Your pet is a beloved member of the family. If they go missing, you need to find them as soon as possible. The first thing to do is remain calm. After that, follow our comprehensive guide to bring home your furry friend and keep them safe.
Step one: Start looking now
Every minute you wait increases your potential search area. Start with a search of the neighborhood, paying special attention to your pet’s favorite spots. Take a recent picture of your pet with you so that you can let everyone know your pet has hit the road and enlist their help as you move through the area.
Step two: Stay near the phone
If your contact info is on your pet’s ID tag, make sure you or someone you trust is available at that number while your pet is missing. You don’t to miss a call from a concerned citizen letting you know they’ve found your pet.
Step three: Contact local shelters
Call your local shelters and animal control center to let them know your pet is missing and to give them a description and contact number. File a missing animal report with every agency within a 60-mile radius of your home. If your pet is gone overnight, visit the shelters daily if you can.
Step four: Put a face on it
It’s easier for people to help you find your four-legged family member if they know what your pet looks like. Post a recent photo on social media, send it to local shelters, and plaster the immediate area with posters. Ask local business owners to post your flyer and try to get your posters in the hands of local delivery drivers, your mail carrier, and other people who travel your neighborhood every day.
Step five: Don’t give up
Even if it’s been a few days, your pet can still be found. As long as you haven’t heard otherwise, keep up the search. Check shelters regularly and make sure your neighbors and friends know you still need their help.
Tips to prevent missing pets
Being reunited with your pet is wonderful. Use these tips to decrease the chances of losing them again.
Puppy proof. Creating a safe environment for your new puppy or dog can go a long way in preventing any mishaps.
Secure the perimeter. Make sure your yard is escape-proof. Keep fences and gates in good repair, and regularly walk around the yard to identify any evidence of digging. Add extra security with motion detectors and security monitors that can let you know via text or email if a gate has been opened or when your pet uses the doggie door.
Use a tracking device. Microchips, collars, and ID tags are invaluable for helping others identify your pet if they’re found. If your pet regularly escapes the yard, a pet tracker will help you identify where they are so you can bring them home safely as quickly as possible.
Remember, your pet is going to make it home sooner if you stay calm and know what to do. Keep this guide handy just in case your pet makes a run for it.
Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more