None of us want to imagine a scenario in which our beloved pet goes missing, but unfortunately, accidents do happen. Your dog might escape through the gate you neglected to latch properly while rushing off to work. Or, he could slip out of his collar on a walk, or dig his way under the fence. Your cat could slip out through an open window or door without you noticing.
You just never know.
While these scenarios aren’t necessarily likely to happen, it’s still wise to plan out exactly what to do if you lose your dog or cat. A solid plan of action will get you through this difficult and stressful time.
The first thing you need to do when you realize your cat or dog goes missing is search the immediate area. If he has a leash or collar attached there’s a chance he’s gotten it caught on a branch or a fence post and can’t wriggle free to rejoin you.
Dedicate a significant amount of time to searching for your pet. Don’t be afraid to explore far from where you lost him-- if he was scared (or chasing something) when he escaped, he may have traveled a significant distance before realizing you were nowhere to be found.
If your pet has escaped from your home, the good news is he will likely be able to find his way back easily. Unfortunately, if your dog slips away from you on a walk, or while you're on a trip, it could be trickier for him to find his way back to you.
If you’ve searched for your pet and been unable to locate him, it’s time to move on to the next steps.
Often, stray dogs and cats are reported to local animal shelters and picked up by animal control so they are no longer roaming the streets. Sometimes good samaritans will bring a lost animal they’ve found into the shelter in hopes that the owner will come looking for him or her.
Call your local animal shelters -- or animal shelters located near to where your pet went missing -- and report him or her as lost. Provide them with a description of your pet and the best ways to reach you.
Don’t worry, your work is not done -- there is still more you can do to locate your missing pet.
You may also wish to contact local police stations as someone may have called in to report a stray animal, especially a dog.
If your pet was injured during his solo adventure, there’s a chance someone found him and took him to an animal hospital or clinic. Additionally, many veterinary clinics offer pet boarding and have kennels where they may be willing to house a stray pet while they look for his owner. With this in mind, it’s wise to contact any clinics in the area where your pet went missing.
Social media can be a powerful way to find your lost dog or cat. With the popularity of smartphones these days, there’s no doubt that you have plenty of adorable photos of your furry friend. Now you can use those to find your missing furry friend!
Create a post with a clear image of your pet and informing people that he or she is missing. Include your contact information and any other pertinent information that would help someone identify or approach your pet. Publish the post on your social media profiles and make sure you adjust the settings to allow others to share it.
You would be amazed at how supportive the pet community can be when it comes to locating missing pets!
Next, begin searching local pet-related businesses on Facebook and send them your post via direct message, asking if they would be willing to repost it. Make sure to do this for any and all pet-related businesses in the local area: dog walkers, pet groomers, doggy daycares, veterinary clinics, pet stores and beyond are all fair game!
It might seem silly in this day and age, but in the case of a missing pet, flyers can still be effective. The content of your flyer will be the same as your social media post, but with bigger print and an eye-catching headline.
Hang flyers near where your pet disappeared and also near your home. Once you’ve covered those key areas, start brainstorming community bulletin boards and local businesses that might permit you to hang a flyer in their window. Supermarkets often have bulletin boards, as do community centers and coffee shops.
Understandably, it’s stressful when your pet goes missing, but the good news is that your pet is probably just as eager to return to you as you are to find him or her. Don’t give up your search, and don’t be afraid to get creative when it comes to finding your pet!