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One of the challenges you never imagine to happen to you as a pet parent is when your dog goes missing. Non-pet-lovers will never understand the fear, anxiety, panic, and sadness that fur parents feel when they have no idea where their pet has gone, if it’s safe, or how it would be possible to be reunited with their buddy once again.
When you take a pet home, it automatically becomes an added member of the family. Therefore, you feel a sense of attachment to it. You extend to it the love, care, and affection that your family has for one another. As a result, you earn its affection and loyalty, too. That being said, when a pet goes missing, its owner couldn’t just sit there, wait, and do nothing. He does the best that he can to bring it back home and to let it feel safe in the loving arms of a true family. Read more here.
Why Did My Dog Run Away?
This is exactly the question that would run inside your mind when your dog is missing. There are several reasons why.
- Unfamiliar Environment
When the environment is new to a dog, it yearns for the place it has been used to—the place it believes its right home. It feels as if it has gone astray in this new place and that everything and everyone is a total stranger. Understandably, a newly adopted or bought pet would need to adjust to its new surroundings. It needs to feel at ease. For some time, it needs to familiarize itself with the new home and the new family.
The signs that a dog is still working on its adjustment period are apparent enough. At first, it can have a poor appetite and it would cry the whole night of its first stay in your home. Once it sees a chance to run away, it will surely do.
Dogs are super curious about so many things in their surroundings. So, once they see an opportunity to head out and sniff everything that catches their attention, they happily grab that opportunity. They would never think twice whether they should go or not when they see an open gate, door, or window. Even the sight of a hole big enough for them to fit in and pass through, delights them so much.
- Desire to Find a Mate
Okay, so this sounds like, “I can’t fight this feeling anymore.” Of course, you probably understand that nothing could hinder a person in love, or should we say, a dog in love? Driven by their natural instinct, un-neutered dogs go out seeking for a female dog they can make puppies with. It’s usually the reason why male dogs go missing for days. They become some sort of hopeless romantics all of a sudden!
- Fear of Anything
A dog’s biggest enemies are loud, booming sounds, and glittering bright lights. Scared, howling hounds are not new to you every January 1st. Firecrackers scare them so much that most dogs seek out safe haven inside dark, hidden nooks. But some may not feel like they are safe enough anywhere in the house, so they go running away. Find out more about dealing with your dog’s anxiety during fireworks season: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/our-resources/kennel-club-campaigns/fireworks/
Huge crowds of unfamiliar faces may also intimidate your dog. One of the situations you should be careful about is when you take your pooch in large, crowded cities. Make sure, its leash doesn’t snap easily.
- They Are Bored
Dogs need attention, much like children do. When they’re left alone for hours, they can be bored and lonely. It’s either they turn to destructive behavior like biting or chewing or follow you when you leave for work. If the latter happens, they might run non-stop to keep on following you, until they don’t know anymore how to go back home.
- Seeking for Adventure
Because they are naturally adventurous creatures, dogs never get tired roaming around, seeking new sights and scents. This is especially true for those that are bred for outdoor activities such as sports, hunting, and herding. And so, staying indoors all the time won’t feel normal for them. That’s when they think about escaping.
- Chasing and Hunting for Something
Those playful ones that are easily distracted by other animals such as rodents, can’t help chasing and hunting for them. They can be too enthusiastic about it that they’d do everything to follow their prey wherever it might go.
- Somebody Actually Stole Your Dog
Now, this is the tough part. It’s actually not your dog’s fault why it’s missing. Someone vicious did so. There are many reasons why pets are stolen. Some bad guys out there go out seeking for vulnerable targets, steal, and sell them for a hefty amount. Not bad if a nice and loving family buys your dog. But what if, someone who sells and eats dog meat actually steals your dog? That’s the worst nightmare you can imagine. Nevertheless, that has become rampant in some countries. Whatever the case though, stealing a pet from its family is bad and cruel!
Tips in Finding Your Dog
What are the things you should do when your dog goes missing?
- Lay out a Search Plan
The first thing you need to do to stay organized while searching for your dog is to come up with a search plan. Doing so may increase the chances of speeding up the search process. Also, it will enable you to ensure that nothing important in the search process is forgotten. In your search plan, you can jot down a list of individuals, authorities, and agencies that may help you find your missing pet. Include their contact information on the list as well.
Other details in the search plan may include the possible escape routes of your dog, the places it could’ve gone to, and the tasks you’ll do to find your pet as soon as possible.
- Inform People in Your Neighborhood
The bigger the search party, the more chances of finding your dog easily. The possible network of people who can help you out includes your family members, friends, and neighbors. Tell people in your neighborhood that your dog is missing and you’re looking for it. Leave your contact details so they can inform you right away if they found your dog.
- Search the Entire Area Near your Home
Before panicking and searching far and wide, check the entire area near your home first. Your dog might just be hiding in a nook or bush. Perhaps, it’s hanging out with the neighbor’s pet. If it has been used to you calling its name, do so repeatedly around your neighborhood. If you can take something yummy that would really be enticing, do so while you’re looking for your dog. It might just come out from where it’s hiding, excited for your treat.
- Create Flyers
Don’t ever forget the old but useful technique of making and posting flyers with your pet’s picture on it. Paste those flyers in the areas where most individuals pass by. Highlight the word “REWARD”. It shows that it’s so important for you to find your dog as soon as possible. Check this out to read stories of lost pets that have found their way home.
- Visit Local Vets and Animal Shelters
Most people who find stray animals take them to local vets, animal control centers, and animal shelters. Pay a visit to all of these. Also, be sure to leave copies of the flyers you made so they can contact you immediately in case someone turns over your pet to their office.
- Post Search Ads on the Internet
Social media sites like Facebook are a great tool for posting search ads about your missing pet. You can also post it on Craigslist or search information by typing these keywords “lost and found dogs”, or “found dogs”.
- Contact the Local Police Station
If you believe that your pet might have been stolen, report it to the local police department. This should be done especially if recent cases of stolen dogs have been rampant in your area.
How to avoid this Situation
The moment you take home a dog, purchase an appropriate collar with an ID tag on it. Dog ID tags must bear the name of your dog, your contact information, and your home address. If possible, have your dog microchipped as well. You must also register your pet to the local council. Thus, when your dog is lost, these practical steps may save your pet and find its way back to you as soon as possible. A dog collar with an ID tag easily identifies your dog. Concerned individuals who may find your pet can contact you and return your dog easily.
If your pooch is still adjusting to its new environment, secure it indoors. Make sure there are no big holes or open spaces where it can jump outside and run away. Create a cozy and comfortable place for your pet inside your home. Provide toys for entertainment.
Another important step you can do to avoid this situation is to take your dog outside for exercise and daily walks. Spend quality time with your dog. Go on adventures together.
Last but not the least, don’t forget to have it castrated, so it won’t go out seeking for love life.
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