(Last Updated On: November 7, 2022)


Each year on April 23rd, National Lost Dog Awareness Day increases awareness concerning missing dogs and celebrates reunions. 

Through networks of shelters, veterinaries, social media, and other media sources, many lost canines and families reunite. The day is an opportunity to learn more about prevention and networking. There are also steps to take to prevent your family pet from going missing. Some of these preventative steps also help return Fido to you if he does go missing.

Preventative steps to take:
  • Keep your dog secure. Whether on a leash or in a fenced yard, your dog is less likely to wander if it is secured.
  • Training is valuable. Dogs who have been trained by a professional are less likely to go missing. Most importantly, they learn recall commands. Formal obedience training also offers owners valuable information that can lead to a better relationship between pet and owner.
  • Always supervise your animal. Dogs, especially expensive purebreds, can be stolen even from a fenced yard.
  • Tags and microchipping help with the recovery of a missing animal. These steps must be completed when you first receive your new family member. While tags are inexpensive to protect your pet, dogs can slip a collar. Many pet adoption sites will hold microchipping events for a fraction of the cost. The price is coming down all the time too. It is essential to keep the information on the microchip or tag up to date also. It is only as useful as the information listed on the chip in helping recover your pet.
  • Spaying and neutering reduce your pet’s likelihood of wandering off in search of a mate. Additionally, it eliminates the chances of unwanted offspring should your dog wander off unexpectedly.
  • Keep records up to date on your animals. That includes photos, vaccinations, and those valuable tags and microchips, too.
Taking action if your pet goes missing:
  • Contact your local shelters and vets. Please provide them with current information regarding your dog, including a color photograph.
  • Walk your neighborhood. Let your neighbors know as you search. Enlist their help, too.
  • Post notices in neighborhood grocery stores, gas stations, and coffee shops. Go to social media and post your pet’s info in local community forums. 
  • Check advertising websites. If your dog was stolen, you might recognize the description from the ad. Contact the police if you think your dog was stolen.

HOW TO OBSERVE #LostDogAwarenessDay

  • Take steps to protect your pet.
  • Develop a plan.
  • Keep tags current.
  • Consider microchipping your dog.
  • Obtain a GPS collar.
  • If you’re a dog owner, share your experiences using #LostDogAwarenessDay.


Lost Dogs Illinois and Lost Dogs Wisconsin directors Susan Taney and Kathy Pobloskie created National Lost Dog Awareness Day in 2014 to increase awareness and help prevent animals from going missing. They also promote celebrating reunions.

Lost Dog FAQ

Q. How often are pets lost in the United States?
A. According to the NIH, 15% of dog and cat owners lose a pet. However, dogs are more frequently recovered than cats are.

Q. What’s the difference between using a microchip and GPS to locate a lost dog?
A. A microchip is inserted under the dog’s skin and contains information such as the owner’s information for contact and return of the animal. If owner’s information changes, the chip must be updated for this method to be effective. A GPS collar sends geo-location information so the owner can track the animal’s location. Collars must fit and batteries charged for this method to be effective.


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