Skip to Content

How To Find a Lost Dog

When your dog is lost, it’s a scary, and potentially heartbreaking, experience for you and your dog. But there are ways to increase the chances of finding your dog. Perhaps most importantly, there are things you can do beforehand that will dramatically help your dog’s chances of returning safely home.

Read on to learn what you can do ahead of time, or jump to 10 things to do right now if your dog is lost.

You might also be interested in a list of Charlotte veterinarians.

White dog walking alone on a path
Photo: Depositphotos


There are many ways to help keep your dog from being lost a long time. They won’t prevent your dog from taking a walkabout in the neighborhood, but they’ll greatly increase the chances of getting your dog back home safely and quickly.

Register Your Dog

If you live in Charlotte, Mint Hill, Pineville, or an unincorporated area of Mecklenburg County, NC, you are required to register your dog, cat or ferret, as long as the pet is four months of age or older.

If you don’t live in the Charlotte area, contact the animal control department of your municipality.

CMPD Animal Care & Control works with PetData, who manages the licensing of pets. PetData provides a permanent tag that has a QR code, a license number, and an 800 number to call. These tags provide an easy way to identify a found pet.

The cost is $10 per year if your pet is spayed or neutered, and $30 a year for animals that aren’t.

You can register your pet (or renew the registration) online at PetData, or the animal shelter, at 8315 Byrum Drive, Charlotte, NC.

Once you receive the tag you should enter your pet’s information into It’s free to do so, and a great help in identifying a found pet.

More information about registering your pet from CMPD Animal Care & Control.

Microchipping Your Pet

One of the smartest things you can do to keep your pet safe is to microchip it. The advantage of microchips over tags is that even if your dog loses its collar, it can still be identified.

CMPD Animal Care & Control charges only $10 for microchipping your pet. That includes the microchip itself, registration into the local database, and national registration through PetLink. Just make sure to keep your contact information current in the databases.

CMPD AC&C offers a microchip clinic the second Saturday of the month, between 8 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. at the shelter, 8315 Byrum Drive, Charlotte, NC.

They can microchip dogs, cats, ferrets and rabbits, as long as they are at least 2.2 pounds.

The Humane Society of Charlotte also provides microchipping, for $25.

Your veterinarian can also microchip your pet.

Every so often when you take your pet to the vet, ask them to make sure that the microchip can still be scanned. And keep your pet’s microchip number in a file where you can find it.

Yet Another Registry

You can also register your pet at Petco Love Lost. This is a free service. Why register your pet in so many registries? Because people use those registries when they find pets, and the more places your pet is registered, the greater likelihood it has of being reunited with you.

Other Ways to Help Your Dog Be Identified

Microchipping and using the various registries are great ways to help your pet be identified, but there are other simple methods that can help anyone who find your pet contact you right away.

Personalized Dog Collar

GoTags Personalized Dog Collar
  • Durably made with comfort in mind. Made of high-quality nylon webbing, a stainless-steel D-ring for tag and leash attachment, and a secure plastic…
  • Available in 5 colors + 14 thread color options = 70 different collar combo options.
  • Available in 4 sizes: Xsmall, Small, Medium, or Large. Xsmall = 3/8 inch wide by 8-12 inches adjustable length; Small = 5/8 inch wide by 11-16 inches…

You can buy a brightly colored personalized dog collar that has your dog’s name and your phone number on it. The great thing about these collars is that even if someone can’t get close enough to restrain your dog, they might be able to see the phone number and give you a call.


An AirTag is great for locating your lost luggage, but it can sometimes also help to locate your pet. Apple doesn’t endorse the use of AirTags on pets, but it does work, as long as you understand the limitations. In order to locate an AirTag it needs to be within BlueTooth range of someone in the Find My network. So, it will work better in a city than on a hike in the wilderness.

When it does work, the nice thing is that you can see your pet’s location on your phone. And although your pet might be on the move, you can get a very good idea of where it’s at.

You can purchase an AirTag holder that goes right on your dog’s collar. It is also personalized, so it offers yet another way for someone who finds your pet to get in touch with you.

GoTags Engraved Airtag Dog Collar Holder
  • Compatible with most pet collars – flexible openings designed to fit various collar sizes. Size Large compatible with collars 3/4 inch to 1 inch wide. Size Small compatible with collars 5/8 inch wide.
  • Secures Airtag to collar ensuring it won’t fall off. GPS Tracking with Alerts – See your pet’s current location at any time and set up alerts if your pet leaves home. DOES NOT INCLUDE AIRTAG
  • Personalized with up to 4 Lines of Custom Text – Customize your Airtag holder with all your pet’s personal information to ensure their safe return.

10 Things To Do Right Now If Your Dog is Lost

Here are 10 things to do if your dog is lost.

  • Check the “Lost Pet” page on Mecklenburg County Animal Care & Control. The records update hourly, so keep checking back. Check now.
  • If you see your dog in the list, come to the shelter immediately with documentation about your dog. The shelter is at 8315 Byrum Drive, Charlotte, NC. If it’s after hours, call 311 and file a note that you’ll come when the shelter is open.
  • If you don’t see your pet listed, file a Lost Pet Report with Mecklenburg County AC&C.
  • Contact your pet’s microchip company to report your pet as missing.
  • Make posters with a color picture of your pet, and hang them in your neighborhood. Don’t waste time now learning how to create a poster. Use a template like this one on PawBoost to make one quickly.
  • Know your pet and its behavior. Many times a dog likes to just play in the neighborhood, so with permission, check your neighbors’ backyards. Spread the word! Make sure that people know to not chase your dog, but to lure it with a treat, and to call you immediately.
  • If you have a second dog, take it out with you while you search. Also, make sure to bring treats and a leash.
  • Place pieces of your clothing or their favorite dog bed or blanket outside, as well as food and water. Some animals return to a familiar environment. If you have a motion-activated camera, like this Ring Stick-Up Security Camera, you can see if your dog visits the area. You can also set a humane trap.
  • Post a message, with a picture, on your neighborhood Facebook group or Nextdoor. There are also several Facebook groups specifically for lost and found pets. (See below.)
  • There are several websites (see below) to help locate missing pets.

An an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.