Who Let The Dogs Out! – What To Do In The Event Your Dog Gets Loose Outside
Even the most vigilant dog owner probably has a story about the one time their dog got out or off their leash. As we head into the part of the year where more people are heading outside with their dogs, Little Shelter wanted to help give some insight on what you should do if your dog somehow gets out.
*If you are with your dog when this happens, remain calm. Call the dog over to you and act like nothing is wrong. – If you change the tone of your voice or start acting in a different manner, your dog will notice and might avoid coming to you sensing something is wrong. Avoid having onlookers calling the dog, this can confuse him and make him nervous. As long as your dog knows basic commands and isn’t bolting away from you, in most cases they will return to your side.
*If the dog bolts away from you – Avoid having onlookers or friends chase after the dog, this can encourage the dog to continue to flee either out of fear or thinking that you’re playing a game. Follow the dog and wait till they stop, then call the dog to you as you normally would. Again, you want to focus on keeping the dog in your sight but do not let the dog sense you’re nervous/anxious.
What to do if your dog goes missing:
- If applicable – Call the Rescue/Shelter you adopted the dog from! They will want to be notified and often have resources available to help you. Most rescues want to be notified immediately if a dog gets loose.
- Print out COLOR flyers of the dog with a recent GOOD photo, specifically point out any unique markings. With smart phones and other technology that’s so common today, it’s pretty easy to get a clear photo of your canine friend. Make sure to get a photo from a well lit location, where details and colors are very clear. If there is a unique marking, make sure to photograph that.
- Place flyers of your dog in EVERY mailbox in a 2-3 block radius. You’d be surprised how often dogs get out and bolt into the neighbor’s yard. Go around the neighborhood and place flyers on poles, community boards, in stores and anywhere else you can think of within a 5-10 mile radius.
- Advise people NOT to leave food out. – Most dogs don’t travel far from home and are more likely to return if they can’t find food sources. People leaving food out have led to dogs remaining on the run for months. The only one who should leave food out is the owner.
- Find out your options for a dog trap. – While cat traps are easy to manage, dog traps can be tricky and should be handled by someone with experience. If your dog is missing it’s advisable to contact your local town shelter or rescue to see if they have a trapper on staff who can help you, or if they can recommend a private service.
- If your dog is microchipped, alert the company that the dog is missing and see what they can do to help. Many offer rewards and will automatically send out alerts to rescues, shelters, and vet offices.
- Call and notify local veterinary offices about the missing dog and bring them a flyer. That way if a Good Samaritan brings in your dog, they can quickly notify you.
Of course the best way to retrieve a missing dog, is to not give them the opportunity to go missing in the first place. Here are some helpful tips to keep your dogs safe:
Before letting your dog out into the fenced yard, walk the perimeter and check that all gates are locked and there are no holes in or at the base of the fence or loose boards the dog can pull off. Also check that there is nothing leaning against the fence or stacked near it that the dog could use as a way to climb over.
Never leave dogs outside unattended; a dog who is being engaged won’t look for a way out. Also small dogs should never be unattended as they can be prey for foxes and predatory birds.
Keep dogs from jumping out of the car during travel by having them buckled in and keep the windows closed or only cracked. Not only will this keep them safe in the case of an accident, but will also prevent them from distracting you while on the road.
Avoid screen doors and windows. – Dogs can bust right through door screens as well as window screens. If you want to open the window, open the top panel instead of the bottom to decrease the chances of Fido jumping through the screen.
***Always make sure you dog is collared with ID tags when in the home and outside. Make sure all ID tags and microchips are up to date with current information***