When a pet is missing, it is an intensely stressful situation. We fear the worst and feel guilty and responsible. It is essential to know that pets can become lost from even the most diligent owners. Some pets are natural escape artists and defy our best attempts to keep them safe and secure. Other pets may panic at loud noises, or simply take off in search of an adventure.
Quick action provides your best hope to find a lost dog. Do not let stress and guilt paralyze you into not taking action. Make a plan of action as soon as you realize your pet is missing.
Use Apps And Social Media
Getting the word out about your missing pet should be your first step. Missing pet apps like Shadow and Find Rover will help you create an area-wide alert. You can also match the photo of your pet to thousands of pets reported found or located in shelters.
Post your missing pet on your personal social media page for friends, neighbors, and family. Once this is one, use local and regional lost and found sites on social media. Post the most recent and clear photo of your pet, and a phone number to contact. Check back frequently, and re-post or bump your post as often as the rules allow.
Contact Shelters And Rescue Groups
If you have help from friends and family members, it is best to send someone to check the area shelters. Have them visit to make sure your pet is not there. Create a lost dog report and check back frequently. Do not forget to check with rescue groups in your area. Many good Samaritans will turn a pet over to a rescue group instead of a shelter.
Dogs can travel farther than you might think. Make sure you check shelters and rescues outside your immediate area. It is also possible that someone may have found your dog, then turned it over to a rescue closer to their home than yours. The humane society recommends that you check shelters within a sixty-mile radius of where the pet went missing.
Make flyers and put them up all around your neighborhood or the area where your dog went missing. You can also use colorful poster board as a background and attach the flyer to the poster board to be more eye-catching. Make more copies of the flyer than you think you will need so that you can distribute them to people you encounter on your search.
Use a detailed picture of your dog and a colorful border around the edges. Make sure your flyer contains all the relevant information:
- The name of your pet
- Your first name and a contact telephone number
- Offer a reward, but consider not listing the specific amount. A reward might leave you vulnerable to scammers.
- Use the word lost or missing in large, bold typeface.
Search The Area Where Your Pet Went Missing
Walk the area where your pet went missing, and return at different times of the day. A lost dog may feel frightened and might initially hide. Look for likely hiding spots. Call your dog’s name in a calm voice. If you do not find your pet quickly, widen your search grid. Use this time to put up more flyers as well.
Talk to your neighbors or those you encounter on the street. Ask them to accept flyers and to contact you immediately if they spot your pet. Ask them to consider sharing the information on their social media. If your dog has a specific spot like a nearby dog park or a neighbor’s dog, they love, visit that area first and often.
It is agonizing when a pet is missing, and you feel frantic about their safety. Continue to work your action plan, and stay optimistic. The good news is that more pets reunite with their owners than ever before. Though you never want to have to wait that long, there are reports of pets being reunited months after they have gone missing.