flyer at local pet stores and stores with community boards
-Give your mail carrier a flyer in case they recognize the dog.
-Make neighbors aware
Your Found Dog Flyer Should Include...
-Found Dog in large clear bold font at the top
-Clear photo of the dog (no humans or other pets)
-Your phone number
-Location (road, intersection, landmark) where they were found
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. Typically dogs travel 1-3 miles from their lost point within the first 24 hours, so that is a good starting point. Expand your coverage over time. 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 owner to make sure it is their 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.
-Use large eye catching neon colored yard signs. They should be placed near where the dog was found.
-If driving down the road and you spot a dog on the road try opening your car door. Most dogs enjoy car rides and will hop right in.
-If you have only spotted the dog and do not have it physically, place game cameras where the dog has been spotted a long with a feeding station to help keep them in that area. When sightings become consistent, a trap may be helpful. Animal Control should be able to help with trapping.
-If the dog has been out for a while, it will be in a feral state. Avoid eye contact and avoid talking to the dog. You should contact animal control for assistance.
-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. This will usually make the dog curious enough to get close to you to slip a leash over it's head.
-If around Halloween time, make stickers with the 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.
-Never go alone.
-Always ask for proof of ownership to make sure they are the owners and aren't flippers or looking for easy bait.
-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.
-Keep your dog on leash
-Contact a dog trainer to help teach a reliable recall
-Make sure your fence and gates are kept intact
-Make sure there are no holes where the dog can get out
-Have a fence jumper? Put coyote rollers on your fence.
-Have a digger? Make your fence go under ground to help prevent escaping.
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/
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.