How to Find a Lost Dog


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Dogs are known for being loyal and protective animals.

When they become lost, it can be a frightening experience for both the dog and the owner.

Fortunately, there are ways to increase the chances of finding a lost dog! By following these tips, if you happen to chance across a lost dog, you'll have the best chance of getting the dog back home safe and sound. (Even your dog, if it gets lost!)

This post will discuss these questions, with answers from dog rescue volunteers as well.

How to find a lost dog with microchip

One of the best and easiest ways to find a lost dog's owner is in their microchips. This way, if they are ever found by someone else, they can easily be scanned and traced back to you.

Most animal shelters will have a scanner on hand, so always make sure your contact information is up-to-date should your pet get lost.

If not, most vet clinics also have a scanner, which will help in finding the owner of the lost dog.

How to find a lost dog with collar tag

Not all dogs have microchips, so another way to identify them is by having a collar with tags that has their owner's contact information on it, which is great if you happen to find a lost dog.

This is especially important if you live in an area where there are lots of coyotes or other animals that may prey on dogs.

Make sure the tags are always readable and visible - this is especially true in rural areas, where people can often mistake our lost dogs for wild ones, coyotes or wolves.

How to find a lost dog at night

Finding a lost dog at night can be trickier, as dogs in general tend to find shelters and little burrows at night for safety.

where do lost dogs go at night

Sometimes, scared dogs will hide in the day, and only move under the cover of darkness.

If it's after dark, you could always turn on your porch lights to help signal the lost dog.

This is especially helpful if they are skittish - turning on bright lights will make them feel safe and secure in their surroundings instead of feeling like every shadow might be a threat.

Also having more than one person helps too!

Having someone else with you means that there'll also be two pairs of eyes looking out for the pup or his owner 🙂

Finding a lost dog with another dog

Sometimes, the best way to find a lost dog at night is.. With another dog.

Thanks to a dog's sense of smell and hearing, typically dogs are far better at that than us with a flashlight.

If you have a dog, try to walk around your neighborhood at night with them on a leash.

This way, should they get lost during the first search and wander off again, it will be easier for someone else to spot them as well.

You can also go back to where they were last seen so that if there was any blood trail or fur found from their initial disappearance, you know where to look best.

If you do find any fur or blood, it's good - your dog might be able to actually track down where they are, and get the lost dog the medical attention it needs.

How to find a lost dog in the woods

If you live in a rural area, or your lost dog is more likely to wander off into the wilderness, there are some extra things you can do to find them.

If you spotted a lost dog in the forests, you could put food and water out near where they were last seen - dogs will often return to their favorite spots.

You could also set up a temporary shelter or bed using a tarp and branches so that if they are injured or feeling lost, they'll have a place to rest.

Make sure to post flyers with your pet's photo around the areas where they were last seen, as well as contact local rescue shelters and vets clinics.

There may be someone who has found your dog and brought them in without realizing it!


To recap: If you found a lost dog, it is important to take some time and think about the best way to help them.

The first thing that should always happen is finding out if they have an owner or not by looking for tags with their name on it.

If they are wearing one of these tags, call your local animal shelter immediately because this will be easier than trying to reunite the two yourself!

Once you know who has been missing their pup, make sure they go straight home instead of staying in unfamiliar territory which can cause anxiety for both humans and animals.

about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.

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