Let’s Recognize National Lost Dog Awareness Day, April 23rd

This April 23rd is the 10th anniversary of National Lost Dog Awareness Day—a day started by The Lost Dogs of America—an all-volunteer group that originated in 2011 as a way to help reunite lost dogs with their owners. Since its inception, it has gathered more than 700,000 supporters and helped 145,000 dogs return home in all 50 states.

In honor of the day, we want to share the group’s Top 4 ways to increase the reach of your lost pet’s social media post—an effective way to get the word out, if used properly. But before we give you these tips, here is a list of important things to do before your pet is lost.

  • Get your dog microchipped.
  • Update the information on your microchip if it has been a few years.
  • Take plenty of current photos of your pet, and post them on social media, so friends can recognize them if they get lost.
  • Take steps to put up fencing or repair damage to an old fence to prevent your dog from getting lost.
  • Purchase an ID collar for your dog, so anyone who finds them will have your phone number and address.

The first thing to do when your dog goes missing is to register him or her with Pet FBI, a free database and information center for lost and found pets. This service will add your pet to the National database and allow you to create an eye-catching flyer that can be used in your search.

While this article is giving you tips for social media, keep in mind that there are still many people who don’t use social media or don’t have a computer. So, delivering or posting printed flyers in the area where your dog was last seen is still the number one way that lost pets are found.

Once your Pet FBI flyer has been created, a volunteer from Lost Dogs of America will post the flyer on a corresponding state or provincial Facebook page. From there, you can increase the social media reach of your flyer by following these four steps.

1. After you’ve filled out the report with Pet FBI, go to the corresponding state Facebook page and comment on your pet’s flyer.

For example, “Fido is our dog and we miss him terribly. Please share his flyer to help bring him home.” Please allow some time to see the post, it may take several hours depending upon the time of day and number of volunteers available.

2. Share the flyer to your personal Facebook page

Ask your family and friends to share it, too. The more shares and comments, the more likely your flyer will be to appear in other peoples’ newsfeeds.

3. Share the flyer on any neighborhood pages

Also share your flyer on shelter or rescue pages, and local buy and sell or lost and found pages and groups in your area. You can find these by entering key words into the Facebook search bar at the top of Facebook. Use your city or town name and another key word to see what will pop up. Go to these pages or groups and politely explain that your pet is missing. For example, “Please help me! Our dog Fido is missing. Will you share his flyer to your main newsfeed to help bring him home safely? Thank you!”

4. Comment under your dog’s flyer when it’s shared on a Facebook page or group

Keep a list of where you have posted it so that you can monitor for comments and update your pet’s status.

Lastly, don’t trust lost pet services who claim they will “boost” your Facebook post for a fee and send alerts to local shelters. We receive many complaints from unhappy customers who were charged a fee and have not received the service they were promised.

While we hope you will never have to use these tips or services, it’s best to keep this information handy in the event you might have to use it one day.