Find out what to do if your dog runs away from home and goes missing. Plus, see a list of apps that can help you track down your canine kid in an emergency! 

What To Do If Your Dog Is Missing


A nightmare for sure! Just the thought of my dogs missing sends shivers down my spine. But, the reality is, it does happen and it can happen to even the most responsible pet parents. In Part 1 of this series, I highlighted 8 common reasons dogs run away from home.  Now read on for Part 2. You’ll find out what to do if the unthinkable ever happens. Plus, see a list of apps that can help you track down your canine kid in an emergency! 

What To Do If Your Dog Is Missing

1. Hopefully Your Pooch Is Microchipped?

If a missing dog is found, one of the first things someone will hopefully think to do is take the dog to a veterinarian to scan for a microchip. If he has one, they will scan it and try to identify him. As a pet parent, you need to check your records and make sure that when you originally had the microchip placed, you registered it with the appropriate company. If not, make sure to do it now and be sure to keep your contact information up-to-date. If you moved or anything changed since your microchip has been registered, notify your vet and update with your current information. 

2. Get The Word Out ASAP

  • Notify the microchip company.
  • Alert your neighbors.
  • Post on any social media sites you’re on – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Nextdoor, etc., and have friends and family share the post.
  • Put up flyers with a picture of your pooch, his/her name, breed or description, when and where he was last seen, and your contact info. 
  • Call your vet, other local veterinarians, local shelters, rescue organizations, and the local police department.

3. Scout The Neighborhood

Don’t waste any time before hitting the pavement. Get out and start looking for your dog as soon as you notice he’s missing. Get as much help as you can and just keep calling his name as you continue your search. Bring lots of treats with you on the hunt. It may make catching him a little easier. You can use the treats to lure him over to you.

When a dog is running loose, even the most well-behaved dog won’t want to be caught. He may even get spooked by the well-intentioned people, especially strangers calling and looking for him. In fact, he may see it as a threat and feel like he’s being chased. So, if you are lucky enough to spot Fido, just keep an eye on him but don’t chase after him. It will only make him run. Stop calling him and take out your treats. Get down on the ground and shake them, spread them on the ground, and do whatever necessary to lure him over in a non-threatening manner. Do not stare at him. Direct eye contact can be interpreted as a threat by Fido. 

4. Offer A Reward

When your pooch is missing, sometimes you have to get creative. Although there will be people who will eagerly help you try and find your pooch, some will need just a bit more motivation. If a monetary reward is what it takes to get that extra manpower, then do it if you can. The more feet you have on the ground, the more territory you can cover. 

5. Advertise In The Local Paper 

Although it seems everyone is on social media, some people are not. Not-to-mention that many still enjoy thumbing through a paper. So, put an ad in any and all local publications. Most print publications also have a digital version, so you can hit two media markets at the same time. 

6. Smartphone Apps That Can Help To Get Fido Home

Finding Rover
By: Finding Rover Inc.
Available: iOS & Android
Price: Free

This app works by facial recognition. Snap a picture of your dog, send a text, and the facial recognition technology will help you find your dog.  It’s important to make sure that your dog is registered and his picture is in the database. In addition to helping you find your pooch, if you happen to find someone else’s lost dog it will work too. Just snap a picture of the dog you found, fill in the needed information, and let the app do its work. Great app! Make sure to have it all setup and ready, and hope you never have to use it.

ASPCA – Pet Safety App for Lost Pets, Disaster Prep and Emergency Alerts
By: 3 Sided Cub Design LTD
Price: Free
Available: iOS & Android

From missing pets to natural disasters this app will prepare and guide you how to respond in an emergency, and steps to follow if your pooch is lost. It provides a section to record important information pertaining to your fur baby’s health and any special needs he may have. This is another must-have app for pet parents to have installed on their smartphones.

Tractive GPS Dog And Cat Finder
By: Tractive
Available: iOS & Android

If you worry that your pooch is an escape artist and he always keeps you on your toes then this app and accessory GPS Tractive Tracker is probably a good fit for you. The app is made to be used with the Tractive GPS Device. The device will track your pooch in real time so if the unthinkable happens and he gets loose you’ll have a tool to pinpoint exactly where he is, where he’s been, and follow him as he continues on his path. To prevent the great escape in the first place, you’ll be able to set boundaries for a safe zone where you’ll be notified if your pooch leaves the area. This system offers the peace of mind of knowing where Fido is at all times. If you choose to get this GPS system, I have included an Amazon link below.

This is the Tractive GPS Device that works with this app