Even the most careful can have a companion animal go missing – it is a scary situation, but hopefully these recommendations help you be prepared and be reunited with your family member safely and quickly!
- Make sure your pet is microchipped! And once your pet is microchipped, make sure to keep the contact information associated with it current. All shelters, vet offices, and police states have microchip scanners, so your odds of being reunited increase exponentially when your pet is microchipped.
- Call all area shelters and rescue groups to report your missing pet. Give them a detailed description of appearance, your pet’s name, age, breed. But don’t stop there – physically go to those shelters at least once every three days to walk through their stray holding areas to see if your pet is there. Many shelters mean well, but too often they aren’t able to match up your report with a pet that shows up, so go there and check yourself! The three day recommendation is because most states allow shelters to put animals up for adoption or euthanize pets after three days.
- Make a flyer and distribute it around your neighborhood and surrounding areas. Also post your flyer on local community boards in your area (libraries, coffee shops, visitor centers, etc). Include on your flyer a clear, full bodied picture of your pet, your contact information, and their name. A reward is up to you, some say to not do one, but I don’t see why not if you think it will help in your neighborhood.
- Put out food and water on your property. Most pets don’t actually go very far when they get lost, and some become so spooked they forget they have you and a home. Putting out food and water may attract them back.
- Go looking! As I already mentioned, most pets don’t actually go very far, so look at local places that would be a safe hiding spot (under neighbor’s porches, barns, etc), places that have food available (dumpsters, farms, etc) . Do not be discouraged if you find your pet, but they run away. If they are spooked enough, they forget they have a safe home and become semi-feral to survive. Don’t chase after them, use some high value treats (hot dogs are always a good option) to coax them back, and consider setting some live traps with those hot dogs near where you saw them. If you do set the live traps where you spotted them, make sure to check those traps at least twice a day.
Don’t lose hope, and keep looking!