Helen Says: April 23rd is National Lost Dog Awareness Day


Tips to Keep Your Pup Safe

National Lost Dog Awareness Day is an entire day dedicated to the importance of keeping our furry friends safe and preventing them from getting lost. As a pup parent, it’s important to know how to keep your fur ball safe and what to do if they get lost.

Here are important tips to help prevent your dog from getting lost, while increasing the chances they’ll be found.

Microchip your dog: A microchip is a small device implanted under your dog’s skin that links to important information, including your contact details. If your dog gets lost and is taken to a shelter or veterinary clinic, they can scan the microchip to identify your dog and reunite you with your pup. While microchips might seem scary, they don’t hurt your dog. Microchips are the most effective way of making sure you can be contacted in case of any pup emergencies.

Keep your dog on a leash: Our dogs are curious animals. While some pups are more easily distracted than others, all dogs can run off—especially if they see something interesting. Keeping your dog on a leash when you’re out in public is the best way to prevent them from getting lost or into trouble.

Secure your yard: Double check that your dog isn’t digging an escape route under the back fence. Make sure your yard is fully enclosed and secure, with no holes or gaps that your Houdini pup could squeeze through.

Update your contact information: It’s easy to forget to update your dog’s collar and microchip after moving homes or changing phone numbers. Make sure your contact details are up to date on your dog’s tags, microchip, and any other identification. This will increase the chances of someone being able to reach you when your mischievous dog is later found.

What should you do if you lose your dog?

Search your neighborhood: Start by searching the immediate area, including your yard, street, and nearby parks. Work in a team! You will cover more ground by working with friends, family, and neighbors. It takes a village to raise a four-legged friend sometimes, and it’s okay to ask for help.

Notify animal shelters and others : Contact local animal shelters and veterinary clinics to report your dog missing. Provide them with a detailed description and photos of your dog, along with your contact information. If your dog wears an ID tag for a pet finder site, make sure to reach out.

Post on social media: Share a photo and description of your dog on social media, including any relevant hashtags and your contact information. Sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor can connect you with your neighbors directly and improve your pup’s chances that someone will recognize them! There are also dedicated Facebook pages and websites where you can post lost dog information. Make sure to include info on the best way of approaching and interacting with your dog so folks will know how best to accommodate their unique personality during this stressful time.

Put up posters: Put up posters throughout your local area, including a clear photo of your dog and your contact information. Some folks choose to offer rewards for found pups, but it isn’t a requirement. Be sure to include a “Do Not Chase” reminder on your poster.

Don’t panic: A lost dog is one of the most stressful things that can happen to a dog parent. Remember, dogs are smart and often friendly. If your fur ball isn’t around the neighborhood, chances are that someone awesome found them wandering around, took them home to make sure they’re safe, and will make contact soon to unite you and your pooch.

What if you spot a lost Spot?

Approach with caution: If you see a lost dog, approach them slowly and calmly. Do not make any sudden movements or loud noises that could scare them. Lost pups may be confused and stressed, so stay calm and see if they will approach you. Do not chase after them.

Check for identification: If the dog is wearing a collar, check for identification tags with their owner’s contact information. Some dogs may have an ID tag from one of several lost pet finder sites that can help you reach owners too. If the lost dog seems fearful and won’t come towards you, try and take a photo so that even if you can’t catch them safely, their owner can be identified and alerted.

Contact animal control: If you’re unable to locate the owner, contact your local animal control or non-emergency police department to report the lost dog. If you’re able to, try and keep an eye on them until help arrives.

Check for injuries: If the dog appears to be injured or in distress, take them to a veterinary clinic for medical attention. A veterinary clinic will also be able to check for a microchip.

Check for contact info: Most dogs will have their owner’s address or phone number on their tags or collar. Some parents even write their phone number on the inside of their dog’s collars in case the etching wears off on the tag, so look there also.

At Downtown Dogs, we believe that every dog deserves to be safe and loved. We can all play a role to ensure that our furry friends are happy, healthy, and by our side where they belong.

The advice provided is based on many years of experience as dog parents and operators of one of the largest and longest established dog daycare and boarding facilities in the Twin Cities. Always consult your veterinarian. When not sharing advice, our dog bloggers — Frannie, Lyle, and Helen — share a space with their people, Downtown Dogs owner Ralph Bernstein and his wife, Abbe.