Tips on Finding a Lost Pet

Even just the idea of a runaway pet can be stressful for many pet owners.

We hope it doesn’t happen and we do our best to keep our cats and dogs safe at home—but if one day Buster zips between our legs out the front door, we should have a game plan.

Here are some tips to start with:

Keep Calm

While it may be easier said than done, try not to panic. Once you’ve maintained some level of calmness, work to keep the household calm as well, including other pets.

Get Organized

There are many things you can do to help find your beloved pet, but first you’ll want to organize and coordinate. Make a list and delegate responsibilities to friends and family who want to help.

Tell Everyone

In this day and age of social media overload, it presents a great opportunity to get the word out about your missing pet. Create a flier with a good photo of your pet with relevant information (gender, age, color, breed, etc.) and your contact info. Post the flier on all your social media accounts and all over your neighborhood, as well—including veterinary offices, pet stores, etc.—and send it to rescues and shelters so they can post it on their social media channels and websites. When posting the flier at various locations, go within a 50-mile radius because it’s possible your pet ran a good distance and/or was picked up and taken to another location. Make sure to visit your local shelter every day to see if your pet has been found. Also let neighborhood regulars know your pet is missing (the mailman, gardeners, etc.) and don’t forget the good-old newspaper classifieds section.

Look Everywhere

Think about your pet’s habits and favorite things. Does he have a best friend in the neighborhood he might have to decided to visit? Is there a park he might have gone to because he loves to roll on the grass there? Is he very fearful and more likely to hide in someone’s shed? Look in these places and anywhere else you can think of. Take your pet’s most favorite treat and/or toy when you’re out looking. Don’t forget to look up at trees and flat roofs if you’re searching for a cat. Also, be careful about moving your car—your pet may be hiding under it.

Search Online

There are many lost pet search engines that can be a helpful resource. Look through them all daily if possible. This might be a good assignment for one of your friends or family members helping out.

Offer a Reward

Offering some type of monetary compensation for whomever finds your pet could also be helpful. Add “Reward” to your flier, but don’t mention the amount because an exact number might encourage less than ethical types to try and collect.

Beware of Scammers

Keep one or two specific details about your pet off of your flier and ad. This way you can make sure the person calling actually does have your pet by having him or her describe that detail. Avoid paying the reward in advance of picking up your pet.

It may take some time, but try not to get discouraged. Keep searching and getting the word out and hopefully you and your pet will soon be reunited.

Meet the Author: Jessica Peralta

Jessica Peralta has been a journalist for more than 15 years and an animal lover all her life. She has had dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish, frogs, and rabbits. Her current children are a German shepherd named Guinness and a black kitten named Riot (and he lives up to that name). It’s because of her love for animals that she focused her journalistic career to the world of holistic animal care and pet nutrition. In between keeping Riot and Guinness out of mischief, she’s constantly learning about all the ways she can make them healthier and happier.

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