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If you are certain your dog is missing, has some practical advice for you.

Stray dogs are often picked up by a member of the public and handed into the Police, Dog Warden or local vet. If your dog goes missing at the weekend, it is often the case that someone will take the dog in, and wait until Monday to hand it in to the dog warden or police, or may have already done so, but as most kennels are not open at the weekend, you may not be able to access any information from the kennels until Monday.  Meanwhile .............

Action point 1

Believe it or not, dogs (mostly small dogs) are sometimes found at home, so -firstly check all these places if your dog went missing from it's home area :-

  • Every room in your house.
  • Under beds, in wardrobes, under duvets, behind sofas and curtains (small dogs obviously).
  • Sheds, garages, greenhouses, outbuildings, vehicles and gardens.
  • Ask neighbours to check their sheds, outbuildings and garages also.
  • Initially, search all around your local area and thoroughly check sheds, outbuildings and garages or similar buildings where your pet could be hiding out or perhaps trapped.
  • Try squeezing a favourite squeaky toy or using  a whistle when calling your dog's name. Stop regularly to listen, giving your dog a chance to hear you calling, and stay in one area long enough for your pet to reach you if he is in the vicinity. Remember your pet will be frightened and may not come to call right away.

If you still have not found your dog, or your dog was not lost from it's home area, you have searched everywhere you can, and you then feel that you need to take immediate action, firstly, inform the police. Police, at the present date, are still responsible for dogs in Scotland. It is a good idea to contact police offices further afield too, as there is always a possibility that your dog may have been picked up and dropped off in another area, and police in different areas do not pass details of lost dogs onto other area offices. If you have made a list of details about your dog, (particulars on the LostDogs-Scotland common sense  page ) it will now come in handy.

Also contact the dog warden (if this has not already been done) and give a description of your missing dog along with your contact details. You will be able to contact the dog warden at your council office (sometimes not open at the weekend). Click here for local council office phone numbers

When giving your contact details, it is a good idea to give a mobile number as well as a landline number if possible, because someone may be trying to contact you on the landline with information about your missing dog while you are out searching. If you have your mobile with you, any calls will not be missed.

Make a point of asking the dog warden where local stray dogs are taken to (rescue kennels). Make contact with these kennels, give them a poster of your missing dog, and give a detailed description of your dog, including any distinguishing marks/scars it may have, again, along with your contact details.

If possible, it is best to go there personally to look for your dog every few days, or ask a close relative or friend who knows your dog, to go there for you, as other people who work at the kennels may not recognise your dog by its breed or your description. They have loads of dogs to deal with and are usually very busy.

If none of these options are possible, at the very least, call the kennels every day or so, to enquire whether your dog has been handed in or not. By law, kennels (dog pound) have the right to re-home a dog if it is not claimed by 7 days - IF - it has no ID on it, such as a collar and ID tag or a microchip, so PLEASE CALL THEM REGULARLY. Dogs can lose their collar and tag while missing or may have it removed by thieves.

Police are also very busy and usually lost dogs are not top priority, so call them regularly too.

Dog warden's contact phone numbers for all areas are available HERE.

Check our LostDogs-Scotland FOUND dogs list on this website every day, and more than once a day if possible, to see if your dog has been found and added there.


Action point 2

It is sometimes difficult to recall some of your dog's details when distressed and anxious about your missing pet, but - you will need the following details as you may be asked for them several times:-

  • Your dog's name
  • Age
  • Breed
  • Male or female
  • Neutered, spayed or entire
  • Colouring
  • Coat length and type e.g. short, long, semi, rough, smooth etc.
  • Any distinguishing features e.g. white paws, chest, or specific markings
  • Was your dog wearing a collar and identity tag or harness? If so what were the colours and what details does the ID tag have on it?
  • Is your dog microchipped or tattooed?
  • When and where was your dog last seen?
  • Find the best photograph you have of your dog, as people will remember a dog better by this, rather than by a description, and use this to make up posters and fliers to hand out.
  • Poster templates here

Action point 3

If your dog is microchipped please let the microchip company know that your dog is missing and at the same time, check that all details held there, are up to date. They need to have a current phone number along with a mobile number if possible, and a current address for you. If your details are not up to date, your dog will not be recognised by its microchip. Call them now on any of the numbers which apply:-

Vets and Dog Wardens are likely to know these numbers, and hopefully will check the databases when they find a missing dog.

