Tips from a Shelter Worker: What to Do If Your Dog Is Lost

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If your dog just up and disappeared—say, through an unlocked gate or an open door—do you know all the different steps you should take to make sure you find your best friend as quickly as possible. Writing on the Huffington Post, animal-shelter worker and canine-behavior specialist Nicole Wilde offers a list of all the possible ways you can get the word out and where you should be looking.

On a map, draw a circle with your home at the center. Extend the radius a few miles so you can cover the area comprehensively and methodically. Begin with your normal dog-walking routes, and then move out to surrounding areas. Dogs are most active at dawn and dusk, so focus on those two time periods.

Walking search: Grab a leash and some super-stinky, yummy food your dog loves, such as sardines or hot dogs. If a favorite toy squeaks or jingles, bring it. If you have another dog, take that dog along; if not, but you have access to a dog yours is friendly with, ask the owner to accompany you.

As you walk, call your dog’s name, jingle the toy, and keep the food exposed. Do visual sweeps, noticing areas such as bushes, undersides of cars, and other places a dog might take cover when sleeping, injured, or frightened. Brainstorm where your dog might venture: Dog parks? Woods? Fields? In a more urban environment, check the homes of neighboring canine friends. Arrange for someone to be at home in case your dog shows up while you’re out.

She goes on to offer lots more advice about driving searches, using social media, and more. These are good tactics to have in the back of your mind should you ever find yourself in this scary situation. Can you think of anything she missed?

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