Discovering that your beloved dog is missing is one of the most heartbreaking moments a dog owner can experience. Usually dogs are lost when they manage to escape from their owner's yards or sometimes as a result of being dognapped. In either case, there are steps that you can take to find your dog as well as precautionary steps that will make finding your dog easier.

First of all, be aware that your dog could be almost anywhere. Do not limit your search to your neighborhood only. Be prepared to spread the word of your missing dog far and wide. Know in advance how to describe your dog. Have plenty of snapshots of your dog on hand so you will be able to leave pictures at shelters and pounds. Attach a written copy of your dog's description to the photo. Visit shelters a minimum of once every three days. Do not depend on overworked staff workers to find your dog amongst the hundreds on the premises.

Place advertisements in newspapers. Scan the papers daily to see if someone might have found your dog. Again, be as detailed as possible when describing your pet and where it was last seen. Try to include a photo of your dog.

As a precautionary measure, make sure the area where you keep your dog is secure. Do not underestimate the climbing or burrowing power of a bored, frustrated or fearful animal. Be especially vigilant during noisy holidays such as Diwali, X'mas or other functions at your house. Never let your dog run loose in the neighborhood. Besides losing your dog, you also risk angering your neighbors as well as risking injury to your dog. Keep identifying tags on your dog's collar. Although this will not help if your dog is stolen, lost dogs with tags are much more likely to be returned to their owner.

Prevention and perseverance are your best tools. Although many dogs are found within a week, some are reunited with their owner's months after they were first reported missing. A quarter of all lost dogs are found by their owners in shelters and if your dog is wearing identifying tags, there is a 60% chance that it will be returned.

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