It's a gut-wrenching moment in life when you discover you have lost your dog.

    However, you must try to remain calm but also act quickly since every moment is critical in getting your pup home. Most dogs are simply 'following their noses' when they get out, and who knows where that can lead them!

    The key to getting your dog back safely, and as soon as possible, is to have a plan or a system in place to deal with the situation. Here are steps you can take should you ever find yourself in this terrible situation.

    The 10-Step Process To Finding Your Lost Dog

    1. Check and make sure your dog has actually left your home. Sometimes, your dog may not hear you calling for them. Also, when dogs become sick they might react by isolating themselves. Check places your dog might not normally hide, like under the bed.

    2. Check the gates to see if any of them are open, or if your dog could have dug a hole underneath one. If you locate an open gate or a hole, there’s a good chance your dog has left your property.

    3. Start walking around your neighborhood and ask everybody you encounter if they have seen your dog. Always talk to mail personnel and construction workers, they are outside all day long. Always have a picture to show. As you're walking around, be sure to call your dog's name. He might respond and it lets other people know you are searching.

    4. Be sure to post get on social media accounts such as Facebook and NextDoor. The more people that share your post the better.

    5. Search a 2-mile radius from your home. While you're doing this, listen for barking dogs, because your dog might be triggering an alarm from them. Also, call out for you dog. Use the calls that normally bring her to you, like the call for dinner or to go for a walk.

    6. If after searching the two miles you don't find your dog, head to your local shelters or at least place a call in to see if anyone has turned your dog in.

    7. Consider bringing another dog while you're searching. Dogs are attracted to each other.

    8. Have some food or kibble with you. Sometimes dogs run away even if they recognize you, food might make you more appealing than the open road.

    9. If after a day, you have not found your dog, take some of your fliers to local veterinarian offices and pet stores. See if they will allow you to post them, and show the employees photos of your dog in case anybody brings the dog in for treatment. You may also want to contact a professional dog trapper to assist.

    10. Continue to go to your local animal shelter to see if your dog was picked up by animal control, or if anybody turned him in. While you are there get to know the employees and leave a flier. You also might want to visit at different times of the day so you get to know all the employees.

    Here is the most important step: Don’t Give Up! 95% of lost dogs are returned to their homes. So, there is more than just hope working for you. The odds are in your favor you will locate your doggo!

    Preventing a Lost Dog

    Finally, if you have not already, get your dog microchipped and also invest in a LINK smart collar for your dog. A microchip is relatively painless, and it's an exceptional tool for locating your dog. A smart collar is zero pain and gives you the real-time location of your pet.

    Also, if your pet already has a microchip, make sure your current address and contact information are listed so you can be found easily.

    It is important to get your dog a microchip as well as a smart collar since microchips can only assist if your dog has been found and is brought to a place where a microchip scanner is available. Read more about the differences between a microchip and smart collar here.

    April 23rd Is National Lost Dog Awareness Day

    National Lost Dog Awareness Day was created to bring awareness to the plight of lost animals and to the happiness of the reunions when owners find their pets. Reuniting lost dogs with their owner does more than return animals to their loving families. It also frees up space in shelters and saves tax money. Let's hope you never experience a lost pet, but if you do, follow the above steps. Preparation and persistence will bring your best friend home!

    Topics: Dog Health