What To Do If Your Dog Gets Lost

A hole in the fence, a door left ajar, an open window, a terrific jump over the fence.  There are so many ways your dog can get loose.  And, once your dog gets out, his nose leads him on rabbit trails and into unknown territory.  We love our pets and hope that them running away is never possible, but it can happen to the best of us.  What does one do when his or her dog gets lost?


Comb your neighborhood as well as surrounding ones.  Also, carry your dog’s favorite treats and toys to lure him to you if you should spot him.  If your dog is accustomed to and likes it, you could bring a dog whistle or even a squeaker to attract his attention if he’s farther away.

Get Out Posters

Make out lost posters and post them all over – at the vet’s, library, local shops, telephone poles, etc.  Put a current, clear picture of your in color along with any needed description and your phone number.  Also, put that there is a reward being offered.  People are nice and often pick up strays, but an unspecified reward will make them very eager to keep their eyes open.  Also, run ads in various newspapers about your lost dog.

Set Traps

Set traps for your lost dog in places he would likely go to sleep (shy dogs will most likely seek out areas where they could easily hide like woods, under cars, and in bushes).  Pick out some old T-shirts you don’t care about and wear them for a day.  Then, put them into the live trap along with your dog’s favorite smelly food and toy.  The scent of you on your shirt will attract your dog if he is near.

Get the Word Out

Knock on your neighbor’s doors and tell them about your lost dog, asking them to tell their friends also.  Put posters about your lost dog in mailboxes and give them to your friends to pass out.  Also, give a poster to the UPS and mailman; their routes may go right by your lost dog.  The more people you tell, the more likely it is that someone will spot and save your dog.

Get Online

Get on your social media and get the word out.  Post about it on lost and found sites.  Ask your Facebook friends to like the post about your lost dog in order to reach more people.

Notify Shelters and Rescue Groups

Definitely tell your local animal shelter about your lost dog, but also tell shelters that are even in different counties.  Your dog could surprise you by his traveling, or someone could have picked him up in your county and then dropped him off at a shelter in his county.  Also, check animal shelters often in case your dog is picked up, and notify different veterinarian clinics of your lost pet in case someone brings him in.

Pay for a Phone Alert to Spread the Word

PetAmberAlert.com allows you to submit your lost dog’s appearance and your contact information, and then they alert the surrounding people via phone of your lost dog.  The phone alert, which will tell hundreds of neighbors about your lost dog, costs $50.

Prepare for and Prevent an Escape

It is always better to prevent an escape before it happens, but even a very cautious owner can lose his or her dog, so preparation is necessary.  Here are a few tips:

  • Keep current ID tags on your dog at all times.  In addition, a microchip could help your dog if he ends up in a shelter or someone takes him to the vet.  Many shelters and vets now scan found animals to see if the animals has a little chip in his skin which will give them the owner’s information.
  • Plug up holes in the fence, keep doors and windows closed, and put a lock on your outside gate.
  • Don’t leave your dog in the car with the windows rolled down or in the back of a pickup truck.  Not only is it dangerous to leave your dog unsupervised in a car, he could escape from a door left ajar or an open window.  Also, a dog in the back of your pickup is dangerous in many ways.  Even a tethered dog could get loose and jump out of a (possibly moving) car, and smoke and debris could get into his eyes, mouth, and nose.

How to Reduce Doggy Odor

Cuddly, soft, and cute, your dog is just asking for a hug.  However, there is a problem: he stinks.  Most dogs carry around a doggy odor far from delightful.  It’s no surprise that they smell, however.  Rolling in the dirt, licking themselves, and walking through high grass are just a few of the doggy odor causing activities dogs do.  While some dogs will nearly always carry that smell, there are things you can do to greatly reduce it.  Try the tips below!

Wash Your Dog

Naturally, if you don’t wash your dog, he’s going to stink.  You probably wash your dog whenever he gets very smelly, but, with the case of reducing doggy odor, you might want to consider a weekly bath.  If you think your dog needs a bath more than once a week, consult your vet first.  Too much shampooing can dry out your dog’s skin.

