My dog has gone missing in Toronto, what to do now!

For a dog owner, no situation is scarier than when a pet becomes lost or stolen. The manner in which the situation is handled – particularly within the first 48 hours – can help your dog find his or her way home more quickly.

Search the Immediate Area

Depending on your dog’s personality, chances are that he or she has not gone far. Ask a friend to help search the neighborhood surrounding your home. Arm yourself with a bag of treats and call out for your dog frequently while canvassing the area. If you have no luck, leave out an item that smells like you, such as a t-shirt, in front of your property.

Alert Shelters / Rescues

While you are searching for your pet, have a friend or family member that is familiar with your dog call and alert animal shelters and rescues to your dog’s disappearance. Be as descriptive as possible about your pet’s appearance, including collar color and any unusual markings.

Call Veterinarians

Next, file a lost report with area veterinarians. Often, good samaritans will bring in lost dogs to have them scanned for a microchip. Alerting veterinarians is also useful in case your animal has been brought in because it has been hit by a car or injured.

Check Shelters

Even if you have filed a lost report with the local shelters, check them every few days and ask to see any new dogs that have been turned in. Unfortunately, dog descriptions can be very subjective, so while your dog may appear brown to you, a shelter worker could see black, thereby lessening the chances of you and your dog being reunited.

Utilize Social Media

Social media can be one of the most useful tools for helping pet owners find their missing dogs. Create a Facebook post and include a description of your pet, the area that he or she was lost, and a clear photo, if possible. Be sure to change the privacy settings of your post to “public” in order to enable sharing. Search for local lost and found Facebook groups and include your dog’s information among these useful resources. If your dog has been lost for an extended period of time, consider making a Facebook page dedicated to finding your dog. Don’t forget to share your lost pet’s information across all forms of social media, such as Twitter and Instagram, with hashtags such as #lostdog and #missingdog.

Monitor Craigslist & Kijiji

Keep on eye on community websites, such as Craigslist, for postings about lost pets. Especially if your dog is purebred, keep an eye out for dogs being sold that match your pet’s description.

Create A Flyer

Create a flyer to post on telephone polls and inside local businesses that includes a color picture of your pet as well as a detailed description. Ask to post your dog’s information in as many public areas as possible, particularly in veterinary offices, pet stores, and dog training facilities. Reach out to

Go Door-to-Door

If you live in a populated area, one of the best things you can do while searching for your dog is to go door-to-door and talk with your neighbors. Arm yourself with a few up to date photos of your pet and ask your neighbors if they have seen your dog. Oftentimes a well-meaning neighbor has picked up an animal assuming it is a stray and is providing care.

Seek Professional Help

A final option is to seek professional help in finding your pet. Trained bloodhounds can be utilized to track the scent of your dog, particularly if you believe your pet may be hiding in a wooded area. While success is not guaranteed with this approach, it is certainly worth the effort to find a beloved, lost pet!

Lost Dog Toronto Resource Pages

Helping Lost Pets
Register your dog lost on

Toronto Animal Services
Call Animal Control – 416-338-PAWS (7297)

Toronto Animal Shelters
Check pets currently being held in shelters

View Registry of Lost Pets

Post on Facebook

If you have any local Toronto resources for lost dogs please share in the comments.