Tips on Finding a Lost Pet

This information has been condensed and rewritten, with permission from www.petrescue.com Copyright © 1997, 1998 Pet Action League
  • Search your property and neighborhood thoroughly. Cats and small dogs can get into tiny spaces. Look behind, under, and inside your appliances and furniture. Check your roof, attic and trees for cats. Leave a written description of your lost pet and your phone number with neighbors, your local postman, paperboy, parents waiting at school bus stops, and school crossing guards.
  • Call local veterinarian offices and visit all local Animal Control, humane societies, and animal shelters, in your area. Find out if any animal that resembles your pet was injured and brought in for treatment, if so visit the office in person. Leave a picture of your pet and your phone number at every office and shelter. Check the shelters every day or two, in person.
  • Post flyers in the vicinity of where your pet was lost. Post at as many local businesses as possible. Include a picture or description of your pet and your telephone number. Withhold some distinctive characteristics. It may be necessary to verify if someone has actually found your pet. DON'T INCLUDE YOUR NAME OR ADDRESS ON THE FLYER! Finally, if offering a reward, don't state the amount.
  • Place an ad in your local newspaper including the Sunday edition. It's also a good idea to place ads in mass mailer type of publications that you may have in your area. Check the newspaper "found" ads daily. Also check regularly in any other local publications.
  • Check local shelter websites (OC Animal Care's website is updated every 30 minutes) and also lost and found postings on websites such as Craigs List.The internet can be a great way to search for a lost pet, but always take normal precautions when interacting with emails and postings that are not from your local animal shelter
  • Find out if your pet has been a casualty on the road. This is a sorrowful but necessary task. Call around and find out which agency retrieves dead animals from the roadside in your area. Ask if they have found your pet's body.
  • Words of warning: NEVER respond to a "found" pet contact alone. Take someone with you and arrange to meet in a public place. Don't invite the person to your home. Be on the alert for money scams. Use the identifying information you have withheld about your pet. If the person who claims to have found your pet cannot describe these features to you, it's possible they don't have your pet!
  • Don't give up! Pets have been known to find their way back home after being lost for several months.
  • Common-sense tips to protect your pets:
    • Fence your yard and check it regularly for escape routes. For the safety of both your pet and visitors (wanted or unwanted), keep yard gates locked.
    • Leash your pets at all times and don't allow them to roam.
    • Keep a collar on your pet that has an ID and CURRENT rabies tag.
    • Transport your pet in a carrier. Never take your pet to the Vet or anywhere unless it is secured.
    • Consider a microchip implant. Chips are a positive and reliable identification for your pet. Most modern shelters scan pets for the device.
    • Get some good photos of your pet.
    • Both males and females will be less likely to wander if they are spayed or neutered. An added benefit is that they will live a longer, happier, healthier life.