My pit bull has wandered off--can she survive this weather?

by Leah DePriest
(Linden, Tennessee U.S.)

I have an 11 month old female, blue Pit Bull named Cali. She recently wandered off while outside during a "potty" break. She has been gone for about 4 days now, along with our 6 year old, long haired, mixed breed dog, who is also a female.

Cali is a permanently inside dog, while the mixed breed dog has been an outside dog all of her life. The temperature hasn't gotten above 40 degrees, and it has been pouring rain all 4 days.

We have no dog catcher in our town, but we do have a pound for unwanted pets or strays. We have very little neighbors, and tons of woods around. We have been out every day on foot and atv looking for her, alerted neighbors, the pound, and everyone we see, or talk to (even strangers.)

Cali and her accomplice, (the mixed breed dog), have ventured off before in the summer but found their way back after 2 days with extreme exhaustion, and wounds to their paws. Being that this is winter weather, i'm so worried that Cali could die from such cold and wet weather. Is it possible my Pit Bull can survive the weather to make her way back home?!

Gale's Reply:

Hi Leah

I'm sorry to hear that your dogs are lost. I do hope they turn up soon.

In answer to your question, it is possible for a short-coated dog like a pit bull to survive in cold, wet weather for a time. But, there are other concerns too--wild animals, flooded areas, ingesting something toxic, getting hit by a car. Not only that, but we're in the early part of winter, late fall really. The weather will be getting harsher in the coming days and weeks.

This is the second time your dogs have wandered off. It's time for a reality check. If you are fortunate enough to get your dogs back, make a commitment to never let this happen again--whatever it takes. You might think your dogs have enough sense not to get themselves lost--but they don't. They can't anticipate and weigh the risks of their actions. It's up to you to do that for them.

If they show up on their own in a few days, you might be tempted to think you worried for nothing--that they would have found their way back eventually. Don't let yourself slide into that frame of mind. Remember how you felt when they were gone and you didn't know whether they were dead or alive--cold, hungry, injured, suffering. Make sure you take the steps necessary to keep them safe and secure going forward.

Good luck.

Comments for My pit bull has wandered off--can she survive this weather?

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Dec 07, 2011
Do whatever it takes.
by: Li

I agree with Gale 100%. Outdoors is not someplace they need to be alone. Now that they have wandered off, you need to do whatever it takes to get them home safe. Post ads on Craigslist and in local shelters, post rewards posters everywhere (even farther out than you think they could have traveled, in businesses and at major intersections), and notify everyone in your area in person. Make sure your ads and posters have large recent color pictures of both dogs. They are more likely to be noticed this way, and it is easier to identify them.

I work at a high volume animal shelter and less than 7% of the strays that come in make it back to their owners. Many owners simply just never look for their pets. But almost all aren't wearing identification or have no microchip. If the dogs are lucky enough to survive and make it home, get them ID tags and microchipped ASAP.

Secondly, if they aren't already, get both of these girls spayed. That could be a reason why they want to wander away.

And lastly, make sure this NEVER happens again. Bring your outdoor dog indoors. Pets aren't lawn ornaments, they are family. If your yard is not fenced in, both dogs should be walked on a leash to prevent anymore adventuring.

I sincerely hope that both dogs return home safely. Best of luck.

Dec 07, 2011
My Pit Bull has wandered off
by: Anonymous

One thing you need to do is erect a small potty enclosure for your dogs out of ranch, or goat fencing (welded wire) and let them do their business in a safe place where they can't get out.

One time might have given you the concern of letting it happen again. We have a run along the side of the house, with gravel and some dirt, but exclusive of letting any of ours get out into the general area. Now that my dogs got out when the outer fence went down, one time was enough to change our habits when it comes to letting them out. We also have a small Pom that uses that area. He would definitely run, he's a nomad, lol.

If you're in a rural area as we are, the city rules don't apply. If a farmer or resident sees your dog as a threat and it's on their property, they can shoot it with no ramifications.

I hope you find them, let us know, but next time hopefully get that enclosure going.

Good luck and I'm saying a prayer for their safe return.

