What to do if your dog goes missing – and how to prevent that happening.

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What to do if your dog goes missing?

Be prepared before they go missing.

Keep up to date photos on your phone – clear shots of the whole dog, as well as headshots. Save as favourites so you don’t waste time in an emergency.  You can register your dog on DogLost NOW, in case the worst should happen.

Check NOW that your dog’s microchip details are up to date. If they go missing, phone microchip company and inform them.


Check NOW that your dog is wearing an ID tag on their collar (by law they have to wear one) and that it is easy to read.

If you’re going on holiday – get ‘I’m on holiday’ tags with mobile numbers on.


IF you have a dog who is a flight risk (especially a new rescue dog) get a GPS tracker to put on their collar. Tractive and Nano are good and there are others too. 

The Ruffwear Webmaster harness is the best escape proof harness if your dog is on the lead. 

IF you lose your dog – 

Join DogLost.co.uk  immediately and post on there with all the details.  If you have pre-registered that will save a lot of time.

Screenshot a map showing exactly where your dog went missing. 

Join all the local doggy Facebook groups and post on there. It’s crucial that locals know your dog is missing, sightings are so important.  

Inform local Police.  Especially if you think your dog might have been stolen.

Get posters up everywhere in the local area so everyone knows your dog is missing.

Phone all the local vets, dog warden and local council.

Put something with their smell on, into a sealed plastic bag straight away in case you need to use a tracker dog.



(You can make a scent item NOW, even if you have a multi dog household  by using a square clean piece of gauze and wiping it all over your dog for approx a minute and then putting it in a ziploc bag with your dogs name on and the date – put this in the freezer. Try and remember to do a fresh one every 3-4 months but they do last longer. If you have a single dog you can put its unwashed coat or dog brush in a sealed bag.)

Search for your dog at night time as well as during the day, it’s quieter at night and a lost scared dog is more likely to move at night.

DogLost can give you excellent help and guidance, so if you are ever in this situation they are the people to contact immediately. 

Fingers crossed this will never happen but it’s always good to be prepared!


Penel Malby

© Dog Communication 2019


Dog Communication use kind, effective methods and specialise with dogs that have aggression & anxiety issues.

Laura is a Full member of the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors & an ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist. Penel is a member of the Professional Association of Canine Trainers & an ABTC Registered Animal Training Instructor.