Just yesterday we talked about some great dog-friendly travel destinations for your summer vacation. I hope I got you dreaming of a fun time away with your dog, even in spite of the current COVID-19 situation in the world. It’s still very possible to travel safely with your dog.
But what if the unthinkable happened? What if your dog went missing while you’re traveling? Would you know what to do? Keep reading while I discuss 7 things to do if your dog gets lost on vacation.
7 Things to Do If Your Dog Gets Lost on Vacation
1. Plan ahead
Before hitting the open road, take some time to ensure the safety of
your traveling dog. Purchase an appropriate pet carrier that will keep your pooch comfy and away from harm while in the vehicle and in the hotel.
Be sure your dog’s identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to its collar or better yet. This is so important. An ID tag saved my dog’s life.
Also, be sure to have your dog microchipped. This simple little chip slipped just beneath your dog’s skin will increase the odds of getting back to you if lost.
Go over your dog’s basic obedience training to refresh both your memories. With all the excitement of travel, having your dog listen to commands is an excellent way to keep her from becoming lost in the first place.
2. Make “Lost Dog” Flyers
As soon as you realize your dog is missing, it’s important to start spreading the word. Using a recent photo of your dog, make “lost dog” flyers and post them around the area where your dog was last seen and where you are staying.
Also, use this flyer to hand out to passersby to help increase the number of folks keeping an eye open for your pooch.
Be sure to include the following information on the flyer:
● LOST PET or LOST DOG in bold
● Recent photograph
● Dog’s name
● Your correct phone number
● A brief description of the dog
● Any important medical information
3. Visit the Locals
Use the flyer by passing it out to local businesses, veterinarians, rescue organizations, pet stores, and groomers. When an animal is running loose, these places will most likely be the folks that will know about it and most likely the ones that will want to help out.
Also, be sure to ask these locals if there is a professional organization in the area that helps track down lost pets.
4. Use Social Media
Post your pet’s picture and information on social media. This is one of the fastest ways to get the word out.
If your vacation region has an online lost pets board or group” get your mutt’s information on there, too.
The more eyes on your dog’s picture, the more likely you are to get her back.
5. Contact HomeAgain
HomeAgain is a database for microchips and has reunited over two million lost pets with their pet parents.
Call 1-888-HomeAgain to set the process in motion. Their ‘Rapid Lost Pet Alert’ will use your pet’s photo/flyer and share it with local shelters, volunteers, and vet clinics within a 25-mile radius.
When an animal is brought in, they will scan the microchip to ensure it is indeed your lost dog before they arrange for a pickup.
6. Leave Your “Scent” Behind
If you can, leave an item of your dog (or yours) in the area where your pet went missing – be sure the spot is away from traffic or other dangerous situations so your pooch will feel safe when she returns.
A dog’s sense of smell is thousands of times better than ours, so placing something familiar may help get your dog safely home if your dog gets lost on vacation.
7. Visit the Dog Park
Because dogs will be attracted to the scent of other dogs, it’s a good idea to visit the local dog park and hand out your flyer.
Talk to the folks there and personalize your pooch, so the visitors will be more apt to keep an eye out for an unaccompanied “stray.”
Another important thing to do is don’t blame yourself. Or your significant other. Or your kids. Or anyone else who’s traveling with you. Dogs have a way of getting away from us when we least expect it, and it’s no one’s fault. Right now, the most important thing is to focus on finding your pet, not on placing blame.
I can’t imagine anything more horrific than losing my dog while traveling, and I hope you’re never faced with this situation. But if you are, employing each of the above tips will increase the odds of being reunited with your beloved pooch.
What will you do if your dog gets lost on vacation?
If you’ve lost your dog while traveling away from home, I’d love to learn about your experience, as well as what worked for you in order to locate your dog. Leave a comment below, or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there.