Missing a pet? Don't panic.
Act Quickly. Don't give up. Perseverance will pay off and your pet will thank you! Enlist family, friends and neighbors to assist with the leg work. Each day a pet is missing, finding them becomes more difficult so starting your search as soon as possible is imperative.
If you’re reading this, you’re most likely experiencing the stress and fear that often comes with a lost furry family member. The tips you’re about to read can be helpful in guiding your lost loved one back home. Please remember every dog and every circumstance is different. You know your dog best.
These tips have helped in the past & Time is of the essence and fast action is required.
We hope these tips will lead you to a quick & happy reunion.
GATHER OR BUY THE FOLLOWING SUPPLIES
Distributing flyers and posting posters quickly after your dog is missing are two of the most effective things you can do to bring your pet home. We hope the below tips will help you create effective posters leading to a reunion.
Find a color picture of your dog. Be sure it’s clear and shows them in a way that would help someone quickly recognize your dog. We recommend avoiding having anything or anyone, other than your dog, in the picture. An example: It’s best NOT to have children’s faces or your home address in the picture. If needed, crop your picture to include your dog’s pic only. Make one 8x11 color copy of your dog’s picture, for each poster you will be making.
• Large bright/dayglo color poster boards. At least 22”x28” size. Each poster board will make 2 posters. If you want to make 20 posters, buy 10
Scissors to fold and cut each poster board in half
Clear mailing tape.
Clear 8x11 “sleeves” or sheet protectors
Black PERMANENT marker (Only permanent marker)
Staple gun and Staples
Heavy Duty Silver Duct tapt
CREATE YOUR POSTERS
TIPS WHEN YOUR DOG IS MISSING
• Immediately search your area thoroughly. Inside and outside. Double check closets, basements, favorite hiding spaces, etc. Are there holes, gully’s, garages, sheds, etc., where your dog could be hiding? Advise all close neighbors your dog is missing, they can help by keeping eyes open and spreading the word throughout the area.
• Put out food, water and your dog’s bed/blanket. Put out articles of your (Or, the person with the most contact with the dog) clothing with scent on it. Dirty clothing, not freshly laundered. Hang it from a nearby tree/clothes line/off the back of a deck or porch. The idea is to get all familiar scents out and let the breeze take the scent. If a dog is confused, scent can help lead them back.
• Always have your dog’s favorite “treats” with you, in case of sighting, to help lure him/her back to you.
• Advise everyone you are in contact with not to “chase” the dog. If your dog is friendly and will respond to a gentle voice and calm actions, advise everyone of that. If not, advise to call the contact number immediately on a sighting and do not chase. It’s helpful if they can keep your dog in sight, until you arrive.
• Post your dog on FLOL (For the Love of Louie) and Craigslist. Contact local Law enforcement, Veterinarians (Your dog’s vet AND all local vets). Contact your county’s Animal Control. You will need to register your lost dog with your local Animal Control. If you are on the border of a county, register your dog at all near you. To register, a few AC’s have the ability for you to register on line. If your AC does not offer this service, you will need to go to the AC to register your lost dog in person. Be sure to take pictures and/or a flyer with all of your dog’s specific information.
• If your dog is micro chipped, contact the microchip company. Be sure all information on file with them is accurate. Phone numbers and addresses must be current. If your dog has a collar and tags, make note of it (Include color) on all flyers, posters and in social media postings.
• If your dog was recently adopted from a shelter or a rescue, contact them immediately and advise them the dog is lost. Provide all details. Sometimes, they will have contacts in your area that can help.
• Make Flyers and Posters. Large “posters” using ½ sheet of large, bright color poster board work best. Be sure they are posted at intersections and in the area where your dog was lost, post in a 2-4 mile radius. Posters help spread the word quickly, if your dog has travelled a short distance. Flyer your neighbors and neighborhoods in close proximity. Flyers cannot legally be placed inside mailboxes. Fold and place them under the red flag on the right side of the mailbox.
