How to Report a Lost Dog: Key People to Notify

PetRadar's expert team that you can report a lost dog to

Key takeaways

Losing a dog is one of the most stressful things a pet parent can go through. Our panic and distress can often cloud our judgment.

The most important thing to remember is to report your dog missing as soon as possible.

In this guide, we explore why reporting your pet is essential before exploring exactly who to report them to and how.

Quick Navigation

  1. Key takeaways
  2. Why you should report a lost dog
  3. Who to report a lost dog to
  4. FAQs
  5. Final thoughts

Why you should report a lost dog

The first step you should take when you realize your dog is missing is to report them. This will greatly improve your chances of finding them as soon as possible. There are many reasons why reporting a lost pet is essential, so let's take a look at a few:

So shelters know your dog is a pet: Many lost dogs will end up in the local animal shelter after being spotted. If these shelters aren't aware that your pup is a pet, they may put them up for adoption or even euthanize them if they aren't claimed. The more shelters in the know, the safer your dog is and the more chance you'll have of reuniting with them.

To spread the message: The more people on the lookout for your missing pet, the better. If you spread the message far and wide, you're more likely to get a reported sighting that leads you to your pup.

For your dog's safety: Organizations dedicated to keeping lost pets and stray animals safe can take the right steps to prioritize your dog's wellbeing in this stressful time.

For advice and help: Trying to find a lost dog when you are stressed, panicked, and emotional can feel impossible. This is why getting professional help and advice can make all the difference and increase the chances of you reuniting with your best bud.

a lost dog

Who to report a lost dog to

Now that you know why you should report your missing pet, you need to know who to report it to and how. Many people are unaware of the steps they need to take until it’s too late, so let’s break it down.

Local animal shelters

As we mentioned, local shelters are one of the most important places to report your pup missing. They'll be able to:

Check their current dogs

Check reported sightings

Advise on your next steps

When you talk to your local shelter, be sure to:

Provide photos: Emailing or sending shelter photos will make it much easier for them to identify your pup if it is handed in. Clear images of memorable physical traits will help a lot!

Provide contact details: Including as many contact details as possible in your report will make it easier for the shelter to keep you updated. Provide phone numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses.

Provide a description: A description of both your dog's physical appearance and personality is important. Shelters need to know how to act around your dog if they are found, and knowing whether they are shy, timid, aggressive, or confident will help them do this.

an animal shelter for lost dogs


When you report your dog missing with PetRadar, we'll do all we can to get them home. First, we create a digital missing dog poster and distribute it on social media as a sponsored post or an advertisement.
This targets people in your area, meaning over 4,000 neighbors will be alerted to your lost dog. So, when your neighbors are scrolling through their Facebook and Instagram feeds, they'll see your furry friend. From the post, they can report them missing, send it to a friend, or save it for later.
We'll also:

Send you a personalized, free, and printable missing dog poster: We create an expertly designed missing pet poster for your pup. It'll have all of the information you submit, as well as a QR code that passers-by can scan to report a sighting. This means you don't have to share your personal contact details with the public.

Offer constant support and guidance: Our team of pet lovers will be there for you every step of the way. We'll instantly notify you when a sighting is reported, send you updates on your search every 12 hours, and provide you with hundreds of articles full of advice.

List your missing pet on our website: We'll create a listing of your lost dog on our website. This means if anyone finds your pup and searches for lost dogs in the area, the listing will pop up, and they'll be able to contact you.

PetRadar's free downloadable lost dog poster

Local animal control

Animal control is responsible for keeping the community and the animals within the community safe. This makes them an essential organization to notify. They will be able to:

Notify local dog wardens: Many areas will have dedicated dog wardens who are required to attend to reports of stray dogs and missing dogs. They will have extensive knowledge of the area and will be able to give you some hands-on help searching for them.

Provide helpful resources: Certain resources, like humane traps and fences, can be especially helpful for securing a lost dog. However, they can be hard to find and expensive. Animal control will be kitted out to help you every step of the way.

Help the search effort: The more people helping out the search effort, the more ground you can cover. It's likely members of animal control will be able to help physically search to increase your chances of finding your pup.

Animal control catching a lost dog

The more people helping out the search effort, the more ground you can cover.


When people find a lost pet, their first instinct is often to take them to a vet for a check-up. The vet will likely:

Scan them for a microchip

Check for injuries and health conditions

Give them some basic nutrients, food, and water

By contacting the vets in your local community, they'll be able to contact you as soon as any dog that matches your pup's description is handed in. Towns and cities will have more than one veterinarian, so make sure you contact as many clinics as possible.
A lost dog being checked up on by a vet


Do police deal with lost dogs?

The police department will deal with stolen dogs because a crime has been committed, but they won't often deal with lost dogs. Instead, contact Animal Control and your local dog warden.

Who should I contact if I lose my dog?

If you lose your dog, report them missing straight away to local shelters, animal control, local veterinarians, and your community dog wardens.

What to do if you've lost a dog?

If you've lost a dog, you should report them missing straight away to local shelters and Animal Control. Then, start a thorough physical search and spread the message to your neighbors through posters and a PetRadar search.

How do I report a lost dog?

To report a lost dog, call up local animal shelters in your area and contact local Animal Control. They'll be able to help you in your search efforts and give you expert advice.

What are the odds of finding a lost dog?

The majority of lost dogs are found, meaning the odds of finding your furry friend are good! To increase the chances, make sure you report them missing straight away and start a thorough physical search.

Final thoughts

A lost pet report is essential to getting your furry friend home as soon as possible. In addition to these efforts, be sure to create plenty of social media posts for neighborhood WhatsApp and Facebook groups.
If you're still looking for your best bud, start a PetRadar search. We'll support you every step of the way and ensure over 4000 of your neighbors are alerted about your missing dog.

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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