Let face it, even the most careful person might find themselves faced with looking for their lost pet. Losing a lost pet can be an emotional disaster. So, we should prepare for losing our pet as we would any disaster:
Always keep a current photo of your pet on your cell phone.
Keeping an image close will later help in creating flyers and showing people what your pet looks like. With the interbreeding of animals, breed descriptions are becoming less and less helpful in describing a pet. We live in times where most pets are described as “pitbull mix.”
Microchip your pet.
As much as I dislike microchipping as a means of identification, it might be the main course of action in getting a pet returned. When you move, make sure you update your registration with the microchip company. Always remember that a microchip is invisible to anyone who might find your pet.
Always keep a collar and identification on your pet.
Identification on a pet is the surest method of getting a pet returned. Having spent many years working in an animal shelter, I know that very few pets are picked up wearing any form of identification. Make sure the information is current. Do not depend on the dog’s license alone, many City Clerk maintain ineffective records.
If your pet becomes lost:
Immediately call your local animal control/shelter.
They can field calls that come in, if someone calls them about finding your pet. One of the biggest mistakes that most people make is never going to their local animal shelter to look for their lost pet. Many finders of lost pets will take the pet to the shelter to register that they found the pet. So if they don’t surrender the pet to the shelter, they will have provided a record to shelter personnel that they have found the pet. Those found reports are frequently posted on a bulletin board in the lobby of the animal shelter. Visit your animal shelter daily.
Check lost and found boards on the web.
Many animal shelters will post on their website images of the animals that have been delivered to them. Many manage a lost and found board where people can post finding a lost pet. Many communities get carried away with lost and found websites, so check with your shelter to see if there is more that one in your area. It is not uncommon to have a half dozen websites serving a community and you’ll need to check each one.
Post lost flyers in your neighborhood.
You are more likely to find your cat in posting within a block of your home. Dogs travel greater distances. Many grocery stores provide an area in which people can post announcements. Fliers can be found online, here is a random one that I found.
If your pet is microchipped, notify the microchip company that your pet is lost and use that call to confirm that your contact information is up to date. Most to animal Facebook groups in your area that your pet is lost. Notify area veterinary clinics of your missing pet. The classified section of your local newspaper will have an area to post for lost property (animals). Many animal shelters have software systems that will allow you to register your microchip with them, so in the even that your pet is ever brought in, you will be recognized as the owner.
Never give up.
There are countless incidents in which a lost pet is returned weeks, month, or years later. Don’t give up hope.