• Recruit family and friends to help distribute flyers, put posters in place and search. Passing out flyers quickly is a big task and needs to be done quickly. Assign areas & keep a record of where flyers and posters are posted. More hands involved on this task, all the better!
Deliver flyers to the Post Office, local Law enforcement, Veterinarians, Schools (For the school bus drivers and for the school to share on their FB page/website, if they’re willing), Gas Stations and local businesses. Especially helpful can be “delivery” type businesses that have drivers (Pizza, Fast Food delivery, etc.) and will be eyes on the road and in the neighborhood. All of these are extra eyes that keep a look out for a lost dog and can be an incredible help!
Now that you’ve done a great job “Spreading the word” …… a few more tips:
• Continue to search the area your dog was lost in, while waiting for sighting calls to start coming in, from your flyers and posters.
• Visit your local Animal Control DAILY. Take a flyer with you every time and leave one, every time. Do a thorough walk through DAILY. Animal Control is a very busy place, it’s best to check for your dog in person with a walk through and not via phone.
• Be prepared to respond to all calls immediately. Keep your phone battery charged. Have paper and pen ready at all times. You will want to record sightings in order of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. to help determine the direction or area the dog is heading in, if on the move.
• If you have the phone technology, pull up Google maps of the area and start putting pins at the location of each sighting. This will help develop the pup’s travel pattern. If/when you receive calls, get as much information as possible:
Exact location of sighting. Time of sighting.
Roads and a street address, if possible, is critical.
Direction the dog was heading in.
The caller’s name and phone number.
• Have them describe the dog completely, to determine if this is your dog. If the caller can get a picture and text it to you, even better.
• Ask if the dog appeared to be injured or struggling in any way. Specifics such as limping on front/back, right/left paw, will possibly help with sighting calls later on, either to include or exclude them as probable sightings.
• If you are able to confirm the sighting: The time of sighting is critical. If immediate and it is a confirmed sighting, be sure to respond to the area immediately. Your familiar voice, scent and actions are critical.
• If much time has passed between the sighting and the caller contacting you, advise them to keep eyes open and to help spread the word.
• If that area does not yet have flyers or posters, they will be needed.
• Post updates on FB, FLOL on confirmed sightings. This will help others to keep current on locations of sightings and spreading the word.
IF YOUR DOG IS SEEN:
Sometimes your dog may not respond to you right away, possibly thinking they’re in trouble, or if they’ve been lost a few days, they may be frightened and in survival mode. Try gently coaxing in your normal voice, using familiar calling words and tones. If your dog does not come to you, but also, does not run away… try the following:
• Stand still or crouch down to the ground or sit down on the ground.
• Do not yell or get excited. Gently call your dog. If your dog seems frightened, do not make direct eye contact by turning your head slightly downward, but try to keep a visual on your dog.
• Gently offer treats, Hot Dogs, whatever food motivates your dog. Foods with a strong smell, such as Fried Chicken or canned meat (Be sure there are no bones that the dog can choke on. Boneless chicken or pieces torn off that are “bite size” are best), can help lure the dog in. If necessary, gently toss them out in your dog’s direction, to draw them in. Pretend you are eating, without direct eye contact. If your dog is hungry, they may show interest.
• If your dog tries to engage in gently play, participate, but do not make a running game.
• If your dog runs away, do not chase. They may run a few hundred feet, but will most likely try to keep you in their sight.
• Sometimes, if you start walking away, your dog may follow. Try to keep a visual on your dog at all times.
• Of course, all of this depends on your personal relationship with your dog, you know their behavior best.
These are tips that have been used in the past with some success and with both familiar and unfamiliar dogs.
If your dog does not respond to you, don’t give up, it may take several tries to get your dog to come to you.
If you have multiple sightings and your dog is staying close to one area, but you cannot get them to come to you, it may require different steps, such as a live trap situation.
