How To Locate A Lost Dog: 8 Tricks Included

How To Locate A Lost Dog

About the Author: Nettie Finley, the Professional Dog Trainer at MyPetDoggie. Specializing in behavior rehabilitation, Nettie leads our team with her effective training techniques. As a certified canine behaviorist, she brings transformative change to challenging behavior cases. Her experience and expertise elevate our content, providing practical, insightful training advice for our readers. Also, she loves her Cavapoo!

What can be worse than losing your little furry best friend out there in a ruthless world with no food or water?  

Dogs are usually the happiest when we go out for an evening walk or hike. It can be helpful to strengthen your bond with each other. There are times when dogs can go on sniffing around something or get lost in the woods. It is a dreadful situation.

There is no doubt that your little furry friend is as much as you are. Rationally and calmly analyze the situation and make an effective plan. The best way to manage the situation is not to panic and organize a big search party, involve your friends, family, or neighborhood, and start searching for your little fella before things get out of hand.   

The trick is to tackle the situation calmly and effectively. So, this post will show how to locate your lost dog within a short period of time and by what method you can find your dog as soon as possible.    

How To Locate A Lost Dog With 8 Tricks

dog lost
This picture guides you the location of your dog

1) Check Your Home:

There are good chances that your dog can be hiding in your home or they just came by dog flap behind your back. Before classifying them as missing dogs, try to search the home thoroughly.

Make sure to look at wardrobes or cabinets. Don’t forget to look at storage rooms or the basement. There is a higher possibility that poor little things can be stuck somewhere in the garage. 

 2) Contact Animal Shelters and Rescue Organisations:

Drop all the necessary information to animal shelters near your area. Go straight to rescue organizations whenever you can’t find a dog on your own. Animal shelters have a professional team and they use effective means that can help to locate a lost dog within 24 hours. 

3) Contact Veterinary Clinics:

A healthy dog is a happy dog is what every dog’s vet likes to say. Normally, vets are very friendly with dogs. That’s why dogs share a very special bond with their vet as well. Dogs are usually around the veterinary clinic whenever he’s anxious. So, make sure to check around your local veterinary clinics as well.   

4) Walk or Drive Around your Neighborhood:

There is a high chance that the dog is just playing around or hiding in your neighborhood. Maybe your neighbor’s kids are fond of your dog. They love to play with him. Make sure to check in your neighborhood or drive around the neighborhood. 

5) Organize a Search Party:

The first and foremost thing is not to panic. The best way to tackle the situation is to act as quickly as possible. Organize a search party and inspect the immediate area where your dog was last seen. Don’t feel shy to ask as many people for help. It’s better than to feel guilty.

Gather as many people as you can and organize a huge search party for the missing dog. Make sure to bring along the dog’s favorite food or any favorite toy to pull them out of their hiding spots.

6) Involve technology :

Technology can be beneficial in locating a lost dog. There is a chance that your little fella is visiting a particular area or he is too timid to come home. One of the best ways to find him is to place the dog’s favorite food or his favorite treats in their spots.

Place a camera around the corner that can help inform you whenever your dog visits the area. Once you have an idea when your dog stops by the area, try to use a humane trap to catch them. Try to approach him calmly. Don’t rush things or don’t try to chase him. It can only scare him away or there are chances that they can bite you. 

 7) Use social media:

Make good use of social media to find the lost dog. Make an announcement on all social media accounts and add info regarding the missing dog. For example, post five to six clear snaps of the dog, mention precisely around what time and date the dog went missing, and most importantly your name and phone number.

Notify people around you and share important details on relevant Facebook groups. These groups contain animal lovers who are more than happy to help you locate a lost dog.

There is a good chance that some people want to take advantage of your situation. These scammers can call you and claim to have your dog and demand money. The best solution is to not mention all the details of the dog in the groups and try to omit some minor characteristics of the dog.  

 8) Create and distribute flyers:

Don’t just rely on social media. Flyers can prove to be very useful to find a lost dog. Try to make attractive flyers with the bold caption “ Missing Dog” that can grab the attention of every age group.

It should contain all specific information about the dog’s breed, a clear pic, the precise location where your dog was last seen, and most importantly contact information. 

Make sure to post and hand the flyers on important sites where the dog went missing. If possible, go door to door in the neighborhood and hang the flier on their doors. Hand out the flier to all the people who visit the area often. 

You might be interested in: Learn effective methods for finding a lost dog at night and ensuring their safety.

What Are The Chances Of Finding  A  Lost Dog?

It is devastating to know not to be able to locate a little best friend. According to my research, the chances of finding a dog microchipped are much higher.

What Are The Chances Of Finding  A  Lost Dog
Dog sits in a car with a rescue member

The odds of returning a lost dog are high if they are lost somewhere in the neighborhood or any recognizable place, but the unfortunate thing is that the further away the dog is lost, the lesser the chances of his returning to his home.

But the worst thing to do is panic and lose hope. Make an effective plan and start the search of the home, neighborhood, or any place you expect your dog might be. 

Chances are the dog is on his way to you. To reduce the possibility of losing your dog again, make sure to microchip your dog and make sure he’s wearing his collar with your name and contact info. ASPCA study states that 15% of lost dogs are more likely to be found if the owner has put the collar with his name and address on it.  

Why Do Dogs Run Away:

I believe that dogs don’t take off on their own. That is a strong reason why they run away from their owners.

Why Do Dogs Run Away
A dog lying in a garden in front of his owner

I have gathered a couple of reasons why a dog might run away.

