What to Do When Your Dog Runs Away

If you have a dog, you have probably experienced them running away or getting out of the yard when they are not supposed to. Personally, none of our dogs have ever run away until I was home for this winter break. What an unnerving experience! I immediately panicked and started calling out for them but they didn’t come back like they normally do. I was completely distraught. However, three hours later with the miracle of Facebook, they were found by someone in the next neighborhood over. I learned a lot of helpful tools from the Facebook community that I figured I would share. 

First of all, make sure they are microchipped. It is now common practice for dogs and cats to be microchipped. This is a tiny chip that goes under their skin. If they are found by a shelter, they can scan where the chip is, get the serial number and run it in the national database which has your information. They then contact you and you can pick up your pet. 

Also, make sure they have collars with identification. This way, if someone finds them they can call you. There are even tags they have that can be sewn into the collars. This way they have a lesser chance of snagging on something and also don't jiggle when they walk around the house. 

Next contact your neighbors. Now, you can do this in a couple of different ways. I went around my neighborhood and knocked on their doors and spoke to them. However, there are a variety of different apps that connect people in neighborhoods and areas. I have an app called Nextdoor and it helps me connect with people in the area that have the same interests and things going on. 

Also, connect with your local SPCAs. The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in my area has a “matching database” where you can enter your pet's information and it will connect you with people who have found pets that look like yours. It also gives the SPCA your information in case someone comes in with a pet that matches your description. 

The way in which I was able to find our pets since they weren’t wearing their collars when we lost them was through Facebook. I made a post explaining that they ran off, about where they ran off, their description, breed, age and how I could be reached. I made the post public so people could share it and joined a bunch of local pages and posted it there. Within 40 minutes, my post had been shared 22 times and they were home; truly insane how well it worked. 

Hopefully, you will never have to do any of these steps but if you do, don’t be too hard on yourself. It happens, pets run off and hopefully, your fur baby will either come back or be returned to you.