If you are a dog owner, you may have experienced that gut wrenching feeling you get when you realize your pooch is no longer at your side.  It can happen to the best trained dogs, and the chances are it may happen a few times in their lives with you. 

It doesn’t take much, maybe a bad thunderstorm or some other fear has made him bolt, which is a natural thing for a dog to do if he feels danger.  But sometimes they bolt and hide and don’t want to even answer your frantic calls.  I have been here before 

lost dogCredit: morguefile.com

and it is a very scary time.  Your brain wanders to the worst case scenarios, and you realize

 just how much a part of the family they really are.

There are 4 steps you should do right away once you realize your dog is missing.

1. Stay in the Spot Where He Left You

If you were out for a walk with your dog on his leash or even off his leash and something scared him, whether it was another more aggressive pooch or a clap of thunder or fireworks, and you chased after him, but he got away, go to the spot where he left you and stay there for 10-15 minutes calling his name without panic in your voice.  Many pooches will simply walk back to the last place they were with you once they feel the danger has passed. 

If someone else is at home, phone them to see if he has returned home on his own

2. Check All Hiding Spots

If he bolted while at home, and you know he went out the front door, then check the yard carefully with a flashlight.  Pets will find the tiniest corners to hide in, and if they are terrified they won’t even answer to your calls.  So check under the porch or the car orlost dogCredit: morguefile.com the shed, or even behind the shrubs (I found my pooch there once after a thunderstorm).   It is amazing how small they can make themselves to get into these tiny spots.  It makes them feel safer being in a cave like tight spot.    Make sure you have a good flashlight especially for the nighttime, but even during the day it can be much easier to see them if they have hidden.

3. Enlarge the Search Circle and Inform Neighbours

If you have combed your own property then knock on the neighbours doors and ask if you can check their yard.  If you were out for a walk, and he bolted and never came back to your location where you waited, then get your car and take a passenger to help you slowly drive through the neighbourhoods.  It is much better with a passenger so you can concentrate on driving.

4. Report to Local Animal Shelter

If you have combed your property and the neighbourhood, and still no pooch, it is also possible that someone took him in to give him shelter.  After a good search report him missing to the local animal shelter.  If someone else has found him, chances are they will call it in.

It is at this point, you will be trying to remember what identification he has on his collar.  Chances are you may not have added anything other than his town tag or his rabies shot tag.  This could be called by anyone who finds him, but if it is after hours, you will not know until next day.

lost dogCredit: amazon.com

Personalized Tags

My personal experience with my dog Sasha running off, was getting a personalized tag.  I had just got one a few days before when purchasing some pet supplies.  I saw these metal tags that could be engraved and decided to get one for Sasha and my cat Muffin.

As soon as Sasha ran off after a clap of thunder (she was outside lying in the grass watching us do yard work) we did a quick search, and before we even got to the point of enlarging the search area, I went inside to look for my flashlight and the phone rang.  I was about to ignore it but something told me to answer it, and it was a commercial building a street over.  They had found my dog trying to get in behind the large shed in parking lot.  They saw she was friendly and had tags and he called the number right away.

These tags are the cheapest and easiest way to find a lost dog.  They can call right away.  You could put all your numbers on including your cell phone so they can call you while you are out searching. 

Don’t just rely on the town tag to find your lost pet or it might not be until the next business day.

lost petsCredit: amazon.com

Embroidered Pet Collars

If your pooch doesn’t wear a collar with tags, or maybe it is your cat you worry about, you can get these personalized collars that don’t rely on tags for information.  If anyone finds your pet, they can call you right away.  

Lost DogCredit: amazon.com

Bright Collar Light

This is a clip on light that can be used for anything, but is especially useful if you walk your pets at night.  You can clip them to the leash or yourself, but one great place is on their collar.  Have them turned on whenever you are outside, and this will also act as a beacon for a lost dog.  The light is very bright, and if he runs off you should be able to see the light running!

lost dogCredit: amazon.com

Blue Tooth Pet Tracker

If you have ever had problems with your pets running away, or even if you just move and they are confused to the new area, these trackers are like GPS for your pooch.  As long as he has it on his collar, you can track him down.

Lost DogCredit: amazon.com
Platinum Pets The Original Smartphone Dog ID Tag with GPS, Medium, Blue
Amazon Price: $15.54 $9.90 Buy Now
(price as of Dec 14, 2015)

Smartphone Dog ID

This is a cool tag that can be scanned with a Smartphone or a QR code reader.  If someone finds your lost pet, they can scan the tag with their phone and all the information you have on file will show up.  They can then call you, but you will also get notified if someone scans their tag and a GPS map as to where the scan took place.  You can even include a reward in the file.  

Losing a Dog

This can cause heartbreak for the entire family, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory such as on holiday, or visiting relatives.  The best thing you can do is be proactive.  Dogs are still animals, and their instinct to run from danger is strong, but really once the danger has passed they want to be back with you!  So, invest a little and save on heartache, even if it is just adding a tag to their collar.  I found my Sasha in less than an hour.  If I didn’t have that tag, the finders would have had to wait until morning, and they may not have wanted to do that. 

Make sure their shots are up to date, and they have the best ID you can afford, and a lost dog can be a found dog quickly.