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Articles - When you've lost a pet

by Caroline Kjall at DogBasics

Hundreds of pets go missing every day. Some run off, escape from gardens or run off after prey when you are out on a walk, but an alarming number of pets are also stolen. Below are some tips on what you can do to try and get your pet back.

Where to call when you've lost a pet

There are a number of places to call if your pet has gone missing or has been stolen. Make sure that you have important information about your pet ready. Description of what he looks like, especially if he has any distinctive marks. If he's micro chipped, have his micro chip details nearby. Is he tagged? What does the tag say? What is the colour of his collar? Does he have any scars? Is he neutered? Where was he last seen?

These are a few important numbers:

Local Police you'll find their number in the phone book. Don't call 999! You can also try

The local Dog Warden call the local council and they'll patch you through or give you the number. You can find your local council in the phone book or by visiting

Local Vet Practices you'll find their number in the phone book or on

Lost Dogs (Battersea Dogs and Cats Home) 0901 477 8 477 or visit their web site

RSPCA 08705 555 999

Blue Cross 01438 832 232

Wood Green AS 08701 904 090

The local Highways or your Local Authority's Refuse Department (in case of a road traffic accident)

Neighbouring Councils Dog Wardens (your dog might not stick to his own county, so it is worth trying areas around you)

Ask local postmen, milkmen, street cleaners, bin men, and taxi drivers if they have seen your dog or if they could keep an eye out for him/her.

Network Rail 08457 114 141 (if your dog has been hit by a train, they would know)

Items that smell of home

If your dog ran away, leave an item of clothing that smells of you (so don't put something down that has just been washed, use an old sweater you've been wearing or similar) at the spot where you last saw him. If you were out on a walk that you drove to by car, also put an item that smells of home by the spot where your car was parked. You can also put a bowl of water by these locations, in case your dog needs a drink. Return to these two spots with regular intervals and call for your dog. Most dogs will return to where they saw you last and look for you.

Posters of your pet

missing dog bannerMake up posters with your pets picture on them, make sure the image is really clear and large. Describe your pet and where he got lost. Leave a phone number on the poster, where people can reach you at all times (mobile phone is best). If you can, offer a reward, as there are lost of horrid people out there who snatch pets to get a reward and even though it isn't right, I'd rather pay to get my dog back safe and sound than not knowing what happened to him.

Put the posters up on notice boards, in the window at news agents, vets, groomers, pet shops, local supermarkets, police station, etc. You can also put posters up on lamp posts for ultimate exposure. The more people that are aware that your pet is missing, the more eyes will see him if he appears.

If you can't make a poster yourself, you can have one made for you at http://www.doglost.co.uk

Make sure your contact details are up to date

If your dog is micro chipped or tattooed, make sure all your details are correct with the corresponding database. If you had your dog micro chipped at the vets, call them to double check that they have the correct address and phone number for you. If your dog is tagged, was the tag up to date?

Web sites to add your pets details to

There are lots of web sites that feature lost and found dogs, cats and other pets. Here is a selection of sites I've found:


Rescue Centres

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home Contact every local and the large rescue centres. Sometimes the communication between police/vet/animal warden and rescue centres don't work quite as well as would be desirable, so it is worth contacting all local rescue centres personally, to make sure your pet is at the forefront of their minds. I would even suggest you go to the local rescues and have a look around yourself, to see if your pet is there. I've met a lot of lazy kennel staff and I wouldn't want to risk my pet being re homed just because the person I talked to over the phone couldn't be bothered to go and have a look...

Breed Clubs

It would also be a good idea to contact all UK breed clubs for your particular breed (if your pet is a pure breed). Most breed clubs have a rescue section and if they ever get notice of a pet for re homing that fits your pets description, you want them to be aware that it might be your pet. Contact them via email or post, so you can send them a picture of your pet.

Make your own web page about your dog

Here is an example of an excellent web page that the owners of Spot made up, to spread the word about him. Maybe you or someone you know could set up a web page for your missing dog? Don't forget to submit it to search engines.

Local press and pet magazines

Put up an ad in all the local papers about your missing pet. Contact as many pet magazines as you can think of and see if their writers would be interested in writing an article about your missing pet or missing pets in general (but with your pet being a feature in the article). Do the same thing with local TV and radio stations.

Insurance policies

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.

If you have FOUND a pet

If you find a dog or other domestic animal, either take him to or call the local police, rescue centres, vets, dog wardens, where they can check the dog for micro chips or tattoos.

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