A young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kittenA young Asian girl nuzzles noses with a tabby kitten
Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

April 23 is Lost Dog Awareness Day

By: Brianna Gunter

A white and brown dog sits alone in a park.

April 23 is National Lost Dog Awareness Day in the United States, but it’s always a good time for pet owners to become better informed on how lost pets happen and what can be done to bring them home. The sad truth is that over 10 million pets become lost or stolen every year. To put that into perspective, American Humane estimates that as many as one in three pets become lost at some point during their lifetimes.

While the statistics can be scary, most dogs (90%) are safely recovered. However, the likelihood of this depends on a variety of factors, including how pet owners react and how prepared they are in the first place.

What is National Lost Dog Awareness Day?

The first National Lost Dog Awareness Day took place on April 23, 2014. Launched by volunteer organization Lost Dogs of America, this day aims to bring attention to the number of dogs that go missing every year while also celebrating those that are successfully returned home.

“When a dog goes missing, many families give up looking,” states National Lost Dog Awareness Day co-creator Susan Taney in a press release. “National Lost Dog Awareness Day was created to give hope to the families still looking for their dogs and remind the public that not all stray dogs are homeless.”

7 Lost dog prevention tips

Dog tags show the pet is microchipped

No pet owner plans on their dog getting lost, but the unexpected still happens. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to reduce these chances as well as help ensure your pal will swiftly be returned home if he does become lost.

1. Register your dog

Laws vary depending on your location, but it’s worth noting that in most states, pets found without licensing tags or a microchip are considered "abandoned property." If not claimed soon they will be considered property of the government or local authorities.

2. Make sure your dog is microchipped

In addition to getting your pal properly licensed, go ahead and make sure he’s microchipped by a veterinarian too. Collars and tags can come off easily, but scan-able microchips add a great deal of security.

3. Train your dog

Well-trained dogs who are socialized are less likely to go missing. Train your dog to be an obedient, calm companion in a variety of situations to lower the risk of her running off or going wandering in new places by herself.

4. Get to know your neighbors

When the local community knows your dog, they’ll be better equipped to spot her when she’s lost (not to mention more likely to help you search). Be friendly with your neighbors when out on walks, and practice good dog owner etiquette.

5. Take your dog on regular walks in the area

Going on regular walks through your neighborhood will both help put your dog at ease with his surroundings and help him learn the territory. This will help improve the chances of your pal finding his way home if he accidentally wanders off leash.

6. Choose pet sitters wisely

The person watching your dog while you’re gone should always be someone both you and your pal are comfortable with and trust. Your dog should be able to behave himself both indoors and outdoors when with this person, including following commands and practicing good leash conduct.

7. Form a missing dog plan

Even the most prepared pet owners can still find themselves caught in a lost dog situation. If it happens to you, it’s important to act quickly. Have a plan in place for this scenario, It’s also a good idea to make a list of animal shelters and local rescue groups you can call, along with emergency numbers for nearby veterinary hospitals.

Lost dog resources

A puppy sits on a cobblestone street

If your dog goes missing, there are a variety of additional resources you can turn to for help.

Lost Dogs of America

Lost Dogs of America is a nonprofit volunteer group run by members of Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and Lost Dogs Illinois. The organization maintains social media pages in all 50 states and Washington D.C. Lost Dogs of America helps pet owners report missing dogs for free online and posts about them on local Facebook pages. The group also provides resources for those who have found a stray dog and aren’t sure what to do next.


Lost-dog.org is Canada’s largest online database for missing pets. They share all missing dog posts with a network of partner websites to expand reach. Users can search both found and missing dogs by breed and province.


PetFBI.org is a free national database in the United States where users can report both missing and found pets. Their blog also provides tips for pet owners looking for dogs lost in different kinds of settings, such as a rural vs. urban environment.

Petco LoveLost

Petco Love Lost is a free database for lost and found pets that uses facial recognition software to scan for matches to your missing dog photos. Users can register their dogs online ahead of time to help expedite things in the event that they go missing.

Local police force

If it’s been a few hours and you haven’t had any luck finding your pet, report them missing to your local police force. Always try calling the station itself to report a missing dog (not 9-1-1).

Protect your best friend from the unexpected

Nobody wants anything bad to happen to their dog, but the future can’t be predicted. While you’re taking lost dog prevention steps, now is a great time to consider pet insurance if your pal isn’t already covered. To put your mind at further ease, check out Trupanion’s pet owner assistance package that covers advertising and rewards for lost pets.

A dog and cat snuggle

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Welcome to the Trupanion blog. A place to celebrate pets, pet health and medical insurance for cats and dogs.

This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

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