Animal Control Lost Dog Help: Who to Call

Key takeaways

When you have lost a dog, the panic and distress may make it difficult to make good and practical decisions.

One of these decisions should be reporting your pet missing to animal control. This organization will help you locate your pup and keep them safe.

We explore exactly what they do, who else to call when you've lost a dog, and why starting a PetRadar search may be your best bet.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. What does animal control do for lost pets?
  3. Who else to call for a lost pet?
  4. Start a PetRadar search
  5. FAQs
  6. Final thoughts

What does animal control do for lost pets?

Animal control prioritizes animal care and can be an incredibly valuable organization to help pet parents when their furry friends have gone missing.

What is animal control?

Animal control is an organization responsible for enforcing animal welfare laws. These laws differ in every country, so their roles can seem different in different areas.
Primarily, they work to ensure the safety of both animals and people. This can mean:

Attending calls for stray animals

Organizing adoption programs

Provide care for neglected animals

Conduct home visits to ensure pets are being looked after

A busy animal shelter looking after lost dogs

How can this help lost pets?

So, while animal control won't necessarily go out searching for your lost dog, they are an important organization to notify about any lost pet.
This is because when they get a report of a stray dog, they will be able to identify whether it is actually your lost pet or not. This can prevent your pet from being treated like other stray dogs and will speed up the process of being reunited.
If animal control doesn't know that your pet is lost, they may be taken to an animal shelter. They will scan them for a microchip, so if your pup is chipped, they will be able to see the owner's contact information straight away and contact you.
However, if they have your pet scanned and don't find a microchip, they will assume the dog is a stray, and you may lose them.
A lost dog sitting next to a bench in the city

Who else to call for a lost pet?

For any lost animal, the first step should always be reporting them missing. This will mean more people are on the lookout for your furry friend and will take care of them when they are found.

Local animal shelter

Calling local animal shelters will help the shelter staff identify your pet if they are handed in or when a report is made. Again, this can prevent your pup from remaining in the shelter if they are not microchipped.
Unfortunately, many animal shelters are underfunded and overpopulated. This means that many shelters will have to euthanize animals that are not claimed. You can avoid this nightmare scenario by making sure as many shelters know about your missing pup as possible.
An animal shelter

Dog warden

A dog warden is a fantastic person to report your dog missing. Their job is to keep an eye on stray dogs and missing pets and attend to reports of dogs in the area.
If they know a dog is missing, they will likely go out on patrol, searching for them. They will also be able to notify shelters, veterinary practices, and animal control.
Dog warden looking after a lost dog

Microchip company

It's important you contact your microchip company as soon as possible. This means you can:

Ensure the owner's information is up to date

Report them missing

Ask for their microchip number

The most important element of this is to make sure your details are up to date. Without this, people who find your dog won't be able to return them to you.

Start a PetRadar search

To help spread the message of your missing pet, you can start a PetRadar search. By simply selecting a search radius from where your dog was last seen and uploading a picture of them, we can show this to over 4,000 neighbors.
We do this by using sponsored posts or advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. This means when your neighbors are scrolling through their social media feeds, a missing poster for your dog will pop up.
From this, they'll be able to:

Report a sighting

Save the post for later

Send it to a friend

This improves the chance of a sighting coming in that can lead you to your pup.
Alongside this, we also:

Offer constant support and guidance: Our excellent team will be with you every step of the way. We know how distressing this situation can be, which is why we send you an update on your search every 12 hours and have a fantastic customer service team for any further support you need.

Set up a personal dashboard: We create a dashboard for you to manage your search. Here, you will be able to see how the sponsored post is performing, how many people have seen it, and how many people have interacted with it. You'll also be able to monitor all reported sightings and increase the search area if you wish.

**Send you free missing pet posters: **Our missing pet posters are expertly designed and use unique QR codes, so you don't have to publish private information. After you print these out and distribute them, passers-by simply need to scan the code, and they'll be taken to your pet listing on our website, where they can report a sighting.

PetRadar's expertly designed missing pet poster


What to do if you have lost a dog?

If you have lost a dog, make sure you report them missing straight away. Then go out searching for them, bringing treats and toys with you.

Who do I call when I lose a dog?

When you lose a dog, call the microchip company to ensure details are up to date so shelters can positively identify your pup. Also, call local shelters, veterinary practices, and local papers to make them aware of your missing dog.

Where do dogs go when they are lost?

When dogs are lost, they are likely to go to quiet, unpopulated, and remote areas, like fields, backstreets, or parks.

How long can a lost dog survive for?

A lost dog can survive for a while because of their ability to hunt and adapt to their environment. However, this depends on the breed. For example, German shepherds will be able to survive longer than a Yorkshire Terrier.

What are the odds of finding a lost dog after 24 hours?

Over 90% of lost dogs are found, so your chances of finding your lost pup after 24 hours is very high.

How can I track my dog?

You can track your dog using a GPS tracker on their collar. Unfortunately, you can't use their microchip as they don't contain a GPS.

Can police help with missing dog?

It's unlikely the police can help with a missing dog. Instead, call the dog warden, veterinary practices, and animal shelters for help.

Final thoughts

Animal control, local shelters, veterinary practices, and dog wardens will all have access to a lost and found database of dogs. This means you must make them aware of your missing pup to avoid any confusion or unfortunate scenarios.
They'll be able to give you the best advice and increase the chances of finding your furry friend.

Written by

Image of the author
Lauren Jeffries

In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.

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