Dog-Gone: What to do When Your Pet is Missing

BevHills_iStock_000018737232_Large (3)You’ve searched the closets and under the beds. You’ve walked the neighborhood calling his name, but still no sign of your pet. You may feel frozen or panicked with the knowledge that your pet is missing. And, how do you begin to try to find him?

Unfortunately, this scenario is all too common. Even in the most secure of pet homes, occasionally a door or gate gets left ajar and Fluffy is off like a lightning bolt. But, by staying calm amidst the chaos and taking swift action, you increase your pet’s chances of being safely returned home.

Immediate Actions to Take When Your Pet is Missing

One of the first steps to take when your pet is presumed lost is to notify your pet’s microchip manufacturer. If you haven’t microchipped your pet, now is a good time to do so since this simple step can make an incredible difference in reuniting your lost pet with you.

If possible gather as many friends and family members together to search the neighborhood and surrounding areas while you are making important calls and social media postings.

Next, contact your local police precinct and animal control to file a missing pet report. If you are in the Beverly Hills area, you may also wish to contact the Michigan Humane Society or create an online missing pet alert.

Other steps to take include:

  • Creating a flyer with your pet’s photo, information, and to contact you, to be posted around the neighborhood, in grocery stores, at local parks, libraries, and any other high profile public space
  • Contacting your veterinarian, local pet supply stores, and neighboring vet clinics to see if anyone has dropped off your pet or alerted them to a found pet
  • Using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) to help spread the word and asking others to share your posts and tweets
  • Posting a missing pet ad in local newspapers, and on sites such as Craigslist
  • Leaving food, water, and a crate or blanket in the yard, since many pets will eventually try to wander back home – having food and recognizable scents, etc. will encourage him to remain
  • Visiting shelters daily – don’t assume you will get a phone call since shelters are often busy and understaffed

Along with keeping your pet’s photo and information fresh in people’s minds and remaining vigilant about making those shelter calls each day, it’s also a good idea to offer a reward. Keep in mind, however, to leave some details out about your pet that can help you discern a real lead versus a scam.

You may also wish to ask local media if they would be willing to make announcements or profile your missing pet. Some smaller community radio and newspaper outlets are often willing to support individuals who have lost a pet.

Most importantly, stay calm and hopeful. Many pets do find their way back home.