Clean Your Dog’s Ears

My humans have had a lot of experience with cleaning dog ears thanks to me.  I’m prone to ear infections, and, when my ears aren’t cleaned, they stink.  The smell from your dog might be from dirty or infected ears.  In the case of infected ears, go to the vet to get medicine to cure it.  Cleaning your dog’s ears, though, should be regular.  Dirt and wax can stop them up, so buy some ear cleaning liquid at a pet store or the vet’s and give your dog’s ears a cleaning maybe once a month.  If you own a dog breed with real hair (like a Poodle, for example), bring him regularly to a groomer to get his ear hair plucked.  I know it sounds painful (and it is!), but it’s necessary for these dogs.  Our hair grows continuously, and ear hair must be plucked or it will keep growing until it stops up your dog’s ears.

Clean Dog Bedding Regularly

Lying in a dirty bed will, of course, make your dog stink.  Wash your dog’s bedding about once a month to help reduce doggy odor.

Brush Your Dog’s Hair

Your dog’s dead hair needs to be removed, and a brushing will do just that!  Also, dirt will be removed during the brushing, keeping your dog cleaner and happier.

Brush Those Teeth

A big part of doggy odor comes from your dog’s mouth. Fresher breath (your dog will always have an element of bad breath, but brushing can help reduce it; yours wouldn’t smell minty either if you ate dog food!) and less tartar buildup are the wonderful results of regular brushing.  If you open up your dog’s mouth, you may see little specks of brown, orange, and yellow on his teeth.  This is tartar, and too much of it can cause teeth to rot.  If you let the tartar build up, a veterinarian may have to professionally remove it, which can be expensive.  Save your dog the discomfort and you the money by investing in a dog toothbrush and special doggy toothpaste.  Read more about oral care for dogs here.

With Warmer Weather, try Bathing Your Dog Outdoors

It’s hot outside, and you and your dog are sweating.  And, to top it off, your dog stinks.  With summery weather, why not try giving your dog an outdoor bath?  While some dogs will never like baths, getting wet outside is really fun for others.  Here are some tips to make your dog’s outdoor bath the best!

  • Tie your dog up to a tree, fence, or other heavy, unmovable object.  Don’t tie your dog to a leg of a lawn chair; your dog will easily drag that down.  Also, never leave your dog unsupervised while tethered, as he could easily choke or get his legs tangled, causing panic.
  • As long as he isn’t a senior, your dog shouldn’t have a problem with cold hose water.  My older joints don’t like chilly water, but Rosie really likes it on a hot day.
  • Summer and warm spring days are good for outdoor baths; winter days are obviously not!

Beat the Heat!

Summer is here and swimming, camping, and spending time outdoors with family and friends is on many people’s minds.  What about your dog, though?  It’s hot outside, and special care and attention needs to be given to him to keep him cool and comfortable.

Water is a Mustheat dogs drinking

You need to give your canine lots of water this summer to assure that he stays hydrated and cool.  Keep a dish of cool water in a corner of your home for your dog constantly to have or, if your dog lives or often is outside, make sure you fill his bowl up about a couple of times a day.  Also, place your doggy’s bowl in the shade.  It will keep the water cooler and encourage your dog to stay in the shade, too.  If you notice your dog spilling his water dish, buy a heavy-duty water bowl.  Without water, your dog could quickly die.

Provide Lots of Shade

It can get very hot for your dog outside, so make sure that he has constant shade.  Remember, if part of your yard is shaded at a certain time of the day, it might not be a few hours later when the sun moves.  This can be especially dangerous for dogs who live outdoors.  Sure, dog houses are shady, but it can get super hot in such a small space.  Put up a beach umbrella or small canopy for your dog to lounge under.  You certainly don’t want your dog to get overheated!

Your Dog’s Coat

Wow! you think. My dog must be really hot wearing his fur coat!  Yes, it can get hot under there, but there are other reasons that we dogs were given such magnificent fur.  It actually helps us not get sunburned!  So, with that in mind, always consult your veterinarian before having your dog’s fur shaved.  Dogs such as Poodles, however, will always need a nice summer cut to keep them cool, as they have real hair that continually grows.

The Swimming Pool

heat poolSwimming is fun and a great way to cool off for your dog, but remember to never let your dog swim alone.  The edges of the pool are slippery, and your dog might not be able to get out.  Make sure your dog doesn’t drink the pool water either.  Also, if your pool is by a high surface, make sure your dog can’t jump in.  Once, when my humans’ pool was by the porch and I was very young, I jumped in.  Thankfully, one of my humans saw me and helped me out.  That was very scary!

Hot Feet, Hot Feet!

