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What to Do if Your Dog Stolen

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 9 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Dog Lost Stolen Rota Squeaky Toys Balls

Many dog owners have experienced that awful feeling when their dog goes missing. It may be only for a few moments but the feeling of panic can over ride all sane thoughts until he is safely back on his lead or home safe and sound.

When a dog goes missing the first hours are most important; his scent is fresh and people that may have seen something are still in the area.

Don’t Panic

It’s so easy to crumble under the shock and sit weeping – this will not help your dog.


Don’t start screaming out your dog’s name. Call, in a playful friendly way just as you would when normally calling him for his meal or in play. A high pitched voice will scare him, he may think he has been naughty and stay away.


If you are in a park stop and take stock: how many exits are there? When last seen in what direction was your dog heading? If you drove there go check your car in case he is waiting for your return.

Local Dog Walkers

As you walk around looking for and calling your dog, speak to other dog walkers and responsible adults. They may have seen your dog or will help in the search. Quite often a dog will run off to play with another dog without a single thought for his distraught owner.

Park Warden

If a park warden mans the park, let him know that there is a missing dog and his help is needed.

Tea Rooms and Shops

Are there any form of shops and cafes near by? Would your dog be enticed by the odour of food? Ask the people working there to look out for your dog and leave a phone number that you can be contacted on, preferably a mobile.

Friends and Family

Call on friends and family to come and help in the search. Ask them to bring any photos of your dog that they may have to hand. Whatever you do stay put in the area in case the dog comes back.


Check that your dog has not gone home, ideally by ringing someone in your house or a neighbour. You would be surprised how many do follow a familiar route and simply walk home.


If, after several hours, there are no sightings of your dog, go home and start to make plans for a search.

Dog Warden

Each council has a dog warden, inform them of when your dog went missing and where.


Contact the police station nearest to where you dog went missing – he could already have been caught by a member of the public and handed in.


Telephone any veterinary surgery in the area and let them know that your dog is missing. Also, give them your dog’s identification details.

Chip and Tattoo

Is your dog micro chipped or tattooed? Are his details up to date? Let the people who monitor these schemes know that your dog is missing, then if a vet/policeman or dog warden should scan your dog or check for tattoos they will be ready for action.


Arrange a network of friends and family to revisit the area that your dog went missing. Take any familiar squeaky toys and balls. Make sure they have a lead or rope in order to tether the dog if he is found.

24 hours

If, by the next day, your dog has not been recovered you need to start planning a bigger campaign to find your family friend.

How to Find Your Dog

For a more detailed search plan read How to find your dog.

Remember that your dog will not realise that he has worried many people – he’s probably just spent a few hours sniffing around and having a good time! You will be the one worrying and fretting. But, by staying calm and starting a methodical search you will be more likely to find your canine companion safe and well.

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