8 Steps to Take If You Lose Your Pet

Here are some steps that you can take so you can find your lost pet faster.

If you haven’t ever had to experience the heartache of having a pet become lost, than consider yourself lucky. Losing your beloved fur baby is traumatic for you both. Here are some steps that the Humane Society suggests that you can take so you may be reunited, sooner rather than later. Don’t lose hope; pets have been reunited with their owners for more than a year after being away.

1. Search the neighborhood.Walk or drive through your neighborhood several times each day. Ask neighbors, letter carriers and delivery people if they have seen your pet. Hand out a recent photograph of your pet and information on how you can be reached if your pet is found.

2. Contact local animal shelters and animal control agencies. File a lost pet report with every shelter within a 60-mile radius of your home and visit the nearest shelters daily, if possible.

3. To find your local shelter, search online or check your phone book. If there is no shelter in your community, contact the local police department. Provide these agencies with an accurate description and a recent photograph of your pet. Notify the police if you believe your pet was stolen.

4. Advertise. Post notices at grocery stores, community centers, veterinary offices, traffic intersections, pet supply stores and other locations. Also, place advertisements in newspapers and with radio stations. Include your pet’s sex, age, weight, breed, color and any special markings. When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it.

5. Try the Internet. These sites may be able to help you out:

6. Be wary of pet-recovery scams. When talking to a stranger who claims to have found your pet, ask him to describe the pet thoroughly before you offer any information. If he does not include the identifying characteristic you left out of the advertisements, he may not really have your pet. Be particularly wary of people who insist that you give or wire them money for the return of your pet.

7. Don’t give up your search. Animals who have been lost for months have been reunited with their owners.

8. Put collars on your pets. A pet—even an indoor pet—has a better chance of being returned if she always wears a collar and an ID tag with your name, address and telephone number. Ask your local animal shelter or veterinarian if permanent methods of identification (such as microchips) are available in your area.

You may also want to consider leaving an open kennel or bed outside on the front stoop or back deck and a bowl of food and water in hopes that if they return on their own, in the middle of the night, they will have warmth and sustenance. Also a strong scented food, such as an opened can of tuna, may entice them back home, sooner.