Your dog is missing…now what should you do? The memory of an incident is still so raw is my mind. In December 2020 a dog called Hulki went missing and despite trying all means his humans are still clueless about where he could have gone. A dog, or for that matter any pet, nowhere in sight is the worst nightmare for any pet parent. Often the instant reaction is panic. You know the ‘what do we do’ moments as seconds slip away.
But really what to do if your dog goes missing?
Before we get into the details, I must say that this post has been triggered by another dog called Cuddles who went missing over the weekend, November 4th to be precise. These aren’t isolated events; over the past year I’ve seen / heard of so many dogs (and cats) that went missing. Every time I did a Facebook post or Instagram story to spread the word, my heart broke thinking about the lost pet and the state of their family. So, as an attempt to raise more awareness we are listing down a few things to do when a beloved pet goes missing. Also, a few things to do to avoid a situation like this.
So, your dog is missing…now what to do? Here are some must-dos
Search the area
Start by searching the nearby areas where your dog could have wandered off. Its best to first cover the neighbourhood by foot and call out to your dog. You can also carry some of their favourite treats and a squeaky toy. Reach out to as many people as possible in the neighbourhood to join you in the search. Try to also take some dogs along to sniff the trail and guide you in the right direction. A few things to remember is some dogs can be afraid of humans so even if you spot the missing dog, try not to go too close lest the dog runs away out of fear. In case you can’t spot your dog, increase the search radius.
Put up posters
Its best to quickly print out some posters of the missing dog with key information. The poster must include a coloured photo of your dog, clear details of their appearance, name, collar, tag, 4 last digits of microchip number and your contact details. Put up these posters with ‘Lost Dog’ highlighted in a catchy colour in the neighbourhood, community centres, parks, even wind shields of cars and places where it will get the right attention. Also, check with the nannies, house helps and gardeners in the area and give them a poster so that they can have a look around.
Spread the word through social media
Social media can be very effective in spreading the word. So, quickly share every information possible about the lost dog on Facebook community pages as well as WhatsApp groups. Also send a digitised missing poster to your community management group.
In the UAE, some of the community groups include:
- Springs Dubai Community
- Pets of Springs Communities
- Meadows, Lakes, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Jumeirah Islands, Jumeirah Village Triangle, Jumeirah Village Circle, Jumeirah Park Communities
- Pets of Dubai
- Lost and Found Pets in Dubai
- The Greens, Dubai
- The Greens Pet Owners
- Dogs in Dubai
- Street Paws
- Pets of Dubai
- Lost and Found Pets in the UAE
- Discovery Gardens
- Arabian Ranches Pet Watch
- Discovery Gardens
- Green Community Pet Owners
- Responsible Pet Owners Association of Remraam, Dubai
- Residents of Remraam
- RemRaam Ladies
- Remraam Moms, Teens, Tots & Lovely Ladies ♡
- Mudon Mums.
- Mudon Market.
- Palm Jumeirah Cat Community.
- Animal Cops Dubai.
- Mirdif Mums.
- Animal ed-YOU-cation UAE.
- Al Barari Mums.
- Jumeirah Village Circle (JVC) Pet Owners.
- Farm Life UAE.
- Adoptmypets in UAE.
- UAE Rescuer’s United (against the sale of Dogs).
- Pet People U.A.E.
Other things to do
Send an email with the missing flyer to all vets in your city / country. In the UAE, you can also register on platforms like findmypet.ae (if in the UAE). Check the ‘lost and found’ section of websites like Dubizzle. Carefully look at description not only the photo as sometimes people advertise them under a false picture if they are found/stolen. If nothing works, do check the animal markets as well.
How to prevent ‘lost dog’ incidents?
Anyone who has experienced it will tell you how heart-breaking and stressful it is when a pet goes missing. So, as their humans and caregivers for life, we have some responsibilities. Besides feeding, walking and playing with our beloved pets, we must ensure they are safe. Sometimes all it takes is a bored dog to jump over the fence to explore the area. A few years ago, during peak summer while walking Mr. Popo I spotted a husky roaming the JVC area. Somehow, I managed to bring him over to a friend’s place closest to where he was roaming. A post on Dogs in Dubai and we managed to reach his human. But every dog or human isn’t so lucky. So, here are some steps to ensure your dog’s safety.
Microchipping is crucial
You are far more likely to reunite with your dog if s/he is microchipped. A microchip is a permanent electronic identification method through a chip that’s implanted subcutaneously near your dog’s shoulder. The dog’s microchip number is recorded in a database along with the owner’s details. So, pet parents should always ensure that their contact details are recorded and updated, where necessary. By scanning your dog’s microchip, veterinary hospitals and clinics, animal shelters, rescuers and local councils can help reach you. Many dogs also wear tags with their details, but these can be easily ripped off in case of theft.
Doggy proof your home
Its imperative that your proof your home and yard if you have a dog. Often it has been seen that dogs have taken off when unattended. Sometimes they even wander off in search of a mate. Ensure that they are not able to jump across the fence or open the gate. Personally, I wouldn’t let my dog wander alone even in my backyard. Dogs that are food/play motivated can be dognapped too.
Training is for all, not just the pup
Something that upsets me greatly is when people walk their dogs off the leash in undesignated community areas. At least in the UAE, the law is to walk your dog on leash unless it is a designated area where they can be let off the leash. There are many dangers when you walk your dogs off the leash on main roads – chasing after another dog, unfortunate accidents and so on. No matter how trained your dog is they are instinct-driven creatures. They can bolt for various reasons. So, along with training the pups we must be trained enough to keep them safe during their walks and play time at the community parks. A perfectly friendly dog bolts out of one of the community parks in my neighbourhood – this is a common scene. On more than one occasion we engaged with the dog until her human arrived. A lot of things can happen to your dog if you are not careful. So, please be responsible.
Note: This article is meant for information and awareness and should not be considered as expert opinion.