You must act quickly if your dog is lost or you believe your dog has been stolen.
Hopefully your dog is chipped or tattooed. Get the relevant details together - it could be a good idea to store these details on your mobile phone address book, at least make sure you know where you can find the infomation immediately if it is needed.
If you think your dog has been stolen call the police. A crime should always be reported so that the appropriate entries are made in the Police National Computer and can be cross-referenced with other reported crimes - you may not be the only person targeted in your area. Ask for a crime number.
Contact your local Dog Warden or the council straight away even if you think your dog may return home. Your dog may already be in their kennels. From the moment the dog is taken in, the clock is ticking; Dog Wardens are required to rehouse the dog within seven days - if they have found a new home for the dog you may lose legal ownership for good.
Report the lost or stolen dog to Doglost, PetLog, Animal Finders and other organisations - see our links page for useful contacts. Make sure they have your up-to-date details.
Check with the RSPCA - many people hand found dogs in to them.
Talk to your neighbours - perhaps they saw something? If not, try posters and leaflets distributed locally and to shops, animal rescue centres, vets and anyone else who may come across a lost dog.
Use the Internet - report the loss on forums, create a Facebook page and a downloadable poster. Information travels fast on the net.
Use the Press - talk to local papers, sporting press and others and if necessary place advertisements.
Most importantly don't give up - sometimes miracles happen. Dogs have been returned to their owners after many months, even years.