Sadly, lots of dogs go missing each day.  Some have run off because of a scare, some are allowed to stray regularly and one day go too far, some are stolen, or found and kept.   In our experience, most of the dogs in stray pounds aren’t claimed as they were never really wanted, or lost “on purpose”.

Finding your lost dog isn’t easy, but many are reunited, sometimes years later thanks to microchips.  Here’s our advice if your dog is lost.

You have read this advice a thousand times.  Get your dog or cat chipped and keep the details up to date.  We’ve run stray pounds and too many have out of date info.  Lost dogs can wander a long way, stolen dogs can be dumped anywhere in the country.  Just looking round your locality isn’t enough.

Make sure you have good, clear photos of your dog.  Head close up, side on body, record any scars, marks etc.  Keep a note of your chip number.  By law a dog should wear a tag with the owners name and address on it too.

If your dog goes missing, act quickly.  Unfortunately, most councils do not have out of hours or weekend cover.  If your dog is found by someone out of hours, they may not want to keep it until a dog warden can collect and simply turn it loose again.
 The police no longer have responsibility for strays, they will NOT take them from the public.  The RSPCA is not responsible for strays either.  Each council sets up a contract with a specific kennels where they pay for 7 days care.  This is the ONLY place strays can legally go to, not to the nearest rescue or boarding kennels.  A finder can be given permission by the council to hang onto a found dog for 28 days and then keep it.  Occasionally these kennels are a long way from the area they take from.

  • Contact the council immediately.  Even if there isn’t a dog warden cover, some have an emergency line for you to report the loss.
  • Call local radio and papers, some will mention lost pets for free.
  • Record carefully where the dog was lost, the time and if you are on a walk, tell the other dog walkers around you what has happened.
  • Contact vets in case your dog was found injured.  Also contact RSPCA for same reason, in case someone found your dog and it was hurt.
  • Speak to the council also in case your pet was sadly found dead at the roadside.  We’ve seen many cases of dead dogs and cats collected by refuse staff and not scanned for a chip.
  • Put up posters, do NOT put the pets name, this makes it easy for thieves. Don’t put your address, use a mobile phone number. Some pathetic people take great delight in tormenting you, saying they have your dog or cat and they will bring it to you.
  • Report the loss to your chip or tattoo company immediately.  Anyone finding your pet can find that they can change the owners details surprisingly easily if it isn’t reported as lost.
  • Report a lost dog to the Police as lost property.  The Police make this very difficult and give you the “we don’t do strays any more, ring the council” crap.  This is untrue.  Whilst they no longer take the dogs, they HAVE to take a lost dog report.  I’ve done this personally many times and always had to insist the switchboard put me through to a station.
  • If someone tells you they have your dog and want a ransom/reward, please tell the police.  A lot of these are opportunists and don’t have your pet.  Stay calm, get as much info as you can.
  • Visit the pound every day.  There are dozens of cases of dogs sold on and put down despite a chip, despite a lost dog report.  Sometimes your description and that of the Warden and kennels are very different.  Don’t rely on a “have you found my dog” call, Go and look.  Chips can occasionally fail, they should be rescanned regularly.
  • If someone has kept your dog (occasionally some greedy person thinks they have got a free pedigree dog) then make it too hot to handle.  Papers, radio, posters and constant mentions have got many dogs back.  Posters in plenty of local vets in case someone takes it in to chip for themselves too.
If you find a dog, ring the council, Police, local vets and take a picture.  The Police do NOT have any responsibility for strays (since 2009) so don’t take it to a Police station.  Neither do the RSPCA.  Ring your council dog warden to collect it or take it to the kennels your council contracts with, not the nearest rescue kennels.  A vet, rescue, dog warden, some boarding kennels will have a scanner so can check for a chip so the dog can hopefully go straight home.
We recommend, for lost and found dogs that you register it on the Dog Lost site here  They will help you on a local basis with printable posters, search buddies, advice about leaving items, bait, using traps etc.

About Safepets UK

Expert Witness behaviourist assessing dogs for court, treating cats and dogs. Covering Midlands to London and other areas.

3 responses »

  1. […] is more information about lost dogs here Advertisement LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "0"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  2. Gabby Morgan says:

    Can you Help Me Find my Missing Dog He Goes By The Name If Moe . He Is Mostly White . With A Black Collar. Last Seen In Cleavland Hts . On May 4th 2013

    • safepets uk says:

      We are a UK site, it looks like you are in the US? You need to contact local shelters and veterinarians, post photos on trees, in stores, go to your usual dog walking places and ask people directly too.
      Good luck

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