What To Do If Your Dog Is Lost

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What To Do If Your Dog Is Lost

That moment when you realize your fur baby is out and on the loose is one of the most soul-crushing moments in life.  The quicker you get in touch with resources, the more likely it is that your dog will be recovered safely.

Your dog's microchip registry may have free lost pet alerts.  You can also post one here:
PawBoost  this website sends emails out to all its subscribers in the vicinity of the pet alert.

Facebook and social media are great resources for lost pets
.  Many more owners are reunited with their lost pets because of the advent of social media.  Some of these pages have admins that work diligently to connect posts and put people in contact with each other.  Here are a couple prominent lost and found pet pages in Tampa:

Tampa Bay Lost and Found Pets

Lost and Found Pets of Hillsborough County

Nextdoor is another social media website that connects you with your local neighborhood.  They have a specific Lost and Found section: is another national website you can use, although the local ones tend to get the job done.

Check Craigslist- Do not just check the lost and found section.  Check the for sale ads.  Yes, unfortunately someone might be trying to sell your dog.  If you come across an ad with your dog in it, contact the police.

Most counties have a Pet Resources Center that is attached to their local animal shelter.  Here is the one for Tampa:
Report a Lost or Stray Animal Hillsborough County
(813) 744-5660
Sometimes it is advisable to physically drop in and check the local intakes just to make sure your dog is not among them.  Otherwise a local intake report is usually published at regular intervals.

Contact local veterinarians in the area to see if anyone has tried to check for a microchip on a dog that fits your pet's description.

Hit the streets.  Dogs are attracted to areas with trash, rodents like squirrels, parks with kids (and again trash and squirrels), and other dogs.  Listen for neighborhood dogs going nuts barking- they could be barking at your pooch outside their fence.  Ask people you see outside and passersby if they have seen your dog.  Listen for people calling for a dog- it might be yours they are trying to catch.  Scan the horizon and down streets- the movement of a dog running is fairly recognizable against urban or suburban straight lines like streets, hedges, etc. if you have decent eyesight

Lastly, before your dog ever has a chance to escape:
1.Teach your dog to come to many different people when training.  In this case, it is different from our human kids- we do not want our lost pets to have stranger danger.  If a person picks up a lost dog, they are more likely to get returned to their home safely than if your dog avoids all human contact.  Domestic dogs tend not to fair well out in the elements and in traffic for long periods of time.
2. Microchip your dog and make sure the registry is current with your details.
3. Have an ID tag on your dog EVEN IF HE OR SHE HAS A MICROCHIP.  Microchips can migrate and can be difficult to locate on dogs, especially larger dogs.  It took 20 minutes for the scanner to pick up my dog's chip when I registered it.  That is a lot longer than most places will spend trying to locate a chip on a found dog.

Hopefully you never have to experience this, but if you do, stay calm and use your resources.

Sammy the Dog Trainer


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