Before you bring your dog on a walk, feel the asphalt.  Does it burn your hand?  Imagine walking on that in your bare feet with little to no protection.  Ouch!  This can be the way your dog’s feet feel.  The steamy asphalt can seriously burn his paw pads, so always check to see if you would like to walk on it.  Another option is walking your dog in the early morning or late evening when it is cooler outside or on the grass.

Another tip: When walking your dog, take frequent breaks to give your dog some time to cool down.  Carry some water with you and offer it to your dog.

Please Don’t Leave Me in the Car!!

Please, please don’t ever leave your dog in the car without any air conditioning!  Don’t even do it when the weather is in the 70s or with the windows rolled all of the way down.  The car, you see, acts like a refrigerator, only it traps in the heat.  It is a horribly cruel way for a dog to die, so please leave your dog behind when you have errands to run and he can’t come with you.

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool 

  • A kiddie swimming pool, sprinkler, water hose, lake, or the ocean are great ways for your dog to splash around in the water and cool off.  If your dog is a little leery of entering the water, throw a few dog biscuits in for him to go after.
  • “Pupsicles” are basically popsicles made for dogs.  Your dog might like licking ice anyway but add a little flavoring (like chicken or vegetable broth), and you have a real treat!  Here’s a tip, though: have your dog devour this treat on your porch or lawn.  It can get really messy once it starts to melt!

Should I Cut My Dog’s Whiskers?

Your dog groomer recently suggested that you allow her to trim your dog’s whiskers, or perhaps you were wondering if your dog would be better off without the odd things attached to his face.  It would give your dog a “clean-shaven” look, you reason, and surely make life so much easier for him.  Or would it?

Actually, whiskers help dogs more than most people realize.  Though they are “just” hairs, they have sensitive nerves at the base which inform the dog about his surroundings and even oncoming threats.  Thanks to whiskers, a dog can know when someone – or something – is approaching, and he can also get the details: size and rate are a couple of examples.  Also, when faced with unfamiliar surroundings or the dark, his whiskers will inform him of objects in the way, keeping him from bumping into anything and getting hurt. When your dog’s face is low to the ground, his whiskers will alert him of any tasty bits of food or dirt around him.  A dog’s whiskers help him “feel” the world almost as much as your hands help you.

With these things in mind, I would highly suggest that you leave your dog’s whiskers alone.  While cutting them won’t physically hurt your dog, it could hurt his “feeling” ability.

*If you read this and still want to have your dog’s whiskers trimmed (please change your mind!), make sure that you don’t pluck them out.  Having them trimmed by a pro with scissors won’t physically hurt your dog, but, if you pluck them, your dog will have terrible pain because of the extremely sensitive nerves at the base of the hair.

Can Dogs See Electronic Screens?

You’re watching TV, and an action-packed scene comes on.  Suddenly, your dog springs into action, barking and pawing at the screen, his tail madly wagging.  Wait!  Your dog can’t see the TV, right?  Actually, to some degree he can!

As discussed in What is a Dog’s Vision Like?, dogs can see only a few colors and have blurry vision but can detect movement excellently.  So, while they might not notice a slow scene in the movie, our sharp eyes will quickly pick up movement, which makes action scenes especially amusing for dogs.  Also, dogs can differentiate people from dogs, dogs from cats, etc.  Can dogs recognize drama, joy, and peril in a movie, though?  We’re very quick to pick up what tones in a voice are happy, sad, or irritated, so we could very well recognize what emotion is going on during a movie.  Also, the “mood” of the music accompanying the scene could also tune your dog in to the emotions going on.

Can dogs see screens on computers?  Usually, dogs don’t show interest because the objects on the screen are slow or not moving.  Dogs get excited when we see action, so these typically fail to get out attention.

Pop some popcorn, dim the lights, and watch some Lassie with your dog that has a lot of action!

Should I Let My Dog Sleep in Bed With Me?

When asked what they think about their dog sleeping in bed with them, some people will immediately answer, “No way!  Do you know how much dogs stink?  And what about fleas?!”  Others, however, will say, “It’s very comforting and makes me feel like I’m being guarded extra close.”  There are some interesting pros and cons when it comes to letting your dog share your bed, and here are a few:


  • Having your dog in your room provides you with extra security.  If there’s a strange noise outside, your dog will alert you.  This can be especially comforting when you’re alone.
  • Sometimes, sleeping with your dog in your bed will help a shy dog bond with and get to know you better.
  • If your dog is the nervous type, being with you, the pack leader, could help calm him.
  • If you’re nervous or restless in bed, having a soft, cuddly dog with you could soothe and help you sleep better.


