How to find a lost dog fast

All kinds of Lost Dogs in South Africa - How to find your dog fast!


Don't panic and remain hopeful: the chances of finding your lost dog are good!

  • Around 90% of people who report their dogs lost have them safely returned home,
  • ~70% of lost cats are safely recovered.

Can Lost Dogs find their way home?

Many dogs can find their way home, but do you want to take that chance, especially if you not sure. Some who have lost their dogs feel that to leave out familiar scents, like their dog blanket can help his chances greatly to smell his way home. Walking your dog regularly around your neighborhood obviously also helps him to familiarize himself with the neighborhood should he ever get lost then he stands a much better chance of smelling his way home.

So, what should you do when you realize that your dog is missing?

The most important 6 steps…

 (In the first couple of hours)

  1. Make sure that he is really lost. Check whether he may perhaps have found a new comfortable place to hide. If not, it may be helpful to work out how he could have gone missing: 

    1) Did he perhaps go exploring because a gate was left open? 
    2) Did your dog escape by jumping the fence or digging under it? 
    3) Was he perhaps spooked, maybe by a loud noise, did he run off in fright? 
    4) Is there a chance that he was stolen?

    Trying to work these things out immediately will help you to think clearer later if he is still lost, the trauma of losing your pet can cause you to start having erratic thoughts, it is better to remain calm and try to think logically.

  2. Walk around the immediate area, whistle, call his name and inform your neighbors that you see are home. Don't waste time trying to contact each neighbor yet, only go to those who are definitely at home. While walking around your immediate neighborhood, be observant, are any other dogs acting peculiarly? Is there perhaps a female dog on heat? Listen for barking. Which route do you usually walk him and where does he show the most interest.

  3. It may be beneficial, after walking and searching, to take a slow drive, backtracking frequently to your home from different possible routes.

  4. It is now time to phone your neighbors, friends and family nearby, and don't forget the local vets, many people take, or report lost dogs to their vet, many searching at the same time may help, and perhaps they may even be visited by your missing dog if he is familiar with them.

  5. Don't wait too long. Start printing flyers, a basic description of your lost dog with at least a black and white photo will help, spread them around the area your dog was last seen and your immediate neighborhood. Keep some flyers on you always to hand to people you meet.

    When you make your flyer, use the time to post the same information online

The best way to find your lost dog in South Africa online is using Lost Dogs SA to post a description of your dog and recent photos:

1) Register to have full control of your post,

2) Create the post of your dog, remembering to keep an identifying mark secret that will help you to know if someone really has your dog,

3) After publishing your post you must click on the social sharing buttons, Facebook is especially effective to share the post from the Lost dogs website. There are also options to pay for advertising which uses Google search, Facebook and Instagram localized advertising for your lost dog. You get this service automatically when paying to boost your post.

4) An important decision to make is whether you make your phone number and address public, you can edit this at any time, but it is not recommended to display this information. On the Lost Dogs website, you will be notified via email immediately when someone responds to your post without any personal details being displayed. It is important however to mention the area or suburb where your dog was last seen.


  1. Don't give up! Many dogs have been found even after many months. The important thing is to talk about it with rational friends and to look after your own health. It is very stressful to lose a pet.



Here are some statistics from a survey few years ago to help you learn about the chances of finding your pet

The most important steps to recovering your pet were:

  • Searching immediately
  • Searching the local area and neighborhood visually, along with putting up fliers and using Internet resources
  • Checking local shelters from the first day the pet goes missing

Of the pet owners surveyed. 75 percent lost cats, and 90 percent lost dogs were safely recovered.

Of the recovered dogs…

  • 50% found by owners who searched their neighborhoods
  • 15% were found because of an id tag or microchip
  • 6% at a shelter

Of the recovered cats…

  • 60% returned on their own
  • 30% found by searching the neighborhood
  • 2% at a shelter
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