So your dog has taken himself for a walk and didn’t leave you a note. So you’re sitting at home worried he’s off getting into trouble, which he probably is. So what should you do when your dog escapes?
First think ahead. You should always keep your dog’s information up to date for just this reason. Now I know this doesn’t help you in the present but future you will thank you. If you keep your current phone number on your dog’s collar then whoever finds them can quickly get a hold of you and get your loved one home to you. If your dog’s collar has a rabies tag on it from your veterinary clinic then a finder has the ability to also contact your veterinarian to let them know they have found a dog from their clinic.
You can also call your veterinary clinic as soon as your dog escapes the house or yard so that they can keep any eye out for him in case someone calls or brings him in. Microchipping is an excellent way to ensure your dog always has ID on them. Collars can slip off but a microchip cannot! If your dog is found and brought into a veterinary clinic or taken to Animal Care and Control, a microchip with current contact information will ensure that you and your dog are reunited as soon as possible.
Did you know that Animal Care and Control has a website with all the lost animals that are brought into the facility? Within 15 mins of an animal being brought into the facility, their picture is taken and put onto the website. The animal is of course also examined, checked for ID and given medical treatment if necessary. Their website is a good place to start looking when your pet is lost.
You can search by species and the day your pet went missing. There are also Facebook groups for lost pets for in and around the Edmonton area. You can post a current picture and people in that area can message you if your dog is spotted. Was your dog adopted from a Rescue group? Contact them! Rescue groups can also post on their Facebook page that your dog is lost with a picture and many times other dog parents or rescue volunteers are so wonderful that they join in the search for your loved one.
When going out looking for your lost dog make sure to bring their favourite treat and toy with you and as many friendly faces as you can. Your dog might be quite frightened and hiding but the sound of their favourite squeaky toy might just be enough to give them the courage to come out from that bush they’re hiding in. Chasing them usually does not result in catching them. Instead, try running the other way laughing and calling them, they will think you’re playing a game of chase and might just run to catch you! Sometimes sitting on the ground making funny noises to peek a running dogs interest to stop and take note. Once you have their attention pull out those treats! If they won’t chase you or come to you, you can always try to herd them into an area they can’t get out of. Always keep in mind that a scared animal can act unpredictably and you should always be calm and quiet if they appear frightened. You may just have to sit near them, talking to them, until they feel safe enough to come out to you. It may take some time but at least you know they are safe and they are not out running in traffic.
If you find a lost animal always call 311 to report it so that the Peace officers from Animal Care and Control can come pick the animal up and reunite it with their owner. Don’t worry; if the animal doesn’t have ID the pet will still have its picture on the website for its owners to find it and in the unfortunate situation where the animal is not claimed it then has the chance to be transferred to the Edmonton Humane Society and be adopted into a wonderful home.
Written by Nicki Dahlseide