That is a more involved step that requires conversation on how to handle. Please feel free to private message us on the LDST FB page and we will be happy to share additional tips.
Once your dog is found, be sure to update all social media sites, Law enforcement, Schools, Vets offices, Businesses, etc. that were given flyers. They appreciate knowing your dog has been found.
All posters will need to be removed as well. This is why it is important to keep a “map” or log of locations for posters. Makes for easier removal!
"Lost Dog" POSTER TIPS
Write “LOST DOG” in large print at the top of each poster board.
Place the picture of your dog in the sleeve/sheet protector. Place the picture directly under the “Lost Dog” wording with the sleeve/sheet protector opening facing down & at the bottom of the picture. The reason for this is that if it rains, the sleeve/sheet protector will not fill with water, protecting your picture. Using the clear heavy duty mailing tape, tape all 4 sides to seal it to the poster board.
Write “Do Not Chase”, below your dogs’ picture.
In large print write your contact phone number (Include Area Code) under your dog’s name. Best to have 2 contact phone numbers that will accept calls on sightings 24/7.
Seal all sides of the poster board with clear mailing tape. This will help to extend the life of your poster in rain or snow.
Now that you have created an effective poster to help spread the word on your missing dog, it’s time to start posting and getting the word out. Flyer distribution and Poster posting quickly is critical. Be sure to recruit the help of family & friends to help, all extra hands are a tremendous help!
Put a sign in your front yard so it can be seen easily by passers-by.
Print a map of the area where your dog went missing, that covers a 2-4 mile radius. Secure poster signs at all intersections within the 2-4 mile radius.
If there is a wood telephone or electrical pole at the intersection, using caution, secure the poster (at eye level for a vehicle driver passing by) with a staple gun.
Staple all corners and additional staples through the poster, to be sure it stays secure, in windy conditions. If there are only metal poles at intersections, secure to the pole (again, at vehicle driver eye level. Tip: Posters placed at eye level and at stop signs and/or stop lights get most visibility as drivers/passengers wait for the light to change.
Record location of each poster put in place. After your dog is found, you will want to remove the posters.
After each sighting, if no posters are in the area of the reported sighting, be sure more posters are put up to help spread the word in that area. This will increase the possibility of more sightings.
Last, but not least, before posting any posters on private property, be sure to secure permission from the property owner. Review city & county guidelines on signing ordinances before posting posters.
If for any reason, there are ordinances that prevent you from posting on public City/Village/Township property, you can try knocking on doors and asking private citizens if they would be willing to post on their private property.
You could then post on yard signs (Much like Garage sale signing or political yard signs) or on their fence. Some private citizens have allowed posting on trees in their front yard.
Metal frames and wood stakes for this purpose can generally be purchased at your local hardware store. Always use bright color poster board for your sign and write clearly enough for all to be seen from passers-by.
The goal is to spread the word far and wide in the area your dog was lost and last sighted. Getting calls for a “sighting” is a major step in bringing your dog home.
Remove all posters when your pet has been reunited.
PREVENTION IS KEY. TO PREVENT ANY FUTURE ESCAPES, be sure to do the following:
1. Make sure your pet is always wearing identification. A collar with your phone number is the fast way to reunification. Have a skittish pup? Get a bright WIDE collar and embroider your phone number LARGE so that it may be read from a distance. A microchip is an inexpensive way to make sure they are carrying ID no matter what.
2. Make sure doors and latches are locked and secure. Never leave dogs outside unattended. Regularly inspect fences and kennels and repair immediately if needed.
3. Ensure Collars are fitted correctly. They should be tight but allow you to slip two fingers under it. Adjust regularly and accordingly as your dog grows. Invest in a Martingale Collar. They prevent dogs from slipping out of their collar.
4. Have a solid recall trained and practice regularly. There are many wonderful trainers on our resource page for assistance.