  • Some dogs just always carry that distinct doggy odor.  So, if you don’t like your sheets to smell like dog, I don’t suggest you let your dog in your bed.
  • If you have allergies to dogs, having a dog in bed with you will only further irritate them.
  • Hopefully, your dog’s fleas and ticks are being controlled by preventive medicine.  Even with preventive, however, a tick may latch onto your dog, be taken into your bed, and transmitted to you.  Checking often for those pesky blood suckers on your dog can help, but they often choose very hidden places to latch on.
  • Some breeds, such as the Bulldog, drool, which can get quite nasty in bed.
  • Puppies and seniors don’t have good bladder control, which could lead to accidents in bed.
  • Though dogs can be soothing to have in bed, they can also be very loud.  Snoring, whimpering, snorting, and kicking are a few of the problems you may face.
  • If you let your dog on your bed, he might hoard over half of it, pushing you off.
  • Dominate dogs shouldn’t be let in bed with you.  Growling, aggressively hoarding the bed, and letting themselves on the bed anytime they want could ensue.

Some people love their dog in their bed, others can’t stand it.  Think about the pros and cons, determine your dog’s behavior, and decide what would be best for you and your dog.

What is a Dog’s Vision Like?

You might be surprised to learn that your dog is not color blind and can actually see better than you in some ways!  Dogs have something similar to red-green color blindness in humans and are very nearsighted.  Our eyes sort of make up for those losses, however, by having a better ability to detect motion and having more peripheral vision than humans.  So, while your dog may not be able to see that cat far away, he can detect its movement, which makes dogs excellent hunters.

Dog-Vision.com has a cool tool that enables you to see what one of your pictures would look like to your dog.  Just upload a picture, wait a few seconds, and presto!  You can get a rough idea of how your dog views the world!

What humans see
What dogs see

Although dogs view the world with dull, blurry vision compared to humans’, we aren’t going to complain.  Our ability to detect motion is excellent, and ours noses will provide us with all the information we need about our surroundings (we can smell 40 times better than you!).

Can Plants be Toxic For Dogs?

Though you may not know it, there could be a plant in your yard or house that could be dangerous if your dog should ingest it!  Here are just a few:

Bishop’s Weed
  • Arrow-head vine
  • Aloe
  • Azalea
  • Bishop’s weed
  • Buttercup
  • Carnation
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Daffodil
  • Daisy

To see a full list of plants – along with pictures – which are poisonous to dogs, see this article on the ASPCA website.  If your dog ingests these plants, you can either call your local veterinarian clinic or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 (you may be charged a fee of $65).

Tips for Picking out dog Toys

Maybe you’ve decided that your dog would benefit from more toys, you have a new puppy who needs some things to play with, or perhaps you are adopting an older dog whom you would like to introduce to toys.  Balls, braided ropes, stuffed animals, bones, and squeakies are just a few different toys to choose from.  There are a lot of options, and this post will, hopefully, help you decide which ones are best for your dog!


First of all, be aware that any toy that you buy for your puppy will probably get destroyed.  Rosie has so far destroyed her fabric and four plastic Frisbees, her figure-eight stuffed toy, two tennis balls, and a squeaking stuffed duck.  The only three toys that have not been torn apart are her braided rope, braided rope ball, and KONG.  So, as you can probably guess, you are looking for durability when it comes to puppy toys.  I suggest that you buy a couple of KONG rubber toys.  Rosie has one and has yet to make a dent in it.  Rope toys are a good idea also, and you can throw a stuffed animal into the cart if you want to, but be aware that puppies love to tear those apart, especially if there are squeakers hidden inside!  Plastic, weak rubber, soft fabric, and toys that are overly small or have parts which can be easily chewed off are bad buys for puppies and something you should steer clear of.


What toy you get for an adult dog depends on how much he likes to chew.  If he loves tearing things apart, follow the puppy guide for purchasing toys.  If he just likes to occasionally chew his toys, you can buy him pretty much any nice toy as long as the fabric is thick, the rubber is hard (like that of KONG, for instance), it is not overly small, and it has nothing which could easily be chewed off.


As a dog ages, his teeth and gums become more sensitive, and sometimes we crave soft, soothing things to chew on.  KONG has some good products just for older dogs, like this KONG rubber toy .  Also, your older dog might like some stuffed animals which are very soft to cuddle and gently chew on, like a KONG Cozie.