Every pet parent’s worst nightmare, we’re sure your heart is pounding harder than it ever has before and that a hundred things are going through your mind right now. Stop. Take a deep breath, you need to have a clear, practical head and be strong for your dog right now.

Don’t waste time trying to blame someone, you need to act immediately. Since you probably know your pet best, you are in the best position to understand how your pet would behave in this situation. Here are a few things you can do:

Alert the neighbours: Speak to your neighbours – watchmen, kids playing in the street or even those who spend a lot of time in their gardens or balconies will be your best bet. They are more likely to spot something useful.

Rally together friends: The sooner you get out on the street, the better. Put together a search party and make sure everyone knows how to recognize your dog and brief them on how to approach him/her. Carry treats and biscuits with you. If your pet has a special dog friend in the neighbourhood, take the pet along. Split up and cover as much area as possible. Look in places where a scared dog is most likely to hide, behind flowerpots, under ramps or cars etc.

Use their strongest sense – Smell:  A dog’s sense of smell is their best strength, so use it. Take a blanket/bed/sweater or any cloth item that belongs to you or your pet to the place he/she was last seen. In more than one case, the lost dog has found his or her way back to the spot by following their noses to that item.

One Person Stays at Home: Keep one member of the family (that your pet is comfortable with) at home in case your pooch decides to come back (this has happened too). This person should stay outdoors near the gate so, they are in a good position to spot your pet should he/she come back.

Keep your phone charged: Keep your phone charged and on a loud ringer at all times. Someone close by could have found him/her and may be trying to reach you. If you have had the sense to put an ID tag on your pet, all the better.

Do a house-to-house Search: Not only does this ensure that you’ve thoroughly covered the area surrounding your home, but it also helps to spread the word. It’s a stressful situation but speak coherently, be friendly, get people on your side. A house to house search works better when you have a policeman in tow.

Put your pet’s face out there: On social media, WhatsApp, flyers – the works. Put up a reward price as well. Don’t forget to inform local vets and grocery store owners. Put up fliers in their offices and shops – don’t forget areas with high foot traffic like bus stops. Even auto stands are helpful if you can manage it. If you cant speak the local language, find someone who can translate for you. This makes a better connection. Put up flyers far and wide, you never know where your pet’s journey could have led him/her. Keep information on all formats consistent. If your pet is neutered/spayed, put that information there as well. This will keep any breeders who may be tempted, at bay.

This is a lot to process but resist giving in to panic, thinking clearly is your best bet. We hope with all of our hearts that you find your pet. When you find him/her, give them water and get them checked by a vet. After this, figure out how they got out and make changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Send out updates to thank everyone on every platform that you used to send out the message that he/she was missing.