What to do if You Lose Your Pet
Losing a pet is a traumatic experience. After all, they’re a member of your family and a source of joy, so having that suddenly gone is emotional.
It’s easy to panic and either start doing things erratically or give up on ever finding your pet. While both are understandable reactions, even though it’s difficult, you need to stay as calm as possible and recruit all the help you can get. Also, remember that even after being lost for days, weeks, or months, pets have been reunited with their owners.
The moment you realize your pet is missing, it’s time to start searching. Of course, start around your house and yard, then expand the search from there. Recruit the help of anyone you can right then. Call your pet’s name periodically since it might respond.
You can search in your car but keep the windows down and keep calling your pet’s name periodically. You should also stop your car and get out often for a better look.
Canvas the Area
While searching using your car lets you cover a greater distance, your pet might stay away from roads. This means you need to walk through areas you can’t see well from your car, like jogging paths, wooded lots, or alleys.
Your pet is likely frightened and could do things you can’t predict, so don’t try just going to their favorite spots. If you do see your pet, it may be frightened, so don’t make chase if they don’t come to you. Instead, sit down on the ground, say your pet’s name frequently as well as other familiar phrases, and be patient. Bring food with you and set it on the ground slowly, possibly luring your pet to approach.
Try looking at night or near dawn. Sometimes animals hide during the day, so you might have better luck.
Getting the word out that you’re looking for your lost pet is critical. If after your initial search you come up empty-handed, it’s time to make posters. Put “Lost Cat” or whatever type of animal you’re missing in large letters at the top. Include a color picture that’s also large, plus your contact info in large letters at the bottom. Above your contact info, include a full description of your pet, including the breed, coloring, and name. Offer a reward, but don’t specify how much.
Put these posters up on posts all over your area. Ask businesses if you can put the poster up inside. Tape one up to your front window.
Also, print out small cards with the same information and a picture of your pet. As you talk to people, you can hand a card over, so they have everything with them.
Call Radio Stations
Some local radio stations will broadcast lost pet info for free. This is another tool to get the word out.
Reach out to family, friends, and neighbors to let them know you’ve lost your pet. A text message can be a nice way to get the information out quickly, plus you can include a picture of your pet, in case people don’t remember what it looks like.
If there’s anyone you think would be willing to help you look, call them individually and ask. The more people you can get out hunting down your lost pet, the more likely you’ll find them.
Call Shelters and Hospitals
Contact each animal shelter, pound, pet hospital, and veterinarian clinic in the greater area. Someone might have taken you pet to one far from your house, so don’t just stick to your immediate location.
Call animal control agencies in your area. They may have already caught your pet and would be willing to arrange for its safe return.
Don’t just call, also visit each shelter. Sometimes workers make mistakes and don’t realize your pet is at their facility, so check over the animals there yourself.
Take to Social Media
Through Facebook and other platforms, you have immediate access to people in your area. Find all local groups where you can post about your missing pet. Many areas have a lost pets group where people who find an animal might check. Use the same information as you did for the posters.
While you should post on these groups immediately after you lost your pet, circle back and post updates if your pet remains lost in the coming weeks.
Take Preventative Measures
Before your pet gets lost, take some steps to assure their safe return.
Always have your pet wear ID tags, even when you’re just home. These should include your phone number, so someone else can call if they find your pet.
Look into getting a microchip for your pet. Animal shelters, veterinarian hospitals, etc. can read these chips and contact the owner.