We all know about putting up “lost dog” flyers in our neighborhood — but did you know there’s more you can do? How you report your dog as lost or missing will depend on the area where you live. Many counties have websites set up through animal services that allow you to create a missing alert for your pet. Call the local animal control or the ASPCA to find out if there is a way to file a lost pet report in your area. Unfortunately, many areas of the country cannot support such services. You have options though.
You can use a lost dog app to create a missing alert. The app will then send out an alert to all users in your area. Here are some apps to consider:
Finding Rover App
Finding Rover utilizes facial recognition software to help match pictures of your dog to dogs listed as found. You can pre-register your pet on Finding Rover making it quick and effortless to create an alert if they do go missing. Finding Rover works with numerous shelters around the country to utilize the technology to bring more lost pets home.
Shadow—Shadow utilizes thousands of volunteers to comb through shelter listings and found reports to help match missing pets with pets located in shelters or reported found by other users. Shadow puts you in touch with a community to help and support you through your search. The app also provides help in creating a flyer to have printed and distributed around the area where your dog went missing.
Shadow is the name of a dog who went missing on the streets of New York City. Her owner utilized social media and eventually found Shadow. From that experience, the idea of the Shadow app that would make it easier to connect a community of animal lovers who could rally together to find missing dogs was born.
PiP is another app that utilizes facial recognition to help match missing and found pets, PiP sends a notification of a missing pet alert to animal control, rescue agencies, users and social media pages in your area.
PawBoost allows you to alert their rescue squad via email and post your lost pet on their Facebook page. For more coverage, you have to pay a fee that creates a promoted post on Facebook. PawBoost has an array of free tools and an extensive searchable database that allows you to search for found dogs matching your dog’s description.
The NextDoor app is not explicitly designed for missing and found pets. Instead, it is an app designed to help neighbors post about things going on in their surrounding neighborhoods. It makes an excellent place to create a missing post about your lost dogs as these are the people most likely to encounter your dog. Create the post, decide how wide a geographic area to include in the post, and ask your neighbors to help.
Once you have issued an alert via a lost pet app, you should utilize the power of social media. Facebook has lost and found pet pages for virtually every area in the country. Create a missing pet post with a picture of your pet, your contact information and a reward amount. Re-post or bump the post often to get it in front of as many eyes as possible.
Use social media to get the word out to your friends, neighbors, and family so that they can help in the search. Ask everyone to share the post so that people you don’t know will see it. Use every social media platform you are on to ask for help in locating your missing four-legged family member.
Physically visit every shelter in your area, and take a flyer with a picture of your pet and your contact information. Ask if they have a way to file a missing pet report, and if not, ask if they will keep the flyer in a prominent place so that you will be contacted if your dog is brought in. Ask each shelter for suggestions in finding your lost dog as they may know of resources unique to your area.
If your dog is microchipped, contact the company immediately. Make sure that your contact information is correct and up to date. Some companies allow you to mark your pet as missing, making it more likely to flag the system if the dog is scanned at any veterinarian or shelter.
“Get out immediately and start shouting and making a lot of noise,” says Emily Weiss, PhD, senior director of shelter research and development for the ASPCA. The good news is that most dogs and cats stay fairly close to where they were originally lost.