Would you know what steps to take if your pet is lost? Most likely you think it won’t happen to you. You’re too careful; he’s too well-behaved.
Visit any animal shelter and you will realize quickly that you are wrong. An open door goes unnoticed, a dog gets frightened by a thunder storm, you’re traveling with your pet and someone you’re staying with lets him out. There are so many scenarios and as a result, so many lost pets.
Be prepared and take immediate action
- Microchip your pet and keep that information up to date.
- Even if she’s chipped, have your pet wear a collar with an ID tag and license tag. Make sure the license contact information is kept current. List your mobile phone number as the primary phone since it’s the fastest and most effective way for someone to contact you, no matter where you are.
- Register with a lost and found agency, such as any of the websites listed here.
- Carry current photos of your pets, especially if you’re traveling with them.
- Call your local animal services to report the missing animal; have their number programmed into your mobile phone. Fill out a lost pet report and ask for a lost pet poster to complete and distribute. If you’re traveling with your pet, do a search for “animal services” in the area you’ll be travelling to and have that number handy, just in case.
- Distribute your lost pet posters and hang them on telephone poles over a wide area. Animals can travel further than you think, especially when they’re frightened and confused.
- Make index card-size printouts with the same information on the lost poster. Knock on doors of homes and businesses in every direction from where your pet disappeared. Leave the cards under doors and on car windshields, and give one to every person you meet.
- While you’re canvassing for your pet, call her name often. She may be hiding, but is likely to come out when she hears your voice.
- Contact your animal licensing authority to let them know your pet is missing. Confirm they have your current phone number to contact you. Have this telephone number programmed into your mobile phone.
- Call veterinarians in the area. They can scan pets for microchips, and some veterinarians take in lost pets in their communities.
- Visit all shelters in the area; use Petfinder and Google to find them.
- Ask animal services and every shelter or rescue group you visit where lost pets are taken. In more remote places, they’re often brought to shelters in larger, neighboring cities that can be up to an hour away from where your pet was lost.
- Call the local sheriff’s department to inquire about your pet. They typically take in lost animals when area shelters and animal services are closed.
- Use social media: post a notice on your Facebook page with a photo of your pet and your contact information. If you use Twitter, tweet your pet’s photo, ‘last seen’ address and how to get in touch with you.
- Post your lost pet on local online forums.
- Email everyone you know about your lost pet. Even if they don’t live near where your pet was lost, they might know someone who does.
- Place a “lost” ad in your local newspaper the very first morning your pet is gone. These ads are usually free.
- If you don’t have a mobile phone, check your home answering machine frequently.
- If you put your address on your pet’s ID tag, make sure someone is home in case your pet gets dropped off or if he comes home on his own.
- Leave no stone unturned! Look everywhere, tell everyone and don’t give up!