Contact all local vets and inform them that your dog is lost or missing and give them a description of your dog along with your details. Many people will hand a stray or found dog into the vet if they do not know what to do with it. If possible, hand in a poster to the local vets to pin on their notice board. Many vets will allow you to email a poster to them for them to display. Find all the vets practices in your area, call them and email, post or hand in a poster to them. They are usually very helpful by assisting and allowing this.

You can find vets in your own area by clicking this link

  • Call local animal rescue kennels and dog pounds. The dog warden and police will inform you of your nearest one. For all North Lanarkshire dogs, please click here for relevant advice. Please note that North Lanarkshire stray dogs go to the council's private holding kennels for the first 7 days. Click here to see dogs held at the holding kennels.
  • If they have not been claimed by then, they will go to SSPCA Bothwell Bridge for re-homing.
  • Call South Lanarkshire council for details on how to claim your dog Contact details here.
  • Call the local radio station, as they often have a lost pet slot, where they will broadcast your dog as missing. Some will be obliging enough to do this even if they do not have a designated slot for this.Find radio stations at the bottom of the Lostdogs-Scotland LINKS page. For those in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire click here.
  • Check local newspapers lost and found sections.
  • If your dog is not found in a few days, put an ad in the local newspaper with a photo of your dog attached. Remember that it usually takes a couple of days for the ad to feature in the paper, so think ahead to when you want it to go in, and get it in there ASAP.


If you have not uploaded a picture when you registered your dog, please contact us and we can help you with instructions for sending us your picture by email or mobile phone, and it will be loaded onto your dog's page for you. If you have a problem with any of these options when you contact us, someone will help you. Don't worry too much if your photos are not that good, or include other animals as we can sort this out for you too.

Action point 4

  • Make up a poster or flier with your contact details on it and a photo of your dog if you have one. If you have no photo of your dog, try to find a lookalike one from the internet or from a friend and add the text "SIMILAR DOG" at the bottom of the photo or on the poster itself. You can either print them yourself or take the original to your local library or any shop which does photocopies for larger quantities. If you have a mobile phone, add a mobile number as well as a landline number to your poster & fliers, because someone could be trying to get a message to you about your missing dog while you are out searching. Keep any little particular details of your dog that only you might know, to yourself meantime - perhaps like a scar in a particular place. This can be used to identify your dog later on.
  • You will need lots of copies made to distribute them through every door in your immediate area. Small Fliers are best for this. Tie or tape posters in plastic folders to lamp posts, phone boxes, bus shelters and letter boxes, also display one on your own front gate. For outdoor posters, place each poster in a plastic wallet, seal the open end with sellotape.

Templates for posters and fliers for your lost pet can be downloaded from this site HERE.

  • You can alter the poster to suit yourself by exchanging the photo for your dog's photo or your "SIMILAR DOG" photo and adding your own wording, after downloading it. Keep it simple and eyecatching with a photo of the dog. If you are finding difficulty with this, please follow the advice given HERE.  If you have no knowledge of how to do this then please use the Lostdogs-Scotland contact us  form and someone can do these for you,  including your dog's name, and ID number so we know which dog we are dealing with. If you require these, please let us know ASAP, so that we can get them emailed to you ASAP.  A small donation towards helping needy dogs, for this service would be gratefully received - LATER, if you can manage it, - but if not, PLEASE - don't worry about that. This is a free site, and getting your dog home is the most important thing meantime. There are no costs to you for anything on this site.
  • All donations go to help other needy dogs, and every single penny donated by you will go to them. All donations are displayed on the LostDogs-Scotland DONATE page. 

Start postering now - IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! It doubles your chances of finding your dog quickly !!

Posters laminated, or in plastic folders if possible, need to be put up in the area where the dog went missing, or where there have been sightings of the dog, if any - on lamp posts, entrances to parks and strategic places in the area where it went missing, like - at the start and finish of tracks and paths in parks, dog bins, at vets, pet shops, garages, pubs, carry-out food shops, post offices, local shops who often allow postcards in the window, supermarkets who have notice boards, community centres, schools, youth clubs, on notice boards in halls such as scouts, brownies, playgroups, social clubs schools etc. You can ask the postman, milkman, taxi drivers, street cleaners, bin men (even put your poster on bins), to take some flyers and hand them out on their rounds. You can ask school bus drivers and kids on the bus to take some fliers, or if you have your own kids on the bus, get them to hand out flyers at school and you can hand some out to parents at the school gates. Deliver flyers to houses, businesses and pop through letterboxes. Hand out flyers to people in the street, especially dog walkers. Put posters or flyers in car windows.

