What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing
It’s every pet parents' worst nightmare … somehow, someway, your beloved pet goes missing. I see way too many posts on sites like Nextdoor and Facebook from distraught and heartbroken pet owners desperate to find their fur baby. Hopefully you will never find yourself in this situation, but if you or someone you know does, I’ve put together some tips on what to do if your pet goes missing.
The second you realize your pet is missing, do something! You will undoubtedly be upset, anxious, worried and sad- but don’t let these feelings delay the steps you should take to help bring your furry friend home. The sooner you begin your search, the better the odds.
Search your neighborhood or the area where your pet was lost while calling your pet’s name. Make sure to let people know she’s missing and enlist their help! Check spots where your pet could have gotten trapped or might be hiding (under cars, garages, basements, etc.)
TIP: check at all hours of the day and night. Make sure to go out at 2am or some other time when most of the world is asleep and it’s quiet out.
SIGNS Go old school and make “lost pet” signs by using a recent photo of your pet along with any other distinguishable markings. Include information such as whether your pet is skittish, doesn’t like to be approached, etc. and tips on the best way to approach (or not approach) your pet. Also make sure to mention whether or not your pet is wearing an I.D. tag (all pets should be!) or microchipped. Put these signs all over your neighborhood or area where your pet went missing. Post them at pet stores, vet offices, grocery stores, coffee shops, libraries, etc. I would take it a step further and put fliers under neighbors doors too.
TIP: don’t forget to include several ways for people to contact you.
This is where sites like Nextdoor can really help. Take the same information you put on the signs and post it on all your social media accounts.
TIP: Make sure to ask people to share your post. ADS Some people do still read newspapers! Place ads in local or town papers and offer a reward in case someone found your untagged pet and was thinking of keeping her. Make sure to also keep a close eye on the found ads and respond to any that might be close to your pet’s description. If your furry friend has been wandering the streets for any amount of time, white pets might look more grey, for example, and the ad's description may not exactly describe your pet.
WHERE TO LOOK
Check with your local shelters every day- in person. Don’t just call. I realize that social distancing might make this a bit tough these days, but go in person if you can so that you can physically search for your pet. Some animals are hard to describe over the phone and you are the only one who really knows what your pet looks like. Call all animal control agencies in your town and surrounding areas. Animal control officers work through the police department and pick up stray animals.
TIP: Call them or check their shelters at least every two days.
Speaking from personal experience when recently trying to help my aunt find her lost kitty, Bradley Cooper, there are some really amazing national locator services out there. I placed a listing with www.lostmykitty.com and they were great. Thankfully Bradley Cooper was found at the neighbor’s house the next day, but working with a network like this one was very reassuring. Pawboost is a wonderful resource in that it can help you create a listing for your lost pet, but also allows you to search their lost & found database for runaway pets that have been picked up and are waiting to be found. There is no shortage of these services out there and most of them are free with the option to upgrade your account to get additional benefits. ADDITIONAL HELPFUL WEBSITES & RESOURCES
Pet FBI Animal Welfare League of Alexandria Animal Welfare League of Arlington Find My Cat
For additional help, information, tips or resources, please contact us!
The daughter of an award-winning travel writer, Kimberly has followed in her mother’s footsteps and has had articles published in numerous publications. She got her first puppy from Santa Claus when she was four years old and has never known a life that didn’t include four-legged family members. An animal advocate, she has rescued pets, volunteered at shelters and has even been known to nurse an injured sparrow back to health. When she’s not busy running a successful pet care business and providing care to her four-legged customers, you can rest assured that she is pampering her 19-year-old kitty, Scout.