We are sure your heart is pounding harder than it ever has before and a hundred things are going through your mind right now. Stop. Take a deep breath - you need to have a clear, practical head and be strong for your dog right now. Don’t waste time trying to blame someone, you need to act immediately. Since you probably know your pet better than anyone else, you are in the best position to figure out how they are likely to behave in such a situation. Here are a few things you can do:
Alert the neighbors: Speak to your neighbors - watchmen, kids playing on the street or even those who spend a lot of time in their gardens or balconies. They are more likely to have spotted your lost dog and could guide you to him.
Rally together friends: The sooner you get out on the street, the better. Put together a search party and make sure everyone knows how to recognize your dog and brief them on how to approach him. Carry treats and biscuits with you. If your pet has a special dog friend in the neighbourhood, take the pet along. Split up and cover as much area as possible. Look in places where a scared, lost dog is most likely to hide - behind flowerpots, under ramps or cars, at a construction site or inside an empty plot of land, etc.
Use their strong sense of smell: A dog’s sense of smell is their best strength - use it. Take a blanket/bed/sweater or any item that belongs to you or your pet to the place he was last seen. In more than one case, a lost dog has found his way back to the spot by following his nose to that item.
One Person Stays at Home: Keep one member of the family- who your pet is comfortable with- at home in case he comes back on his own (this has happened in case of missing dogs). This person should stay outdoors near the gate so they are in a good position to spot your pet should he come back.
Keep your phone charged: Keep your phone charged and on loud at all times. Someone close by could have found him and may be trying to reach you. If your pet has an ID tag, it will make the process easier and quicker.
Do a house-to-house search: Not only does this ensure that you’ve thoroughly covered the area surrounding your home, but it also helps to spread the word. It’s a stressful situation but speak coherently, be friendly, get people on your side.
Put your pet’s face out there: This is probably the most important answer to how to find a lost dog. Their picture needs to be out there - on social media, WhatsApp, flyers, the works. Keep information on all formats consistent. If your pet is neutered/spayed, mention that. Put up a reward price as well. Don’t forget to inform local vets and grocery store owners. Put up fliers in their offices and shops, in places with high foot traffic like bus stops, at auto stands - go as far and wide as possible because you never know where your pet’s journey could have led him. If you can’t speak the local language, find someone who can translate for you to make a better connection.
Yes, this is a lot to process but resist giving in to panic - thinking clearly is your best bet. We hope with all of our hearts that you find your lost dog. When you find him, give them water and get them checked by a vet. After this, figure out how they got out and make changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Send out updates to thank everyone on every platform you used to send out the message that he was missing. Now breathe easy and don’t forget to give your pet a big, long reunion hug.