While we all take concerted efforts to make sure we're never unexpectedly separated from our canine companions, it's not unheard of for the family pooch to go missing.

This can be a sad and stressful time for any dog owner, but there are ways to increase your chances of locating your four-legged friend if they have disappeared.

As Purina suggests, if your mutt is microchipped then this is potentially your best chance of being reunited (indeed, if your pooch doesn't currently carry a microchip then it's a sensible idea to arrange for them to be fitted with one in case they do get lost).

The first thing to do is to get in contact with the microchip company and left them know that your canine has gone missing - as well as checking that the contact details they have for you are up to date.

Next you should head to the spot where you last saw your pooch and spend between 15 and 30 minutes calling their name. Try not to sound distressed or anxious, and move in circles that you should gradually widen before you eventually leave if you're unsuccessful.

A sensible tactic is to ask people who you pass if they've seen your dog, and if they seem willing to help then give them either your or your vet's number in case they do stumble across your dog.

Once you're back home, if you have pet insurance then contact the insurer to make them aware of the situation - they may be able to provide financial assistance or give you advice on how to advertise for your mutt's return.

Having done this, preparing a flyer is a sensible tactic - include information about your canine, as well as the relevant contact details and a photograph if possible. Distribute these as widely as possible throughout the neighbourhood.

Calling local vets and animal rescue centres is another good idea as they can keep a lookout for your pooch based on the description you provide, and can make sure your canine gets its dry dog food before you are eventually reunited.

Written by: Hannah