Offer a reward on the poster if you can - DO NOT state an amount, just 'reward'. It can be a small amount, but it may be a lot to another person. Most decent people are just happy to give the dog back to its owner anyway.

Local rescue centres and kennels, also police offices need checking regularly and preferably visited in person, by owner or someone who knows your dog, because its breed or description may not be recognised by other people.

It is really important to get posters out everywhere you can and seen by as many people as possible, and to get your dogs profile "OUT THERE" by posters, fliers and on internet sites. This is most often how dogs are found. Let the whole world know that your pet is missing.

PLEASE NOTE, if you are under 18 years of age, do NOT go looking for your pet alone. ALWAYS have a parent or responsible adult with you AT ALL TIMES.


While searching for your pet, if you do happen to see him/ her, the dog may be frightened and nervous after being lost - so - try not to SHOUT or WAVE YOUR HANDS. It is a natural reaction to do this but it will frighten your pet further. Be QUIET, speak softly, use slow movements, kneel or crouch down to its level and slowly throw treats or bits of ham, chicken or cheese towards it at a low level, near the ground. Do NOT make eye contact, but make little whimpering noises, and pat your leg to encourage your dog to come to you. The dog will need to trust you and know it is you before it feels secure enough to get really close enough for you to get hold of him/her. Please try not to lunge and grab the dog, however tempting it may seem, because if your effort is unsuccessful, the dog will be even more frightened and will likely run off.


If you think your dog has been STOLEN, the same rules apply. Make him/her too hot to handle by getting their profile OUT THERE with posters, fliers and advertising. Advertise your dog missing in local newspapers, on the internet sites like the one you are presently on  - . You can advertise on which has a site for every area in the UK, and it is free.They have a lost and found pets section. Do not forget to check dogs for sale too to see if your pet is on there if it has been stolen. Remember to add a photo if you have one.

Please look below at the bottom of this page for a list of places to advertise your lost dog free on the internet. Your dog may have been moved out of the area if it has been stolen, so advertise throughout the UK and check regularly the pets for sale ads, as this is often where stolen dogs are sold on.

If you live near a railway PLEASE call Network rail ASAP, as it is a fact that many dogs are killed on the railways. Give them a description of your dog and the date it went missing, along with your contact details. Network Rail phone number is 08457 114141 . They usually take a few days to get back to you with any information, but it is something than needs to be checked out and eliminated from your search.

Call Bear Scotland (if you think your dog may have gone onto any trunk road/motorway within a few miles of where you live.)   0800 0281414

 Also it is a good idea to call your local council offices roads and cleansing department and give them a description of your dog and the date it went missing along with your contact details, as it may have been involved in a fatal road traffic accident. The body of dogs involved in fatal RTAs should be routinely scanned when the body is picked up, and the details recorded whether there is a microchip or not, but sometimes the microchip is missed, or occasionally, someone forgets to do it, or the local authorities do not have the facilities for this, or it is not their policy to do so, and therefore your dog's body may be disposed of without your knowledge. This does happen occasionally, so it is up to you to check regularly and ask as many questions at the council offices and the police office as you want or need to.

Hopefully none of the worst scenarios will have happened to your pet, but if you eliminate these things, you will be able to concentrate on finding and getting your pet home ASAP.


Good luck. Hope your pet is found very soon.


You can also register your dog


Please also contact any breed rescue which applies to you and your dog.


Where Do Dogs Go & What Do They Do When They Go Missing? click here to read


If your dog has been missing for more that 7 days, and it has not been picked up by it's owner, when it is at the local rescue centre, by law, it can be re-homed if it has no ID on it.
Therefore - please check out these rescue / re-homing centres regularly, as your dog may be on the website looking for a new home.

SSPCA  (Scotland)

Dogs Trust  (all areas)

EDCH   (Edinburgh area)

Mrs Murrays Cat and Dog Home   (Aberdeen area)

along with all your local rescue centres


 DNA Profiling for Dogs

Should you need proof of your dog's identity, in circumstances where perhaps your dog has been stolen or lost, The Kennel Club have a DNA Profiling service. Details here. Required forms will be found on there.