Losing a pet is a heartbreak that nobody wants to face. But a group representing 1,200 Hampshire dog owners has launched a unique phone app that helps people find their missing pets.

Hailed as a world first, the free app has been developed by the New Forest Dog Owners’ Group and Highcliffe-based Triple W Design. It is available for both Android and Apple (search for NFDOG in the apps stores). Owners can download it and put in their dog’s details (which are kept just on the phone unless there’s a crisis).

If a dog does get lost in the New Forest, they simply touch one button. The app then identifies the location, and sends a message to all other users, as well as notifying the New Forest Dog Owners Group’s highly successful dog recovery service, including use of social media. If someone spots the lost dog, they’ll see a picture and the last known location on their phone. They can send a sighting report to aid the search or say the dog has been found and recovered.