Accidents can happen, so it is best to be prepared. No matter how safe you might think your pet is, there could be an unforeseen circumstance that might cause your pet to get lost. It is best to plan ahead.
Always have a fairly current photograph of your pet that you could use on a flyer. Also be sure your dog or cat wears an identification tag at all times as well as a pet license and rabies tag. It is also helpful to have your pet microchipped.
Take action immediately. Search your home and yard carefully. Look under bushes and every area that would be a hiding place for your pet. Walk the neighborhood, especially the route you normally walk your dog. Call your pet and make familiar sounds your pet is used to hearing. Drive around the neighborhood.
If you do not find your dog or cat within a reasonable time after canvassing the neighborhood, make flyers to put around the neighborhood. Alert your neighbors, shelters, mailman, and delivery persons that your pet is missing.
Give the flyers to walkers, joggers, people with dogs, the newspaper delivery person, or anyone you see regularly in your neighborhood. The more people you alert means more people will be on the lookout for your dog or cat. Call and visit the local shelters daily to look for your pet.
Facebook is a helpful tool for getting the word out about your lost pet. Search for groups in your geographical area and send them a picture and description of the last place your pet was seen. Let them know if your pet is nervous and what precautions should be taken if someone finds your pet.
Use bright colored or fluorescent paper for high visibility. The flyer should note if the pet is a LOST DOG or LOST CAT. You should also put the words CALL IF SIGHTED on the flyer. Some pets will not come up to total strangers and it is important to get that sighting so you know your dog or cat is still safe.
Give a description of the pet and telephone numbers where you can be reached. It is good to leave a home number and a cell phone number. If possible, have someone stay at your home to monitor the phone or give a phone number for a friend or family member who can answer the calls for you.
You should put the flyers in plastic protective sleeves to protect them from the weather. It is best to have the opening of the sleeve at the bottom so that rain will not get in the sleeve. Be sure to staple the bottom or, if you use tape to attach the flyer, be sure and tape the bottom so the flyer cannot slip out.
You need to start posting flyers in the immediate neighborhood first and gradually cover a 3-mile radius. You should post at every stop sign/pole that leads in and out of your neighborhood. If you see people while you are putting up the flyers, hand them one and ask them to be on the lookout for your pet. Dogs usually circle within a 3-mile radius of where they were first lost.
If you do get a call of a sighting, respond as soon as possible and try to get as much information as possible. Ask which direction the animal was traveling and if it was walking along the road, sidewalk, or going through yards. Most pets will take the easy route. They will not travel through high brush unless chased.
If you go to the scene where the dog or cat was last spotted, concentrate on that area for a while and talk with people that are outside. Just because your pet was spotted in one location does not mean it will stay there. If you don’t have any success seeing the pet, expand your search radius further.
Be sure and put up flyers at places that people frequent such as shopping centers, schools, playgrounds, bus stops, veterinary offices, and pet stores.
Important Times to Search for your Pet
Pets that are lost seem to travel at dusk and dawn. Be sure and walk or drive around the area during those time periods. Most animals will be exhausted and rest during other parts of the day.
Set Up a Trap
If your dog or cat has been spotted regularly you can set up a humane trap to try and capture him. Your pet will be getting hungry if it has been out on its own. It is good to use a smelly food to bait the trap.
We recommend braunschweiger, liverwurst, or fish. Also you can use other foods to attract the pet. Put pieces of the meat as a trail leading into the trap with the bulk of it at the back of the trap. Place an article of worn clothing in the trap for a familiar scent.
Be sure to monitor the trap, as some animals will try to get out and could harm themselves in the process. Monitor it at least hourly or sit off in a distance to observe.
Things To Do at Home
Leave a bowl of food outside your home and any familiar item of your pet’s with a scent that might lure him back home.
Dont Give Up
Visit your local shelters often; keep an eye on their Facebook pages, as they tend to post pictures of strays in an attempt to reunite them with their owners. Check with rescues in your area. Check if your pet has been killed along the highway by calling city, state, or county departments of transportation to see if they have any information.
Run lost ads in your local papers. Replace any flyers that might come down. Change colors of the paper you use to alert people that your pet is still missing. Never give up.
Use Caution if Someone says they Found your Pet
Never give out all the identifying features of your pet. This way you can ask whoever finds the pet to describe the pet to you. If someone calls and claims they have your pet, have them meet you at a public location if you cannot take along a family member or a friend.
When you Find your Pet
When you do find your pet, stand still and call your pet to come in a calm voice. Use words that will make your pet want to come to you, like “come and get the treat.”
It is also good to sit on the ground when calling for your pet. He will feel less threatened if you are sitting on the ground. You can also make whimpering sounds to make the pet curious to come to you.
Do not chase after your pet, as he might think you are playing a game. Be patient and coax him to you. Most importantly, stay calm.
We wish you the best in finding your lost pet.