Missing dog? How to find a lost pet quickly

Author picture Katy  - updated: 17/05/2018

It is a worry that's always in the back of your mind: what if your dog or cat goes missing?  Especially if you plan to bring your pet to a sitter for home boarding or doggy daycare, you might be worried: what happens if your furry friend suddenly takes off? Fortunately, most pets are found and returned to their owner very quickly. And the good news is that you can do a lot to prevent your pet from getting lost in the first place. But what if your pet does get lost? Then we have an action plan ready for you to bring your pet home very fast. Here are our most important tips for pet owners and pet sitters:

Pictures and a description

We think we know our pet like the back of our hand, but if your dog or cat has disappeared, you might be starting to doubt: was that one black spot on his right or left ear? If your pet is lost, it is important to have a comprehensive, written description of your pet at hand as well as a couple of clear pictures. So, take these photos of your paet and write down that description today and keep it with your important papers such as your pet passport and the contact details of your vet. Then you also have a handy package ready for your pet sitter when you decide to go on a trip.

Chip and registration

Especially when you want to bring your pet to a sitter for home dog boarding or doggy daycare, it's important that your pet has an up-to-date chip registration. 

Has your animal been chipped? You should receive a certificate from it if all goes well. Veterinarians also put the chip number in the passport of your pet. Pets that are chipped are far more likely to be safely returned to their home when they get lost. That is why it is important not only to chip your pet, but also to ensure that the data in the database is still correct. So when anything changes (for instance when you move to a new place), make sure to update your registration. You can register your pet and change the data at the website of the UK Pet Chip Registry.

Collar Tag

In addition to a chip, it's clever and easy to attach an old-fashioned dog or cat collar tag to your pet's collar. You can order such a tag for just a few euros on the internet. Make sure that the tag is inscribed at least with the name of the pet and your phone number (on which you can always be reached). With such a simple tag, animals are often reunited with their owners very quickly - even before any authorities need to be notified.

A GPS tracker

Super handy for notorious runaways: a GPS tracker. With a tracker you can follow your pet anywhere with your smartphone. This is also a great (temporary) measure that offers you extra peace of mind if your pet stays with a dog sitter. Next to the tracker itself, keep in mind subscription costs of about a few euros per month. Read more about GPS trackers here.

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 With a collar tag, chip and GPS tracker your dog will return back home soon

Preventing your pet from getting lost 

First of all, it is important to invest time and energy by training your dog: build the relationship between you and your dog and make sure it's always FUN for your dog to return to you. Even if the dog has been gone way too long, always praise him and give him a treat when he comes back to you. But perhaps you just have a 'runner': these are often dogs that like to go hunting and tend to be out of sight for quite some time time during a walk. Don't let the dog run off-leash unless you are in a safe area where you have great visibility, such as the beach or a fenced dog park. As a dog sitter, you're better being safe than sorry and it's best to keep the dog on a leash. You can use a flex line or long line so that the dog has enough freedom of movement.

Many pets tend to run away due to stress or changing circumstances. Your dog or cat might be a bit confused when he is in a new environment, for instance when you will be home boarding your dog. That is why it is important to take enough time to introduce a new person, like your dog sitter, to your pet. Don't rush things but let your dog get used to your dog sitter, have a test walk together beforehand, and let your pet decide when and how fast to approach your sitter.  Read more about a meet and greet with your pet sitter here.

My pet is missing. What to do?

Report your animal to Animal Search UK as quickly as possible, that is the foundation that registers missing and found pets, and brings them back into contact with the owner. Are you a pet sitter? Then also report them missing to the pet owner. Stay calm but be honest and upfront. The pet owner might give you the right information to find the pet quickly. Also, inform neighbours and ask them to look out for the pet.

Also, contact us at Pawshake: we can use our extensive network to set up a search. Furthermore, make sure that your pet can easily find his way back: create a place near your home where you can put his tastiest snacks. Make sure your cat can enter the house, also at night. Also, make sure that the telephone number of the collar tag and / or chip registration is fully accessible.

Last but not least: stay calm at all times and don't forget that most pets find their way back to their loving homes. You are not alone! Together we can protect our pets and make sure that we prevent our beloved dogs and cats from getting lost - and if they do, we now know we can find them again fast.