One in three pets become lost at some point during their life. We don’t like those odds! All it takes is a door or gate left open for a second or two. But you can increase the chances of getting your companion back.
If your pet has been missing for a few hours or more:
- Consider the circumstances under which your pet was lost. What happened the moment before your pet was lost? For instance, if he was scared (e.g. fireworks), he could run miles before stopping. If he was simply curious about a new scent or critter, he could be considerably closer.
- Think about range. Is the weather fair, which increases your pet’s range? Another factor to keep in mind is his physical condition: how far can he travel? Is the area well-populated (which should limit roaming)? Are there natural obstacles (e.g. cliffs, heavy brush) that’ll make it hard for him to get too far? This will help narrow your search area.
- Think like your pet. Take your pet’s personality into account: is he likely to avoid people or seek them out? Search nooks and crannies for small animals who may be hiding. If you have a social pet (typically dogs), it makes it easier to locate them — or for others to find them
- Make posters. Find a clear photo of your pet and print posters with his name, age, gender, breed, colour, and your contact information. Plaster these on power poles, store windows, pet-related businesses (vets, supply stores, etc.), and community centers.
- Consider a reward. A reward (e.g. $100) can help motivate people to help find him, and it may spark renewed interest if he has been missing for some time.
- Spread the word. Advertise in your local newspapers and sites like Craigslist, FindFido, PetFinder, Lost Pets, and social media.
- Visit animal shelters daily. One of the most critical steps in locating a lost pet is contacting shelters from day one — and keep checking back.
- Don’t forget area vets. Many people report lost pets to these professionals.
- Don’t give up. The search can be disheartening, but don’t quit. Most (85%) lost pets are recovered. Retrace your steps, keep spreading the word, and check with shelters and vets.
- Take preventative action. Help your pet make it back home quickly. While microchips can help, old-fashioned tags are key. Anyone can read them and call you directly.
DocuPet is another invaluable tool, and its online capabilities allow you to expand your reach exponentially. Your pet is given a unique identifying code on their pet tag; this links to their online profile. Report lost pets (and found pets) and notify the DocuPet team, local animal shelter, and your community in seconds. Mobilize an intensive, and effective, search without wasting precious time.
Don’t panic; staying calm can help you find your lost pet. Sometimes, it can take time to get them back. Don’t give up — and get all the help you can.