The following tips will help prevent your dog from getting lost in the first place:
Always take your dog on a leash wherever you go. Never take the dog out of the car without first attaching the leash before opening the door. Use a leash with a looped handle that you place over your wrist to avoid the lead from being pulled out of your fingers with a sudden movement of the dog.
If you have your hands full, make two trips. Take the dog in one trip and the packages in another. With too many things to hold you are likely to let the leash slip, giving the dog the chance to run away.
Crate train your dog if possible and always keep them in the crate when they are in new or unfamiliar settings.
Avoid allowing small children or individuals that are unfamiliar with your dog from handling or walking your dog when you are not present.
Safety check your fence, kennel or run frequently. Repair any holds, damaged areas or spots the dog has been digging as soon as they are noted.
Keep gates locked and secured, especially when the dog is left outside in the yard.
To help recover a lost dog:
Always have a current picture of your dog available. This is important if you are traveling or away from home. Digital pictures are great because they can be easily reproduced when needed at most photo stores or computer centers.
Know the number for the local shelters, rescues and animal control locations where you are staying. Most of the vets and animal clinics will also post announcements of missing or lost pets.
Keep a collar on your dog with an identifying tag that is up to date. At least have a current phone number on the tag. If you are going on a holiday to a distant location consider having a special tag made with your cell phone number or number where you will be staying.
Microchip your dog. This is a simple, painless procedure where a tiny microchip is implanted under the dog's skin. A simple scan at a shelter or a vet's office will immediately provide contact information for the shelter to contact the owner. Keep all information up to date.
As soon as you notice that your dog is missing contact your local animal control, shelters, rescues and even the local vets in the area. Notify the breed association as well and be prepared to put up flyers, run a add in the newspaper or even post your dog's picture on the internet.
Losing a dog is always stressful and traumatic but having a plan on how to locate the dog will eliminate some of the concern.