A lost dog sign tacked to the neighborhood telephone pole is a sad reminder that any dog can become lost. According to a survey conducted by the ASPCA, of the 78.2 million dogs living in 46 million US homes, about 7 million are lost every five years. (Not the same 7 million though.) The good news is that 93% make it back home.
Owners who actively search the neighborhood, post signs and use local social media are the most likely to find their dogs - about 50% of the time. ID tags and microchips are responsible for 15% of lost dogs being returned to owners. Shelters reunite lost dogs with owners in 6% of cases.
If you think it will never happen to you, think again. About 3% of dog owners lose a dog every year. If your dog is lost, immediately begin a local search. Post signs, knock on doors and use your neighborhood blog. If no one in your community has found her, the dog may end up with someone who will find you, via the dog's tag or microchip. And finally, always check the shelters.
In a press release, the ASPCA stated, "The data from this research study that shows how and where the guardians found their animals could be extremely helpful for those who may lose a pet in the future." The survey, published in the June 2012 issue of the journal Animals, also includes data about lost cats, but I didn't report it here because, well, this is a dog blog. But you can read all the results (cats included) at Animals.