Lost Dog! How to avoid the heartbreak of losing a beloved pet

Example Lost Dog Poster

We all suffer from anxiety and panic at the very thought of a lost dog, but there are practical steps you can take for ensuring the safety of, and speedy return, of your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Things to do in advance 

  1. Microchip your dog.  Animal Control Departments and Vets will immediately scan lost dogs or cats for microchip identification. Ask your veterinarian to insert a tiny microchip under your pet’s skin. Then, register your contact information and your dog’s description with the manufacturer of the microchip. If you move or your phone number changes, update the registration promptly.  
  2. Maintain a Pet Record for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Keep a file where you can easily find your dog’s birth date, complete description (coat color and markings that identify your pet), health records, vaccination details, dog license info, etc. Having all your pet’s info in one place will help you prepare a “lost dog” poster or give someone a precise description of your pet if lost.
  3. Keep a recent photograph of your dog. Make sure it’s a clear, well-focused image, preferably one that displays your dog’s unique markings, if any. If your dog is lost, you’ll want a good photos readily available for any “lost dog” flyers.
  4. Order engraved ID tags for your dog’s collar. Anyone who finds your dog should be able to reach you by reading your pet’s ID tags. Keep the ID tag simple and include only your pet’s name, your name and your phone number (including area code). Consider getting TWO ID tags!  My parents used to live in another state, so I had a second ID tag made for my Cavalier Bentley that had my parent’s phone number on it too!  

When your dog is lost 

  1. Form a search party as quickly as possible. The longer your dog or cat is loose, the greater the danger that they may be hurt. So, call your friends and neighbors and ask them to help search for your lost dog by walking or driving through the area.
  2. Email or text friends or neighbors who might be in a position to see your dog running loose. Send them a copy of your pet’s photo and remind them of any key identifying marks (“Buddy is wearing a red collar.”)
  3. Use Social Media to get an alert out to your local area.  In addition to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, consider posting to more localized social media accounts (e.g. NextDoor.com).

If you don’t find your pet immediately

  1. Contact local animal shelters. Call nearby organizations to make inquiries. Ask if you can send them your pet’s description and your contact information in case your pet is turned in later. Call them on a daily basis until your pet is recovered.
  2. Create “Lost Dog” posters. Create posters with your pet’s photo and your phone number.  Keep the content simple. Make the photo and text as large as possible (as most viewers will see your poster from their car, etc.).  If you choose to offer a reward, simply say “$$ REWARD” on the poster, without providing a dollar amount.  Place your posters throughout your neighborhood and nearby locations. Take copies to local veterinarian offices, pet stores, kennels and groomers.
  3. ‘Find My Pet’ Business Websites. There are numerous lost & found pet websites that may be helpful. Read the fine print and be prepared to pay for a lost pet alert. A quick search online will provide a number of options, including LostMyDoggie.com or FindToto.com  among others.

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