Having your dog go missing — either they ran away from home or got separated from you outdoors — can be a very stressful experience. Dogs, especially pedigrees, can also be stolen or kidnapped by people looking to sell or breed them. It’s important to have a plan of action when this happens. Here are some tips on how to find a lost dog in India:
1. Take instant action
The sooner you start looking, the better your chances are of finding a lost dog in India. Quite often dogs can’t find their way back home, so act fast and maximise your efforts within the first 48 hours window.
2. Search last-seen area thoroughly
Walk or drive through the last-seen area and call out his or her name. Remember to check corners, gutters, patches of trees, under parked cars as scared or lost dogs usually hide in dark spaces.
Also check areas around butcher shops, food carts, restaurants and garbage dumps — any place where stray animals find food.
If the dog ran away from home, an important tip for finding a missing dog is to search regular walking routes multiple times. Keep an ear out for faint responses.
3. Talk to everyone
Talk to people in the last-seen area to get clues — shopkeepers, watchmen, municipal workers, vegetable vendors, children, chai-wallahs etc. You can ask the local resident welfare associations (RWA) for help too.
4. Put word out in the right places
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Create a poster of your missing dog using his or her’s latest and clearest (high-resolution) photograph. The poster should include: dog’s name, identification marks, last-seen area and date, your name & contact details and cash reward if possible.
These are the avenues to find a lost dog in India:
- Social media: One of the most important tips for finding a lost dog is to use social media exhaustively. Share the poster online and ask your contacts to re-share. Post on groups for lost pets, dog feeders, dog walkers active in your city.
- Shops: Put these up in and around the area where your dog was last seen. People are more likely to see and register your flyer in places like grocery stores, medical shops, petrol pumps etc. Keep expanding your area of search as needed.
- Newspaper ads: Place large ads in both English and vernacular dailies so that they are seen by more people. This is a very important tip on how to find a lost dog in India as this is a sure shot way of reaching out to the locals.
5. Check with shelters, walkers, feeders and vets
Check with all the shelters in your city to see if your dog has ended up there. Ask stray dog feeder groups within the locality to keep an eye out for your dog too.
Put up posters at veterinary clinics as there are chances that someone who has found your dog, might have taken him or her to the vet.
6. File an FIR
In India, you can go to the police station and file a complaint and FIR for your lost dog. This can be especially relevant in cases of abduction, since there are likely to be patterns of similar instances in and around the area. Provide clear details of your dog’s size, age, breed and identification.
7. Look for CCTV Footage
If you’re wondering how to find a lost dog in India when there were no witnesses, see if the area has security cameras. Track CCTV footage in and around the area to trace where the dog went. Get in touch with your police station or a legal expert to guide you through the process.
8. Respond to every lead
You might get a number of false tips, especially if you have announced a reward. However, follow up on every lead just to be sure. If there are multiple sightings in a particular area, do an extensive search there.
9. Leave your dog’s favourite things out
This one might be a long shot, but it’s worth a try. Instead of thinking about how to find your lost dog, think about how he or she can find you. You can do this by leaving their bedding and toys outside. There are stories of dogs navigating back to their homes by using their heightened sense of smell.
There are many reasons why dogs go missing. It is important to microchip them or use a GPS tracker so that this does not happen again. Meanwhile, don’t lose hope. Sometimes, lost dogs have turned up months or even years after their disappearance. Stay strong!