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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2007 Jan 15;230(2):211-6.

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

Author information

  • 1Department of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To characterize the process by which owners search for lost dogs and identify factors associated with time to recovery.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE POPULATION:

Owners of 187 dogs lost in Montgomery County, Ohio, between June 1 and September 30, 2005.

PROCEDURES:

A telephone survey was conducted.

RESULTS:

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).

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

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.

PMID:
17223753
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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