By Kirah Meade
It happened! Your pet bolted out the door or wiggled out of its collar. Now what?
According to Dr. Jim Humphries of the Veterinary News Network, approximately one out of every three pets are lost each year. Most pets are happily recovered. Acting immediately is the key to finding your pet. As soon as you realize your pet is missing, start your search!
- Immediately search within the neighborhood. The ASPCA reports that almost 50% of lost dogs and 30% of lost cats were found in their own neighborhood.
- Be sure to take a leash, and a favorite squeaky toy, or a box of food – something that makes noise. Also take the pet’s blanket. This is effective because the smell of their blanket can help draw the pet to you when their senses may be overwhelmed by new sights, sounds, smells, and fear.
- When the neighborhood search is complete, leave food, water, and your pet’s blanket outside for your pet, as they may return home when hungry or thirsty.
- Make posters to hang in the neighborhood, at intersections, in area stores, at veterinarian offices, and local shelters. (Checking local shelters, every day, from the first day your pet is lost is important.) Be sure the poster includes a good picture (if you have one), description, markings, and good contact information.
- Place a classified or advertisement in the area newspapers or radio stations.
- Utilize social media resources, such as: Facebook, Twitter, etc…
- The ASPCA offers a free interactive mobile app to provide pet owners with tools to search for and recover a lost pet. Users can also build a lost pet flyer to share on social media. App: ASPCA – by 3 Sided Cube.
- There are also sites such as Craigslist.org, TheCenterForLostPets.com, and FidoFinder.com – where you can post your lost pet’s information.
- Consider using a lost pet recovery service such as FindToto.com. (Ask about fees charged for their services.)
- Don’t give up! Tell everyone you know.
If you offer a reward, be careful of scams. Do not post amount and do not give your full name and address. Do not send money, and never agree to meet anyone alone.
Prevention is the best way to keep your pet safe! Be sure your pet has Identification Tags with your current contact information. Keep your pet on a leash, tie out, or in a fenced in yard.
We would love to hear your story about how your pet became lost and how you found it. Your story could inspire others or help someone else find their last pet.