Lost Pet? 6 Steps to Finding Him
In an ideal world, your pet would never get lost. Unfortunately, sometimes pets wriggle out of collars, escape from the yard, fly out of their cages, or rush after squirrels.
Losing track of your pet is a serious matter. Of the 8 million animals that end up in shelters every year, only 15% to 20% of dogs and 8% of cats are successfully reunited with their owners.
We hope it never happens to you, but if it does, you may feel lost yourself! But there is hope—and lots of avenues for finding lost animals. It’s all about knowing what to do and taking action as soon as you realize your pet is missing. If you know the steps to take and take them immediately, your chances of being reunited with your pet rise significantly.
Here are some steps to take to find your lost pet should you realize they’re missing:
1. Know where to look.
Depending on the type of pet you have, there are a few areas that you’ll immediately want to check for your lost pet. Lost animals tend to follow very specific behavior, and if you can anticipate this behavior, you might be able to find your pet without launching a full-on search.
If your cat is missing, first look in the places where it would feel concealed or hidden.
- Underneath your porch
- In heavy bushes
- Under a car
If at first you don’t find it, look again! And look carefully. A cat that is afraid, sick, or injured will typically hide in silence for a while. Even if you call its name, your furry friend might not meow to let you know where it is right away. Take a flashlight with you, and thoroughly search any areas they would be likely to hide.
It’s a bit trickier to know where to look for a dog. Because dogs are typically more socialized and “people-friendly” than cats, chances are your lost dog has encountered some other humans since it went missing. Dogs that are friendly by nature often go to the first person that calls out to them. Even dogs that are more apprehensive or nervous around humans will often eventually seek out help.
Check with your neighbors to see if anyone has caught a glimpse of your pup. Chances are, your dog didn’t make it very far before a Good Samaritan jumped in to help.
2. Go door-to-door.
If your pet is lost, it’s likely that someone in your neighborhood saw it as it was in the process of getting lost, even if they weren’t aware of it at the time. Knock on each of your neighbor’s doors, let them know when and where your pet went missing, and ask if they’ve seen your pet since. Be sure to give them a description of your animal, and if they have seen your missing pet, get every detail of the sighting from them.
You never know—someone nearby may be caring for your pet while they look for you!
3. Check with your microchip provider.
Hopefully, you’ve had your pet microchipped. If you haven’t, do so immediately! If your pet is found or turned into a shelter, a vet’s office, or Katy Animal Control, the first thing the employees do is check your pet’s microchip.
Once you know your pet is missing, don’t wait around for someone to find it, check its microchip, and get in touch with you! Be proactive. Reach out to your microchip provider to let them know your pet is missing. Most companies will send out notifications to all the shelters, vets, and rescues in your area, so they can be on the lookout for your pet.
4. Call your local veterinarians.
When your pet goes missing, get in touch with your local vets’ offices, even ones that aren’t where you take your pet. Keep them up-to-date on the situation. Not only do lost pets often get turned into vets’ offices, but your vet might also have additional resources or guidance on finding your pet, consoling your family, and getting through the ordeal. They’re also likely plugged in with other vets in the Katy and greater Houston area and can sound the alert within their network.
5. Hang fliers.
Putting up fliers may seem old-fashioned, but it can often do the trick! It raises awareness in nearby neighborhoods, lets your neighbors know your pet is missing, and gives them avenues for getting in touch with you.
On your flyer, use lettering that contrasts with the background, so your message stands out.
Include these things:
- A photo of your pet
- The date and location it went missing
- Your contact information
Place your flyers in highly trafficked locations (like telephone poles and storefronts) in a 5- to 10-block radius of where your pet went missing.
6. Make technology work for you.
Posting in local Facebook groups is the digital version of putting up flyers. Sharing your lost pet information on Facebook not only gets it in front of your network, it allows other people to share the news, passing it along to their networks. This greatly increases the number of people in the Katy area who are aware your pet is missing and can be on the lookout!
To find relevant groups:
Step 1: Go to Facebook.
Step 2: Type in keywords like:
- “Lost pets”
- “Missing pets”
- “Missing animals”
Step 3: Include areas in your searches to make them relevant; for example, “Katy, TX” or “Houston, TX.”
Realizing that your pet has gotten away or hasn’t come home is stressful and can seem scary. But there are so many actions you can take to find them. Remain calm, follow these steps, get the word out! And be sure to check out these four things you can do to help ensure your pet never gets lost in the first place.