Any person who has ever had a dog or a cat or even a pet chameleon knows just how bad it can feel when that pet goes missing. You look around your house or yard, you call and call for your pet, but he or she is absolutely no place to be found. Your pet is lost. But as bad as this may seem to you, there are many things that you can do to increase the likelihood that your lost cat, dog, or chameleon will be found. So take a deep breath and follow these helpful tips for finding a lost pet.
1. Start Your Search Right Away
When you lose your pet, you will want to get started looking for it right away. The sooner you start your search, the more likely you will find your pet since it will probably be closer by. Those who may have found your pet might hold onto it for a while before taking it to a shelter, so it may still be in their possession.
2. Think Like Your Pet
First of all, what kind of pet do you have? Is it a cat that slipped out of your front door when you weren’t looking? Or did your dog dash off in chase of a squirrel at the park and now he can’t be found? Whereas some dogs, especially larger ones, can wander a great distance in a relatively small amount of time, a house cat probably isn’t going to go too far. So, start by considering how large of an area you should search in for your lost pet. A block or two might be more than enough for a cat gone astray whereas owners of a Alaskan sled dog might need to widen their search a considerable distance.
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3. Consider Your Pet’s Temperament
Also, consider your pet’s personality. Is your lost dog an outgoing and friendly pooch? Or does he tend to be shy? A sociable dog that has found itself missing its owner might want to find other dogs or people to calm its nerves. Thus, you may want to check local parks, dog run areas, or anywhere people and dogs congregate.
Cat owners will want to think along the same lines. Cats are usually pretty curious animals and there are many stories of cats wandering into garages or other open doors and then accidentally being closed inside. Head out into the neighborhood and call to your kitty in a friendly, reassuring manner. You may get a meow back from behind a closed door or up a tree!
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4. Start Making Calls
While some friends or members of your family are out scouring the neighborhood, you should be on the phone making phone calls to places lost pets might end up. You will want to start by phoning all of the pet shelters in your area. Start with those shelters closest by and widen your search if you come up empty handed. Also, call veterinarian offices, pet grooming places, and pet sitting agencies in your area. These folks love and care for pets are likely to take in a lost pet when they run across one.
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5. Head to the Internet
These days, there are all sorts of resources for finding lost pets online. There are a number of both national and local websites that help people locate lost animals. You can post pictures of your lost pet as well as look through photos that people have posted of pets they have found. CraigsList is also a good place to post descriptions of a lost cat or dog.
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6. Visit Animal Shelters
Even if you’ve called local animal shelters repeatedly in search of your lost pet, visit in person too. These are usually very busy places, with workers handling many animals. Go to these shelters and look for your pet yourself.
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7. Make Lost Pet Posters
Those who have lost a pet shouldn’t forget the old fashioned ways. Make some eye catching posters with a picture of your lost pet and post it on telephone poles and in public places around town. For this reason alone it is a good idea to keep good pictures of your pet on hand. And be sure to offer a reward!
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8. Check Your Old Neighborhood
If you’ve recently moved, it can be a good idea to head back to the old neighborhood to look for your pet. Many animals have a keen sense of direction and can travel a great distance to get back to an area they know well. Your lost cat or dog may in its confusion end up sitting on the doorstep of your old house.
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9. Spread the Word
Talk to friends, neighbors, people at the local café about your lost pet. Hand out fliers at the supermarket. The more you tell people, the more eyes will be open for your pet.
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10. Stay Hopeful
Even if your pet has been gone a week, 2 weeks, or a month, don’t give up hope. Keep looking and keep spreading the word. There are many stories of a cat coming unexpectedly home a half a year later or a dog being found two towns over. Keep the faith.
It can be hard to find your lost pet, but you shouldn’t stop searching. Have you ever found a lost pet? Do you have any tips to share with us?