Dec 07, 2011
by: leah

thanks so much for the prayers!!

Dec 07, 2011
by: LEAH

Thank you for your advise. We have posted sighns and picture along with our numbers. She has an I.D. tag olong with her rabies tag on her caller, she also has a shock caller on (water proof). We use that for means of keeping her in the perimeter we want her in after the last venture, but apparently it wasn't set high enough to allert her of the perimeter boarder. In conclusion, we have done all the means possible to alert our town and nieghboring towns, again, thank you so much!

Dec 08, 2011
Another Option
by: Gale

Hi Leah: I believe the electric fence/shock collar set up has serious limitations. Strong-willed dogs (like pit bulls) can become tolerant of the shock. And the tendency is to keep setting the alert higher and higher.

I have heard of a dog dying from the system malfunctioning and delivering too much voltage for too long and stopping the dog's heart. And, in another instance, a dog being treated by a vet for an open, infected wound that had been created because the shock collar burned through his fur and skin over time after he repeatedly violated the fence boundary.

Then there's the whole issue of the psychological effects on an animal of repeated shocks. The manufacturers and people who sell these contraptions down play the physical and psychological risks. But, I believe they are very real.

If you like the idea of using technology to help you keep track of your pets, you might want to look into Tagg Pet Tracker. It's a collar with GPS that alerts you when your dog has crossed a boundary via your computer or mobile device. It also lets you track your pet's location.

Again, good luck. I hope Cali and her "accomplice" are found soon and are safe.

Dec 09, 2011
by: leah

Cali has made it home safe and sound. She is very hungry and dehidrated but we have taken the proper steps to get her healthy, and to make sure this doesn't happen again. Thaks again.

Dec 09, 2011
Wonderful News
by: Gale

I'm so relieved to hear the Cali is safe. I hope your other dog made it home too. Thanks for letting us know about Cali.

Dec 14, 2011
: (
by: Leah

Well miss gale, i have some bad news about Cali. We took a trip to the vet after i noticed her loss of appetite and blood in her stoole. After a very sad day there at the vet we where told she has parvo. :( Now we have kept her up to date on all her vaccines but she still cought the viruse. We are taking all the measures possible to "bring her back to life," and nurse her back to health, but the vet says she has about a 50/50 chance of living. I WILL NOT give up on my baby, and will do anything in my power to help her, but as for now i ask that you please keep my Cali baby in your prayers. As for everyone else, I ask that everyone keep their pets vaccinated to prevent watching your loved one go through something like this.
P.S. Our outside dog is home too. She also went to the vet, and she is perfectly healthy.

Dec 15, 2011
You and Cali are in my prayers
by: Gale

I'm so sorry Cali is sick. I've heard of this before--a vaccinated dog contracting Parvo. I'm glad your other dog made it home and is healthy. I will keep you and Cali in my prayers.

Dec 23, 2011
by: leah

Cali has made a full recovery from her parvo. . . She is now eating and drinking, and back to her playfull self. thanks so much

Dec 23, 2011
by: Gale

Leah, that's such good news. Thanks for letting us know. :)

Aug 03, 2012
by: Bre

No matter where you live your dogs should NEVER be left free to roam! I as a proud do owner pray to god that you don't get your dog back. I hope it wanders to a good home that has a leash & fence & some love for the animals. I see all these pet owners on Craigslist saying oh my dog ran away & I'm so sad, but no I wasn't out watching him & no he wasn't on a leash help me bring my dog home.... My response is they may be pets but you are the one they are depending on to keep them safe & you haven't even managed that one twice now! Makes me sic to know anyone could be that irresponsible.

Feb 01, 2015
If I were you... NEW
by: Anonymous

If I were you I'd get off the computer and get out there and look for the dog...put up flyers, ask around, drive around, but don't sit there on the computer asking questions like this while the dog is outside in the elements. Sheesh.

Sep 21, 2015
I really love dogs NEW
by: Anonymous

I really love is very faithful and very intelligent. This post about My pit bull has wandered is very informative about pit bull dogs. keep it up and share more post like that's.

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