What to Do if You Lose Your Dog

Argh! Your dog is missing. Maybe she ran away while you were walking her in the park. Or perhaps, the door was left open in your house and your pet has vanished. Worse, she might have been stolen.

It’s easy to go into tail-spin panic, but all is not lost (forgive the bad pun). Let’s look at what to do to get your dog back.

Firstly, preventative measures are so important. Your dog should be chipped – and in the UK, all dogs must be chipped by the time they are eight weeks old. If she’s picked up and taken to a local veterinary surgery, they’ll be able to contact you straight away.

Your dog should always wear a collar that has contact details on it, making it easy enough for anyone to get in touch if they find your dog.

Ensure your details are up to date on the contact database. It’s easy to forget this if you move house.

Train your dog properly so she is more likely to come back when she’s let off the lead. If you are in a new place, it’s advisable to use an extending lead rather than let her off.

To prevent your dog being stolen, the Blue Cross advises you to think twice about leaving your dog tied up outside a shop in case of opportunist theft. You should also ensure your garden is secure and that there is a bell on the gate, so you can hear anyone coming in.

If the worst happens, here’s an action plan what to do:

  • When you realise your beloved pooch is missing, contact your local council to speak with the dog warden in your area. The warden manages stray dogs and they hold them for about seven days, so he or she may already have your pet.
  • Make a post on websites specialising in lost dogs such as LostDog and DogLost.
  • Post a message on local networks like or Facebook groups.
  • Get in touch with the database where your dog is registered and report her missing or stolen.
  • Call the local animal shelters to check if your pet has been handed in. Again, if she is chipped and your details are up to date they’ll be able to get in touch with you.
  • If you think your dog has been stolen (more common with pedigrees), report the incident to the police.
  • Visit the parks nearby and speak to local dog walkers, who might have seen your dog while out and about.
  • Get in touch with your vet and ask if any stray dogs have been handed in.
  • Put up notices with a picture of your dog on them, asking people to get in touch if they have seen your dog. Offer a reward.

Good luck! A missing dog is a horrible experience and we want anyone who goes through it to get their pet back as soon as possible.