A good number of pets at some point in their lives are lost. No matter how hard you try as a pet owner to keep track of your pet there is always a chance that they will accidentally leave your home, and then become lost in an unfamiliar area and unable to return to you without help. Losing a pet can be a traumatic experience not only as a pet owner, but also for your pet. When you realize that your pet is lost it is important that you act fast to ensure that your pet returns home safely.
Search the Area
As soon as you realize your pet is missing begin to search the area around where your pet was last seen. While you are searching try to be a loud as possible. Call your pets name often and bring along any other family members or friends that your pet may know. A lost pet will often be able to hear a familiar voice and come toward it, even when you can not see your pet.
While you are searching carry around a photograph of your pet and show it to people you may pass by walking or in their yards. The more people you tell about your lost pet, the more people you essentially have on the lookout for your pet and the better your chances are for finding your pet and bringing it home.
If your pet has been missing more than a few hours there is a good chance that an animal shelter, or animal control agency has picked up your pet. Call around to different shelters in your area and give them a description of your pet to see if there are any potential matches in the shelter. If your pet has been missing longer than a few hours take or e-mail a photograph of your pet to the shelter so they can accurately identify your pet should it be brought in. Almost half of all pets found and taken to shelters are euthanized because their owners never come forward to claim them. Check back with the shelters often to make sure your pet is identified should it be brought into a shelter.
Talk To Neighbors
Talk to neighbors within your neighborhood, as well a few people who live in neighborhoods your pet might be familiar with. Animals will often go in search of a familiar area, so think of places you and your pet have gone together (such as parks and favorite walking trails) that your pet might have potentially ended up.
When Your Pet Has Been Gone Longer Than 24 Hours
When your pet has been missing for a day then it is time to start putting up posters. A common mistake in putting up lost pet posters is to place them only in your neighborhood. If your pet was in your neighborhood then in a days’ time they should have been able to find their way home, or would have been found by you during your search. It is safe to assume after a day that you pet has traveled to another area away from your home.
Your poster should have a clear, recent picture of your pet on it as well as your name and phone number. On the poster be sure to indicate your pets’ name, as well as any other names the pet might respond to. Your pet is lost and confused in an unfamiliar area, if a stranger knows their name they may be more likely to go to that person than if they do not. Write on the poster they approximate date and time of your pets loss, as well as the area they were in when they were last seen. If you are offering a reward for your pets’ return indicate that on the poster as well.
Posters should always be put in high traffic areas where a lot of people are likely to see them and have the opportunity to read them. Street corners are good locations for walkers, but motorists will often not be able to read a poster from their car. Think about places in your area where a lot of people would have the opportunity to see the poster, and attempt to post some there. Good high traffic locations to post posters are libraries, grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations. You may also want to post posters at your local pet supply stores, and at your veterinarians’ office.
Check with your local newspaper and see if they run lost pet ads. Many papers will post lost and found pet ads for free. Depending on the size of your area, local radio and television stations may be willing to help you look for your pet as well.
Beware Of Scams
Unfortunately, there are many people who make a living preying on people who have lost pets. If you are offering a reward for your pet, do not pay out any reward money for your pet until your pet is back in your possession.
Scammers will often call and tell you they have your pet in an area far away from where you live and will want money sent before they return your pet. Be very skeptical of calls from places a great distance from your home. If the caller seems to truly have your pet, be sure to request photos before paying to have your pet sent to you. If you have the ability to travel to the area and pick up your pet in person that is always a better solution than sending money to an unknown party to have them return your pet to you. If you personally can not travel to the area, think about friends you may have that would be able to retrieve your pet and have it sent to you.