How to search for your lost dog

Here are some steps to take if your dog has gone missing.

1) Start your search in their favourite hiding places:

  • Behind closed doors
  • Under beds
  • In cupboards and wardrobes
  • In sheds and garages


2) If there’s still no sign of them, gradually extend your search. Walk around the local area, ask your immediate neighbours, check local gardens or places where your dog likes to go.

3) If your dog went missing while out on a walk, think where you last saw them. Consider retracing your steps and ask people you meet along the way. Once you’ve confirmed that your dog is missing, act quickly.

4) Contact the microchip company. Tell them that your dog is missing, so they’re on the alert and can check your contact details are up to date.

5) Call your local vets. It’s a good idea to contact the vets in your area and any local pet rescue centres, as lost pets often get handed in there. The police no longer deal with stray pets, but the local council should have a dog warden where you can report your dog’s loss.

6) Hand out posters and leaflets. Adverts featuring a good colour photograph can be helpful to jog people’s memories and encourage them to keep their eyes open for your dog.

7) Get help online and from the media. The internet features numerous companies, charities, sites, Facebook pages and blogs showing pictures of lost pets and advice on how to find them. Look for those who are active locally. You could also advertise your search with local newspapers, radio stations and local shops.


More often than not, your dog will reappear within a couple of days, unaware of the fuss they’ve caused. Just make sure you update everyone who’s been helping in the search and remove any ‘missing’ posters that you’ve distributed locally.

Be prepared

It’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. And for many of us, it’s not until our furry friend goes missing for the first time that we realise just how big a part they play in our lives.

Although none of us want to imagine the worst happening, it’s a good idea to be prepared.

 

Put together a 'lost dog kit'

Another way you can prepare for searches is to make up a ‘lost dog kit’, which should contain:

  • Your dog's microchip number 
  • The Petlog database telephone number 
  • A list of local vets, animal shelters and council dog wardens
  • Some recent colour photographs of your dog


If your dog goes missing, you will have everything you need to start your search straight away.

 

Ensure your dog is microchipped

One simple but important step is to get your dog microchipped. It is now mandatory by law for all dog breeders or owners to have puppies microchipped by 8 weeks old.

Although this won’t prevent them from going missing, it greatly increases the chances of you being reunited during a search.

Five facts about microchips

1. About the size of a rice grain, a microchip is injected just under the skin by a vet or trained implanter.

2. Each microchip has a unique number that’s linked to its owner and their contact details.

3. When your pet is found and scanned by an organisation with a microchip scanner, you can then be contacted. That’s why it’s important you keep your contact details up to date, especially if you move house or change telephone numbers.

4. Microchips can also help you prove ownership should a dispute ever occur.


As well as installing a microchip, many owners also use a traditional collar identification tag with a name and number. But because it’s so easy for collar tags to be removed and lost, they should be used alongside a microchip, and never on their own.

RECOMMENDED GUIDES

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John Lewis Finance and John Lewis Insurance are trading names of John Lewis plc. The John Lewis Registered office address is: 171 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5NN. Registered in England and Wales no. 233462.

John Lewis plc is an appointed representative (Financial Conduct Authority number 416011) of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Pet Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323).

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