How long do dogs usually go missing? Here’s What to Do Next

Lost pet behavior

While it’s true that most pets can make their own way home by some sort of internal compass, cats and dogs alike can just as easily get confused when they’ve been too far away from home for too long. But some predictive animal behavior could help you know where to start looking.

For instance, domesticated pets that have been separated from their owners will run and search for shelter and food. Search places where your lost pet may have found access to these. Cats, on the other hand, often go missing in search of a mate. In a lot of cases, they manage to return home on their own.

Picked up by a stranger or a neighbor

If your pet gets picked up by someone, maybe a neighbor or a stranger, it’s possible that the person is either looking for the owner or decides to keep the pet for a while. He may transport the animal to another location, release or give the lost animal away, or call a pound or shelter about the missing pet.

Any or all of these things can happen in a week or not until after several months. With all these different possibilities in mind, there’s always a chance to find your pet as long as you don’t stop searching.

Threats your dog faces in the woods

Although your dog may have better survival skills than others in the woods, it may still face different threats that could harm it as life in the woods is never predictable.

For one, if your dog is unable to find a food or water source within the next 24-72 hours after getting lost in the woods, it may become delirious and that would cause impairment in its sight and vision to further search for food and water source.

Contaminated food and water could also be another big threat to your dog even if it managed to find a source as diarrhea and vomiting kick in.

The inability to find shelter from the rain, overwhelming heat, and the presence of predators is also another major threat to your dog as scavenging coyotes or wolves in packs may decide to hunt down your dog as a food source.

Likewise, if your dog is hurt or has fallen sick while trying to survive the wild, it may become confused and delay the healing process of its wound.

Any unhealed wound is a comfortable bed for bacteria, viruses, and even maggots to find a home in.

Eventually, your dog may succumb to the impending situation.

Depending on the terrain where your dog is lost, dangerous animals and insects, poisonous plants or fruits, traps set by hunters, loose rocks, and uneven cliffs may be dangerous to your dog as well.

9 Steps To Quickly Find Your Lost Dog

I’m sure many dog owners have experienced this before – taking their dogs out for a nice walk in the woods and it starts running around exploring.

While we want them to fully enjoy the outdoors without a leash, we oftentimes feel worried about them running off and not returning.

What will happen if it got lost? How long can a dog survive in the woods until they are found?

Most dogs will be able to survive in the woods for a very long period of time, likely indefinitely.

They have a natural instinct to forage for food and water even if they are domesticated.

That said, it also depends on other factors such as the environment and the dangers it presents.

In this post, we shall explore more about this topic and what you should do if such an unfortunate event happens to you.

When you purchase through our links, we may earn a commission from retailers such as Amazon and Chewy. To learn more, read our disclosure page. What’s in this post? Click to expand