It can be devastating to discover that your pet is lost. Maybe your dog dug a hole under the fence or your cat wandered too far from home. According to American Humane, about 10 million pets are lost each year in the U.S., resulting in millions ending up in animal shelters across the country. Unfortunately, just 2 percent of cats and 15 percent of dogs that end up in shelters without an ID tag or microchip ultimately reunite with their owners.
Finding a lost pet can be difficult but not impossible. It’s important not to give up hope of finding your furry companion and to do everything in your power to find your beloved pet. Here’s a look at some ways to help find a lost pet, as well as precautions you can take in the future.
Tips to Find Your Lost Pet
The moment that you find that your pet might be missing, it’s important to take action. Start by looking around your home and yard to ensure that your cat or dog has truly gone missing and is not just hiding. Pets tend to stay close to home so there is a good chance that your pet is still nearby. If you are not able to find your pet, try these tips:
1. Review Your Home Security Footage
Today, many people have home security systems that help protect their family and property. Security cameras can also come in useful when you lose a pet. Footage can often tell you how your pet escaped the house or yard, as well as what direction he went. If your pet was taken by a burglar or another person, you’ll also see this on your security camera and can take the next steps, such as contacting the police.
2. Call Your Local Animal Shelter
Depending on how long your pet has been missing, he may have already been picked up by your local animal shelter. Contact your local shelter to ask if any animals matching your pet’s description have been picked up. Also, request that the shelter call you back if your pet is ultimately picked up.
3. Post on Social Media for Help
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be useful for finding lost pets. Create a post on your personal page, as well as community pages in your area, about your situation. Be sure to include a thorough description of your pet, its gender, when and where he was last seen, and a picture. Also, provide a telephone number where people can call you if they happen to see your pet wandering the area or have other information that may be useful.
4. Assemble a Search Party
It can be difficult to look for a lost pet on your own, especially if you live in a big city. Requesting help from others can significantly increase your odds of a successful union. Start by asking friends and family for help looking for your pet. You can also reach out to other people in the community for assistance.
5. Contact the Microchip Company
If your pet is microchipped, contact the microchip company right away. If someone found your missing pet and brought him to a local vet, this information will show on the database of the microchip company. This is especially important if the microchip contains the wrong contact information, preventing the vet from contacting you directly.
6. Make and Post Lost Pet Flyers
While lost pet flyers may seem like an old-fashioned way to find a lost pet, it is still very effective. Passersby who see your flyer may recognize your pet or share the information with others. Ensure that the flyer contains photos of your pet, his name, and a detailed description. Also, provide contact information and possibly a reward for whoever finds your pet.
How to Avoid Losing Your Pet
While accidents happen, there are ways that you can reduce your risk of losing your pet. Here are some tips:
- Do not leave your pet unattended. Pets should never be left unsupervised for extended periods of time, especially outdoors. Bored pets will find a way to escape your car or yard. If you need to leave your pet alone, consider getting a pet sitter or set up a comfortable crate.
- Get your dog microchipped. A microchip or ID tags are some of the best ways to protect a pet. In the event that your pet is lost, a microchip can increase the odds of your pet getting home.
- Spay or neuter your pet. Cats and dogs that have not been fixed are more likely to stray in search of a mate. When your pet does wander, it could become pregnant or get another animal pregnant, resulting in more homeless animals.
- Keep your dog leashed while outdoors. If you’re in a non-enclosed space, keep your pet on a leash. No matter how well you think that your dog is trained, there is a risk that he could run off.
- Build a strong fence on your property. If your dog tends to escape the yard, consider building a strong and resilient fence that is high enough that he can’t jump it.
While you never think it could happen to you, pets get lost every day. Fortunately, there are ways that you can prevent your pet from getting lost and find him quickly in the event that he does get lost.