If your pet is missing, first look all around your home and yard. There are many stories of pets being accidentally locked in garages, sheds, etc. and the owners think they are missing. A scared pet may be found under your house or porch, or hiding in the bushes. Remember, a frightened pet won’t act the same way as a confident pet. Here is a link to an interesting description of how lost pets might behave – it could help you to find your pet. http://missingpetpartnership.org/recovery-lostdog.php
Visit all your neighbors and tell them your pet is missing – and ask if they have seen anything. If they don’t know what your pet looks like, be sure to have a photo. Walk through your neighborhood calling for your pet and talk to everyone you meet about your missing pet. If more people know that your pet is missing, they can help you look for it. Exhaustively search your local area before expanding to a broader area. You can print business cards with your missing pet’s description and your phone number to hand out to people when you talk to them so when they see your pet they will have your information handy.
Make lost pet flyers and post them all around your neighborhood – start with a three mile radius and expand if you don’t find your pet. If you have a large dog, it could have traveled farther than a small dog or cat so you would need to post in a larger area. You may want to put a cell phone number on your flyers as you will be out looking for your pet and not sitting at home by the phone.
This website can help you make a flyer: www.lostdogsearch.com
This site has GREAT tips on how to recover a lost dog by using giant, florescent posters:
Post your pet as missing on:
If the missing pet is a dog, post it on http://www.dogdetective.com too.
You don’t know where the person who finds your pet will look so you need to post in these locations or more – there are literally more than two dozen lost pet websites but these are the primary ones in our area. Be sure to post a photo with your lost pet ads if you have one as a picture truly is worth a thousand words when it comes to identifying a pet. And be sure to regularly check the found pet listings also.
Not everyone who finds your pet may be computer literate so you should also place a lost pet advertisement in your local paper.
Visit area shelters at least every three days to look for your pet. This is very important as they can euthanize or adopt out your pet after 72 hours!
Contact area veterinarians to alert them that your pet is missing. Many people take found pets to veterinarians to see if they have a microchip. Be sure to tell the vets that you will authorize treatment if your pet is brought in and is injured.
If your pet is microchipped: most shelters around here say they scan pets -- but they aren’t required to do so. Don’t rely on the microchip getting your dog back – even if the shelter scans, it is possible for microchips to migrate from the area they were implanted which could cause the shelter to miss it – or they could use a scanner that is incompatible with your pet’s chip and won’t pick it up. You should also let the microchip company and your pet’s vet know that your pet is missing. Sometimes people who want to keep your pet will try to update the owner contact information to their name and address. You want the microchip company to know that is not OK.
If you have done all this and still have not found your pet, you may want to hire someone who can track your pet with dogs – here are a couple sites with tracking resources:
Don’t give up on finding your pet. Where ever they are, they are waiting for you to come get them and take them home. Keep looking. There are lots of stories about pets making their way home months or even years later.
Once you find your pet, delete the lost pet ads, remove all the signs you posted, thank everyone who helped you and if your pet is not already microchipped, get one implanted. They aren’t a guarantee you will get your pet back, but they can help!