When your furry pet strays from home, you keep hope alive that you’ll find him or he will find his way home. But what happens if even after a day or two, he is still nowhere to be found?
As a pet parent, you will do all you can to find your beloved buddy. But to make your search less traumatic, here are seven things you can do that can help you find your best pal much faster.
1. Do a neighborhood check
Don’t skip doing a neighborhood check as someone may have seen your pet around. Walk around your neighborhood and ask people you see on the streets, including children, if they have seen your pet.
Let your neighbors know that your dog or cat is lost too. Don’t forget to carry a picture of your pet with you. Make sure you show or hand it out to as many people as possible together with your contacts just in case someone finds your pet at a later point.
You can also call out your pet’s name, especially during early mornings or at night, when the neighborhood is quiet. Make sure you also check small and peaceful places in your area where your animal may be hiding or stuck.
2. Visit or call local shelters and animal rescue agencies
Visit local animal shelters and file a lost report with them. Carry a recent photo of your pet and leave your contact details with them. If you can’t visit them, ensure you call them and give them a clear description of your pet.
You can get the contacts of local animal centers online, or you can check in your local telephone directory. You can also seek advice from the animal rescue centers on places you can search for your pet.
Animal shelters are an excellent place to look since most people who find lost pets take them here, especially if the animal didn’t have a harness or any other form of identification. Other places you can contact include:
- Pet shops
- The sheriffs or local police department office
- Veterinary hospitals
If you can, visit or contact these places daily as you may find a different person from the one who you contacted first. Most of these offices are also extremely busy, and they may find it hard to make a connection between found animals and your pet.
3. Social media can do wonders
Many people have found their lost pets through social media. Prepare a small digital post that says your pet is lost. Ensure you include a photo of your pet and your contact.
Post the post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, among other social media platforms and ask your friends to share the post as much as possible. If you’re a member of online local community groups, ensure you share your post there as well.
4. Use flyers
Flyers are a great way of spreading the news about your lost pet. You can make many copies and politely hand them to people you find in your neighborhood.
You can also post the flyers on trees, near intersections, at parks, grocery stores, local bulletin boards, schools, gas stations, and anywhere where there are many people. Ensure you seek permission from premises such as grocery stores, schools, or other notable offices before posting your posters.
The flyer should have a clear photo of your pet, and the words missing or lost pet in bold capital letters. You should also include the breed of your pet and any other unique features. Don’t forget to include your contact information.
Including a reward on your flyer can also prompt people to search for your lost pet. But be wary of people who will claim they have found your pet just to get the reward. Let them describe your pet first or let them know they will only get the reward once you see your pet.
5. Use smell to encourage your pet to find their way home
Pets have a powerful sense of smell. They can track the familiar smells of their owners or their favorite equipment.
You can leave your recently worn garment in your backyard or in the neighborhood. A litter box or a food bowl belonging to your pet left outside can also help entice your pet home. The team at We’re All About Cats reiterate this, stating, “Get a really strong smelling canned cat food that your feline friend will be able to smell from a distance. We don’t advocate using dirty cat litter as many sites suggest as the smell could attract aggressive cats into the yard where your lost or trapped cat could be hiding.”
6. Check websites that reunite lost pets with their owners
Some websites can help you find your lost pet. They can reunite you with your missing pet, while others can give you the advice to help you find your pet.
Some of these sites use technologies such as GPS mapping, NFC wireless technology, QR code pet ID tags, and real-time notifications to track lost animals. Others have a database where you can list your lost pet while others can help by sharing your lost animal details across online and offline networks.
Some examples of such websites include:
- Lost Dogs of America
- Missing animal response
- American Society for the prevention of cruelty to animals (ASPCA)
- Helping lost pets
- The lost cat finder
- Michelson found animals foundation
- The center for lost pets
- Pet Amber Alert
- Fido Finder and Tabby Tracker
- Missing pet network
7. Don’t lose hope
It can be daunting to keep searching for your pet without leads. But don’t give up.
Lost pets have been reunited with their owners months after getting lost. Once you find your buddy, have them wear a retractable leash, ID tag, or a microchip so that it will be easier to find them if they ever stray again.