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Even if dog owners are careful, accidents happen, and occasionally, dogs get lost. 

When your beloved dog is lost, it can be a traumatic experience for both of you. But don't panic, you need to think clearly, act quickly and create a game plan for recovering your pet based on typical lost dog behavior and your dog’s personality.

Dog Running


Start with a thorough physical search of your neighborhood or the area where your dog was last seen, checking backyards (with the owners’ permission), green spaces and other nearby spots before widening your search perimeter. Tell everyone you meet that you’re searching for a lost dog. Ask them to contact you if your dog is seen, but not to chase your dog in an effort to catch them.

A friendly, confident dog is more likely to be found where people or other dogs gather. A shy, frightened or injured dog, or one lost in an unfamiliar area, is more likely to be hiding or on the run.


Knock on doors and hang large, colorful “lost dog” posters in the area your pet went missing using an recent full body photo of your dog. Distribute flyers with your contact information to dogwalkers, mail carriers, joggers and anyone else who frequents the area. Post notices at grocery stores, laundromats, community centers, veterinary offices, dog parks, pet supply stores and other locations. Use local social media sites and missing pet registries to help get the word out. Reach out to any neighbors that may have cameras around their home to keep a look out for your dog. Get a notebook and record all sightings of the dog with date, time, exact location and direction of travel.


Contact your local animal control and animal shelter and notify them of your lost dog.


Set up a feeding station at the location where the dog was lost and/or last sighting spot.  Dogs often return to where they were, or travel in circles.  By setting up a feeding station, you are increasing the likelihood that, if a dog returns once, he/she will return again, giving you a better chance to catch him/her.  Feeding stations should include multiple cans of wet dog or cat food in a pile.  The bigger and smellier the food pile is, the more likely it is to attract the dog.

Consider setting up motion-activated cameras to confirm if your dog continues to return to the feeding station.


Here at Garden State Animal Rescue Center, we are with you the entire way. Once we receive your Lost Dog Recovery Request, we will contact you for more information and determine if we are appropriate for your case. We will provide a general consultation and recommendations for your next steps. If it is determined that it is necessary for us to respond and begin physical recovery operations, GSARC has access to the most cutting edge technology available for lost pet recovery. Some of our available resources include wireless infrared night vision, drones/UAVs, thermal cameras, varying size traps and over 10 years of experience in animal recovery. 

If you have not completed a Lost Dog Recovery Request yet, Click HERE to begin the process.

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