Your dog has got lost or been stolen. You're at your wits end, having trawled the area looking and asked everyone you can think of. What can you do next?
The importance of micro chipping
For a start, assuming your dog has been micro chipped, if your pet has been found and handed into a vet or animal shelter, they'll be able to read the microchip and let you know where to pick up your pooch. If you haven't had your dog chipped, now's the time to get it done. Your vet will do it for you, it's painless and literally takes seconds.
The lost dog notification procedure
What's the the procedure about filing a report on a lost dog? There's a national organisation called Lost Dogs UK, (http://www.doglost.co.uk) and it's the UK's biggest dog rescue company for lost, stray and stolen pets. It's free to register, then you can add yourself to the community and add your dog to the site if he or she goes missing.
You can even pre-register your pooch so they're safely on the database just in case, and you don't have to think about doing it when you're in a panic. Better still they connect with Facebook and Twitter for a really wide reach.
As they say on the site:
“Dog Lost is run by volunteers and headed by Jayne Hayes. Any lost or stolen dog registered on the site will have great chance of being reunited with its owners, 1000's of volunteers work really hard every day to support its efforts in reuniting dogs with their owner.”
Facebook and Twitter
Plenty of counties have their own lost dog Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts, for example Brighton's https://www.facebook.com/brightondogwatch. As you can imagine, account holders on all the networks are usually more than happy to share and re-Tweet appeals for lost dogs, and it's a great way to spread the word. Search the networks for a lost dog finder page or account near you, and follow them.
The RSPCA Tweets regularly about lost dogs, too. It's another really handy way to get the word out and find your pet faster. Here's a link to their website, a page specifically about lost dogs. http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/straydogs
Some dogs are lost for months and months. We've seen desperate owners turn to Private Investigators to help track their beloved pet down.
What to do if you lose your dog
If your dog goes missing, bear in mind it's surprising how often lost dogs are eventually found and returned to their owners, even after having been missing a long time. There are plenty of common sense things you can do to afind your pet.
· Report your dog missing at www.DogLost.co.uk, where supporters will help distribute posters and spread the word
· Report it to your local animal rescue centre, local vets and local RSPCA office
· Contact your local animal warden, just in case your dog has been picked up as a stray
· Ask local businesses to display posters, which you can create free at DogLost when you register
· Talk to your neighbours in case anyone has seen or noticed anything
What to do if you find a lost or stray dog
Report it to your local council warden
· Ask vets, the RSPCA and rescue centres near you if the owner has been in touch
· Notify DogLost
· Check if the dog is wearing a tag on their collar
· Ask a vet to scan the dog to see if they're chipped
· Stick up 'found' posters locally
· Check missing pet websites like Pets Located www.petslocated.com/
· Spread the word on social media, including local groups, pages and accounts dedicated to lost pets
You can't legally keep a stray dog. If you want to give it a home, you need to give your details to your local dog warden and see if you're accepted.
Check your pet's insurance policy. Many policies offer various types of 'pet reuniting' services in the event of loss or theft and many offer a certain amount towards covering the cost of rewards and advertising as well.
How to keep your dog safe
The law says your dog must wear a collar and rag with your contact details
Microchipping is an excellent idea and it'll be the law from spring 2016 in England and Wales. This includes keeping your pet's details in the microchip database
Keep your dog within sight at all times, even when they're off the lead
Train your dog well so they will always come when you call
Teach your dog an emergency recall command which means they MUST come to you straight away - here's some guidance http://dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/a/emergency_recall.htm
Your lost dog stories
We'd love to hear your lost dog stories, and hope you found your popoch again. Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PoochandCompany.
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