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GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- Handing out flyers and running around the neighborhood used to be the way dog owners searched for their lost pet, but now technology has taken over.

Little George is an 8-month-old Toy Poodle owned by Bob Glass and Chloe Culbreth of Charlotte.

"If he somehow got away from us, it's going to be hard to get him back and we would not want to not find him again," Glass said.

So when they bought him, they got him a microchip. That's where Captain W.S. Melton comes in. He's with Gaston County Animal Control and says any dog with the chip is put into their database. If someone finds George, regardless of where he pranced off to the shelter can track him back to Bob and Chloe.

"Yeah, that's really reassuring," Culbreth said.

On the west coast, an even more advanced method has emerged. "Finding Rover" is an app used only by San Diego County animal shelters. Basically, if you find a lost dog you take a picture of its face, scroll the markers over its eyes and nose, and then send it in. Facial recognition technology is used and if the owner previously used the app to put the dog in the database, it'll match up.

Shelters here aren't using the app yet, but they have plenty of options to give you better odds of finding your dog if it does run away.

"Technology has grown leaps and bounds, and it is available, and it is affordable in most cases," said Captain Melton.

Melton says out of the stray animals they've picked up so far this year, only 18 percent have been reclaimed by owners. He's urging more people to get on board with microchips to increase those numbers and bring their dogs home.

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