When the Pooch is Loose: What to Do When Your Dog Runs Away

It’s a horrible feeling when you realize your canine companion has wandered off. You will of course immediately go looking for them, but initial searches are often for naught, especially if it has been a while since you first found them missing. It’s common to panic in such situations, but if you think things through you can form an effective strategy for recovering your lost friend. Here are some tips to help make your search efforts more effective; hopefully they will aid in the recovery of your furry friend.

 There are several things you can do prior to your dog running away that will greatly increase your chances of finding them. Chipping them is a very effective option; it is often surprisingly cheap and if they wind up at a shelter the workers will easily be able to tell that your pet is indeed yours and can then alert you that your dog has been found. Beyond that, a collar with information printed on the tag is a great way to make the recovery effort smoother. Anyone who encounters your dog and stops to check on them will see your name and phone number and can contact you with their location.

But perhaps the worst happens; collars can come off, of course. What should you do once your dog has run away? After you search your immediate area, if you still can’t find your dog, take a second to consider a few things. How big is your dog? A large dog can travel as far as 5 miles in a day, while smaller ones can sometimes only go as far as half a mile at most. This should help you narrow down your search radius, though do remember that dogs will almost never cover that distance in a straight line; in fact, most dogs are recovered within 2 miles of their home.

With this information in mind, alert your neighbors and your local friends. The more people who know about your missing dog the better. We now live in a mobile society and you can leverage this to your advantage. If you frequent social media, consider posting about your missing dog to major social networks such as Facebook. Some communities even have lost pet Facebook pages; be sure to visit them if there is one for your area. Also, phone up local shelters and veterinary clinics in your area and give them a description of your missing dog. Many shelters put up photos of unidentified dogs that they find on their website; make sure to check there.

Printing up missing posters is a very common but effective way to increase awareness about your lost pet. It’s worth the extra money to make them large and in color; you want anyone who comes across them to notice. However, make sure you also print some number of smaller posters or flyers to display in areas where a larger size wouldn’t be ideal. Informing other dog related businesses in your area, such as pet stores, groomers and kennels, and asking if they could put up the small version of your missing flyer in their stores can also spread your reach even farther and get the necessary information into more hands.


It may seem hard to keep positive in this situation, but you must remain optimistic. The vast majority of lost pets are recovered. If you act smartly and efficiently, you can further increase those odds, but do take care to watch out for your own mental health as well; it’s necessary to keep sane during this ordeal, for both your sake and your dog. The moment you lay eyes on your furry friend for the first time after reuniting with them, all of the effort you’ve put in to make their safe return possible will be more than worth it.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu
Close Bitnami banner