Sometimes a pet gets through the barriers you use to protect them. Whether they slip out of a cracked door or hop over the dog fence in your yard, finding out that they’re gone can be devastating. So what do you do if your furry friend runs away? Use your resources to find them again! Missing pets often have a traumatizing journey — not an adventure — while out in the world, so they want to get home to you as much you want them back! If you’re ready to learn what you can do to bring your pet back home, read on here for top tips and advice.
Everyone knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this timeless wisdom couldn’t be more relevant when it comes to your pet’s wellbeing. Investing in high-quality identification for your pet is the best measure you can take to ensure their safe return should they get lost. Purchase personalized tags that are actually engraved rather than simply etched — budget tags from box stores easily degrade, making your important contact information challenging or impossible to read.
The importance of using a well-made collar and leash cannot be underestimated. If you’re worried about your pet losing a hanging tag, consider a collar with a riveted nameplate, embroidered information, or built-in ID. Explore high visibility collars and waterproof options, so when people see an animal wandering around the street they also catch sight of a collar and can check where your pet belongs.
Contacting the Pros
When you first notice your pet is missing, your initial instinct may be to run out into the street calling their name. Before you do that, pick up the phone and call all the animal agencies within 50 or 60 miles of your home. Even if you don’t believe your dog or cat could travel that far, someone could have picked them up and dropped them off at a vet’s office or animal shelter farther away. Your pet will never hear you call their name if they’ve already been rescued.
You should also call the animal control center near you, as they often take in strays for several days before delivering them to shelters. Describe your pet to everyone — from their age and fur color to their name and approximate weight.
Searching Near You
Once you’ve let everyone know what to look for, you should go out into the neighborhood and search for your furry friend. Keep an eye out for any locals who frequently spend time out of doors in your area, as they could have seen your pet running around a specific area. Even delivery people, trash collectors, and neighborhood watch can keep an eye out once you describe your pet. Leave them with your phone number or email, so they can contact you if they find your animal.
Using Your Scent
If your pet has only been missing a few hours, this is one of the best tricks in the book. Take some of your dirty clothes or your pet’s favorite toy to an area you visit frequently. Whether they always stop and sniff a certain tree on your walks or you go to the same dog park every day, these are familiar places they would look for you. If they find a familiar toy or scent there, they tend to stay until you show up.
You can take some water to leave in a location for them, but don’t take food because that will attract other (sometimes wild) animals that your pet may avoid.
The internet is a great resource for a number of situations where your pet has disappeared. Whether you’re searching for a microchip or you think someone kidnapped your furry friend and is trying to sell them, checking online can make a big difference. Sites like Home Again and PetLink aggregate pet data so you can search for your pet’s microchip or tag. Those who are worried about more nefarious deeds may want to check out secondhand seller sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or Letgo to see if someone is selling a pet that sounds like it might be yours.
We also suggest using a handy app called Shadow. Shadow is a free app that uses the power of technology and volunteers to reunite lost dogs. The app houses thousands of volunteers with the same love for pets as you have. If you needed any further convincing the app actually works, it’s worth keeping in mind that they’ve already helped to reunite over 2,000 lost dogs with their humans!
Use Tried and True Methods
The old standby of putting up lost adverts hasn’t survived all these years because it doesn’t work. Printing out flyers with pictures and details of your pet and your contact info has helped many owners find their furry friends over the years. Post flyers in your neighborhood, at grocery stores, and popular shops. You can also take out ads in the newspaper to increase the number of people who may come across your lost pet. Describe your pet in as much detail as possible to ensure people know what to look for.
Your furry friend running away is not something you want to think about, but keep these tips in mind and you should be prepared for anything.