Churchill magazine

What to do if your pet goes missing

Updated on: 23 August 2021

A dog is seen alone in a park.

If your pet goes missing, it can be a very worrying time, but there are things you can do and services you can turn to for help.

Dog wardens

If you lose your dog or believe it has been stolen, experts advise that you should immediately contact your local dog warden. You can get in touch with the dog warden by contacting your local council. Give them as much information as you can. The details you pass on should include the following:

  • Colour
  • Coat type
  • Size
  • Age
  • Distinguishing marks
  • Sex
  • Breed
  • Identification tags

You should make sure the contact numbers you give are reachable 24 hours a day, and if you closely border other council areas, it's also worth contacting the neighbouring authorities. Ask which kennels the dog wardens use to house stray dogs.

The police

You should contact the police for the area in which you lost your dog or cat, giving them the same information as above, particularly any unusual markings that make your pet stand out. It may, again, be worth contacting police authority areas in the surrounding region.


Report your lost or stolen pet to your local vets. The more information you can provide, the better, as it will increase your chances of finding your pet quickly. Most vets keep a Lost and Found book, and may also allow you to put up posters in the practices most local to you. Provided your pet is microchipped, your vet may also be contacted should anyone find them.

Search online

There are a number of good online pet registration services, many of which give you free registration of your pet plus free access to their database.

Pet register databases help to find missing cats and dogs that have often just wandered off, and tend to work by providing the pet with a unique identification number which can be engraved on the pet’s collar, or on an ID tag. They are also in touch with a number of rescue and shelter organisations.

Website visitors can login and list their pet as missing, and check the site around the clock to see if their pet has been found.

Top pet-finding sites:

Other things to try

  • Post on social media and local area groups
  • Contact local pet shops
  • Contact grooming parlours
  • Contact local animal rescue organisations
  • Contact animal hospitals
  • Check ‘found’ ads in local papers
  • Place adverts in local newspapers
  • Post printed notes through neighbours’ doors
  • Ask local shops and businesses to put posters in their windows

How can pet insurance help?

As well as all the emotional trauma of losing a much-loved pet, there could also be considerable expense if you want to advertise or offer a reward. And what if you paid a lot of money for a pedigree breed?

Check out how Churchill pet insurance could help.

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