There are few worse feelings than realizing your puppy has escaped. But your actions both before and after your puppy goes missing can help ensure a happy ending.
Before You Lose Your Puppy: ID Your Dog
Your puppy’s first line of protection is identification. Here are four popular methods:
- Collar Tag The most common and visible form of identification, a tag simply attaches to your dog’s collar to display the dog’s name and your phone number. The downsides: Your pet must wear a collar at all times, and it’s always possible that the collar or the tag could detach. It’s smart to include your area code with your phone number in case your dog is lost when you’re traveling or wanders far from home. Consider using a cell phone number to ensure you’re accessible 24/7.
- Tattoo More permanent than a tag, a tattooed pet I.D. number links your dog to a national organization, such as the AKC’s Companion Animal Recovery program.
- Microchip A microchip the size of a grain of rice can be implanted under your dog’s skin. (No anesthesia or surgery is required.) It contains an alphanumeric code that can be read by animal shelters that are equipped with a hand scanner. The shelter then notifies the chip manufacturer that the pet has been found, and the manufacturer contacts the owner.
- GPS Dog Collar GPS-enabled devices are everywhere these days, and that includes GPS-enabled dog collars. Originally designed to help hunters track their dogs in the field, GPS collars can also help you find your pet.
Because a tattoo or microchip could go undetected, it’s smart to supplement it with a collar and tag.
It’s also a good idea to have several photos of your dog on file, along with details about your puppy’s weight, color and identifying marks. Carry this information when you travel with your dog.
If You Lose Your Puppy, Don’t Panic
Be persistent as you go through this checklist:
- Scour your property. Include places where your dog might try to hide.
- Search the neighborhood. Talk to your neighbors, and leave a note with your name and phone number at houses where no one is home. Call your pet’s name frequently.
- Help your pet find its way home. Place its bedding or some of your dirty clothes outside your house as a homing scent.
- Call local veterinarians, shelters and humane societies. Also check with the local transportation departments, in case your pet was injured on the road.
- Post fliers in the area. Include your puppy’s photo, a detailed description and your phone number (but not your name or address).
- Advertise. Place a “Lost dog” ad in your local newspaper’s classifieds or in the online classifieds.
- Use social media. On Facebook, post photos of your dog along with details about its appearance, characteristics and temperament, and ask friends to spread the word.
- Consider a recovery service. You’ll find these services online. A recovery service can deliver an automated phone alert to as many as 10,000 homes in your area, asking that the recipients notify the service if they’ve seen your dog.
No one wants to face the misfortune of losing a puppy, but making smart moves can make all the difference.