Search and identification methods that owners use to find a lost dog

Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (Impact Factor: 1.56). 02/2007; 230(2):211-6. DOI: 10.2460/javma.230.2.211
Source: PubMed


To characterize the process by which owners search for lost dogs and identify factors associated with time to recovery.
Cross-sectional study.
Owners of 187 dogs lost in Montgomery County, Ohio, between June 1 and September 30, 2005.
A telephone survey was conducted.
132 of the 187 (71%) dogs were recovered; median time to recovery was 2 days (range, 0.5 to 21 days). Dogs were recovered primarily through a call or visit to an animal agency (46 [34.8%]), a dog license tag (24 [18.2%]), and posting of neighborhood signs (20 [15.2%]). Eighty-nine (48%) dogs had some type of identification at the time they were lost (ie, identification tag, dog license tag, rabies tag, or microchip). Owners had a higher likelihood of recovery when they called an animal agency (hazard ratio, 2.1), visited an animal agency (1.8), and posted neighborhood signs. Dogs that were wearing a dog license tag also had a higher likelihood of recovery (hazard ratio, 1.6). Owners were less likely to recover their dogs if they believed their dogs were stolen (hazard ratio, 0.3).
Results suggest that various factors are associated with the likelihood that owners will recover a lost dog. Both animal agencies and veterinarians can play a role in educating dog owners on the importance of identification tags, licensing, and microchips and can help to emphasize the importance of having a search plan in case a dog is lost.

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    • "Confinement of companion dogs to the owner's property, except when taken out by the owner, may reduce the risk of dogs becoming lost or a nuisance to others. If dogs do become lost, then identification by means of registration and microchipping may increase the chances of reunion (Lord et al. 2007). Appropriate training and socialization is also associated with positive outcomes for both dogs and their owners (Bennett and Rohlf 2007). "
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