How Long Should I Search for a Lost Dog?

How Long Should I Search for a Lost Dog?

Last update: 07 June, 2018

Losing your pet is without a doubt one of the most stressful situations you could ever live. At first, you may hope he’ll return on his own, but as time goes by, you lose faith. In this article you can find out how long you should look for a lost dog.

Searching for a lost dog: Steps to follow

Losing a pet is certainly agonizing and frightening for any pet owner. However, it’s important to remain calm and follow a series of steps that will help you get your best friend back. Follow these tips when looking for a lost dog:

1. Look nearby your house

Sometimes dogs can wonder off into completely unexpected places while playing with or sniffing something that grabs their attention. Search in places where your dog may get trapped in. For example, he may be inside the washing machine, behind a piece of furniture, inside a tub, under a flower pot, etc.

Dog sleeping on the street

2. Start searching immediately

As soon as you realize your animal isn’t home, you’ve must to go out and get him. Experts say the first 12 hours are crucial. Once that time has passed, the chances of finding your pet are drastically reduced. Don’t let a single moment pass by. Every minute counts.

3. Shout his name

Or, call him the way you normally would. He may react to his name or nickname. You can use either one. Shout as loud as you can, and wait a few moments for your pet to respond back. It seems logical, but sometimes people forget to do it when looking for a lost dog.

It is important to remember that animals have a great sense of smell. If they smell their favorite food, they won’t hesitate to run towards you. Shake the bag while you walk and shout his name. For example, you can say, “Who wants a treat?”. Even if the dog is trapped or injured, he’ll try his best to escape and claim his prize.

5. Be quiet

Getting your dog’s attention is important, so be quiet after shouting his name. That way you can hear any noises that will let you know if your dog is trapped, injured or hidden somewhere.

6. Look for paw prints

Analyze the paw prints and feces on the ground to see if they belong to your dog. Look in high and low places, and use a flashlight if it’s dark. Look behind and under bushes, in sheds and even on rooftops.

7. Drive around

Did you know that a dog can walk several miles within an hour? After a few days, he can already be really far away. Therefore, use your car to expand the search radius to about 12 or even 25 miles.

8. Don’t stop looking at night

Even though it’s more complicated and darkness makes it harder to search, keep in mind that lost dogs are too frightened to appear in crowded areas. When the noises disappear, they’ll come out of hiding and will be easier to find.

9. Tell your friends and the police

If your dog still doesn’t show up, hang posters with his photo around the neighborhood. Talk to kennels or shelters in the area. Don’t overlook places that are 40 miles away from your home, especially if a day has passed since your dog got lost. You can also place an ad in the local newspaper or on the radio.

A dog on the shoulder of the road

Many people also make posts of their lost pets on social media. Users tend to show a lot of support, and will share the post with all their contacts. Don’t forget to put your contact information on the animal’s picture, so people can call you if they have any information.

How long should I search for a lost dog?

This is a very common question, and it doesn’t always have a specific answer. The truth is that it all depends on the owners and the actions they take. If you’ve already tried all of these search methods, and you don’t know what else to do, you might lose hope and the drive to continue searching.

Experts say that you should search as much as you can on the first day, and then wait for the posters and announcements to do their job.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.