Dogs Trust

What do I do if I've lost my dog?

No matter how careful you are to make sure that your dog can't wander off or escape from your property, even the most obedient dog can disappear on occasion! Hopefully your dog will find his way home or will be returned by a kind member of the public, but if he doesn't you should contact the following:

Your Local Authority Dog Warden

  • Dogs that are found straying will usually be picked up by a local Dog or Animal Warden and taken to a holding kennel. Dog Wardens are legally responsible for stray dogs and so this is the first place that you should call. Call surrounding areas too, dogs can travel quite far when they want to!
  • You should be able to contact your local Dog Warden through your local council.
  • The Dog Warden must legally hold onto a stray dog for five days before they can rehome him, pass him onto a rehoming organisation, or have him humanely put to sleep.

Kennels and Rehoming Centres

  • Even if the Dog Warden has no record of your pet being handed in, ask them for the details of their holding kennels and call them anyway. A member of the public may have taken your dog there directly.
  • Contact any other kennels in the area, including boarding kennels.
  • Contact all the rehoming centres in your area, such as Dogs Trust, DSPCA, ISPCA or Blue Cross.

You may also find that there are some small local sanctuaries. Do an online search or look in your local phone directory under ‘Animal Welfare’ for contact details of these. You can also try your vet or local library.

Veterinary Surgeries

  • Phone around all of the veterinary surgeries in your area. Your dog may have been involved in a traffic accident or a dog fight and may have been taken to the vet for treatment.
  • Leave your details with the vet and they will contact you, should a dog of his description come into the surgery for treatment.
  • Also inform FIDO or your microchip database that your dogs is lost as they should notify you if someone tries to change the details.

Noticeboards and Registers

  • Occasionally a member of the public will take in a stray pet and look after it until the owner is found. We do not advise people to do this, but if they do they must contact the Dog Warden.
  • It is worth checking the local vet surgeries, supermarket notice boards, shops, libraries, local newspapers and other public notice boards to see if anyone is searching for the owner of a dog that fits your pet’s description.
  • Ask if you can put notices up in these places – preferably a colour poster with an up-to-date photograph of your dog

Local Areas & Buildings

  • Visit places where you usually walk your dog; he may have just decided to walk himself!
  • Look around your local area and if you have moved house recently, ask around at your last address. It is surprising how far dogs have been known to travel.
  • If there are any building sites or workmen in your area, ask around in case your dog has become trapped somewhere on site.