Realizing your dog is lost is one of the worst things you can experience, but we've compiled a comprehensive list of steps below that you can refer to and follow if the situation should arise. We hope you'll find this list useful as a guide, so that even in the moment of panic, you can be sure you're doing every possible thing to find your dog.
1. Prevention is key—before you read on, you should go download the Finding Rover app and register your dog. This way, if your dog does get lost in the future, you won't have to go through your photos to find a clear picture of your dog and go through the registration process in a moment of panic. Take a minute to download the app and register your dog before reading on.
2. When you realize you've lost your dog, report him as missing on the Finding Rover app immediately. Do this before you proceed with the following steps so you'll know that other people will be keeping their eye out for your dog while you carry out the rest of the steps.
3. Go around the area where you have lost your dog immediately after you realize you've lost him and show passers-by a photo of your dog (the photo you use for the Finding Rover app is great as it shows his markings and face clearly). Let pedestrians know that your dog has strayed from you and to call you if they should see him.
4. Call a friend or family member to come meet you at the spot where you last saw your dog. At this point, you can do one of two things. One of you (preferably you) should stay in the area while the other goes to your home to gather necessities for your dog—his favorite treats, a toy, a blanket, and some food. Lost dogs often stay in the same area from where they first strayed from their owners and will use these surroundings as a home base.
5. If you still have not reunited with your dog after several hours, call the shelters and rescues in your city, and let them know that your dog has gone missing, giving them a clear description of your dog.
6. The following day, create lost dog posters and circulate them at the local shelters and rescues, and distribute them in your neighborhood and the area where you've lost your dog. We have very detailed posts on how to make effective lost dog posters, as well as where to place these posters.
7. When you have finally found your dog, remember that the longer he's been apart from you, the more carefully you need to approach him. Even if you've had your dog since he was a puppy, having to be on his own will have put him in survival mode. Check out our post on how to approach your dog once you've found him.
8. Last but not least, as we've said before, prevention is key! We recommend creating a Lost Dog Emergency Kit, as well as reading up on our extensive collection of lost dog tips to most effectively go about reuniting with your lost dog!