Confinement :

Providing a safe and comfortable environment for the dog should be forest prior. I think that just imprisoning a dog in a home to keep him protected is a wrong practice.  Dogs want space and if the owner continues to trap them all day in a house, dogs will flee at the first opportunity they find. So, make sure to provide as much space as the dog wants.


I heard many stories about dogs running away from their owners because they feel nervous around them. It is their way of coping with anxiety. They don’t want to be in that house or around people that make them unsafe. There is a chance that the dog feels threatened by his owner, and that’s why he ran away. Try to be more calm around them and avoid raising your voice in front of them. 

Dull routine:

Like humans, animals do love to have a fun routine. They want to play and have some fun activities with their owner. Lack of concern from their owner forces them to run away from their homes. That’s why make sure to schedule some time out of your routine with the dog and do some fun activities.  

How To Find A Lost  With A Tractive  GPS Dog Tracker:

 One of the best things a dog owner can do is to equip his dog with the Tractive GPS Dog Tracker. With the help of a tractive GPS, you can easily track a dog. If you are not familiar with how to use a Tractive GPS Dog Tracker,  you came to the right place. I will be guiding you on how to use a Tractive GPS Dog Tracker in case your little fella goes missing.

Activate Live Tracking:

Make sure to activate live tracking in case you forgot to activate it. It helps to trace down exactly where your little fella is.

Check Recent Location:

With the help of a recent location, you can easily figure out where your dog was during the last few hours. This feature is one of the best to track and locate a lost dog.

Tractive GPS Tracker
The Tracking Map Guidance

Use the “Virtual Fence” Feature:

Virtual Fence is used to restrict the perimeter of a dog. It is helpful to secure the area where your dog is not allowed to go, for example, grocery stores or crowded places where dogs can easily be lost. It notifies you   immediately whenever he enters such places where  you normally don’t want him to be at 

Share Living Tracking Link:

Make sure to share the dog’s living tracking link with your neighbor in case the dog is not back within an hour. Sharing a tracking link with a number of people aids in finding lost dogs more easily. Seeking help from others can locate the missing dog more easily.  

Go To The Last Seen Location:

Sometimes the dog is nearby, but you are not able to see him because he’s behind the woods or running after something.

Seeing his last seen location really helps to see his whereabouts. Make sure to share the last seen location with local shelters and vets as they have a team of professionals who can locate a lost dog. 

What To Do If I Find Someone’s Lost Dog

You may come across a  lost dog whenever you go for a run in the morning. Here are a few tips if you ever encounter a lost dog.

What To Do If I Find Someone’s Lost Dog
Two-tone collar sits and show his emotional signs

Approach the Dog Cautiously:

Remember that the dog is already frightened and nervous as he can’t find his owner. He’s already in an unknown location around unfamiliar faces. Approach him calmly. Avoid any harsh movement or raise a voice in front of him in case he is violent. Contact local animal rescues. They will deal with him professionally.  

Check for Identification

The best way to know the identity of a lost dog is to check the dog’s collar. Most collars contain the dog’s owner’s name or address. If there isn’t any info, notify the local animal shelter or veterinarians. They will help to trace the dog’s owner.  Check if the dog is microchipped. A microchip can identify the owner more easily. Make sure the dog is in safe hands. 


Another thing to do when finding a lost dog is to make flyers. Make sure to post flyers on every important site, for example, parking lots, grocery stores, or parks. Make some creative flyers that can attract the attention of every passer-by. 

Social  Media 

Take a few snaps of the lost dog and share it on all social media accounts. Make sure to add all the relevant information i.e., the dog’s breed and pics in the lost and found social media groups that are easily accessible on Facebook. 

   Online Scammer:

Beware of the scammers online. They will claim to be the owners of the lost dog. The best way to handle the situation is not to add all the information about the lost dog. Ask the questions about the lost dog or if they have any proof of whether or not they are the owner. If skeptical, notify authorities about scammers. 

Common Question:

Do lost dogs get scared?

No one wants to lose his furry best friend. Losing a beloved pet can be a terrifying event for dog lovers. For your little best friend, losing himself can be the most traumatizing experience of their lifetime. Lost dogs become very scared and nervous even when they are around their loved ones.

How far can a dog smell their owner?

Dogs are famous for having an excellent sense of smell. Typically, it is noticed that a dog can detect its owner’s smell within 40 feet away.

How long can a lost dog survive?

It is important to start searching for your dog the second you realize your dog is missing. Generally, it is observed that a lost dog’s survival depends on how it gets hold of water and food. Typically, a lost dog can survive without food for up to five days if he has access to water.

What do lost dogs eat? 

It is as clear as day that a lost dog is not having good food out there. They might be eating rotten vegetables, and fruits or it could be chicken eggs and anything available in the trash cans in parks and grocery stores.

Why shouldn’t you chase a lost dog?

Lost dogs are nervous and frightened. Chasing them will make them more scared and terrified. Some dogs can be violent if they are being chased.

Do lost dogs move at night?

It is recommended to conduct a search for a lost dog at night since lost dogs are more likely to move around in darkness.

How far can a dog travel in a day?

How long a dog can travel depends on the size and age group of the dog. It is observed that younger and smaller dogs can travel up to roughly 15 miles a day. Older people are more likely to walk less than the young ones.


Instead of panicking, the best thing to do was to act quickly and think with clarity. Time is of the essence. To act quickly means to find your little furry best friend quickly. So, gather some basic data about how to locate a dog or where you saw him last time, and then start your hunt as soon as possible. 

There are some important practices we can incorporate in our daily lives to prevent this from happening again. Make sure the dog is microchipped and all the details on the chip are up to date. Make a daily routine to practice commands with your dog. So, they can find their way on their own in case you get separated from them.

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