Safeguarding your pet before they have a chance to get lost is the best strategy for taking care of your pets, but when your pets have an opportunity to roam, the risk of losing them runs high. Pet-proofing your backyard and home takes time, and there is still a chance that you lose them when they figure out an escape route! In addition to preventative measures, here are some tips for finding a lost pet.
1. Search your own property first. Even though you’ll be in panic mode for some time, you’ll want to check your home thoroughly for any indications of your lost pet. Cats especially can get stuck in small areas such as ventilation, floorboards, or even cupboards. Look in every corner, and jingle any pet toys you have available so that they can respond if they’re in the area. Small dogs and other animals can easily crawl into spaces under a house, in the attic, or even into a sewer pipe! Grab a flashlight and check as many areas as possible.
2. Use a dog whistle. Getting your pet’s attention with specially-pitched sounds can help lead the way to their hideout! A noisy toy can have the same effect, and you can use this throughout your neighborhood and back yard to get their attention. Any noise that your pet is familiar with can help find them much more easily.
3. Use some ‘common scents!’. Most animals use their sense of smell to guide them, and if you place their favorite foods in strategic places in the home, you may find them sneaking out of their hidden area. If you know your lost pet is off your property, putting their bedding and even smelly clothing outdoors can help them find their way back home.
4. Visit the local animal shelter. Lost pets are easily tracked down by animal control centers, humane societies, and other agencies. If your lost pet is found by a neighbor or community member without an ID tag, it will most likely end up at one of these centers or agencies.
5. Start posting flyers for your lost pet. Print up some posters on brightly colored paper, add a picture and description of your pet, and put them up in highly visible areas. It’s important that you include all your contact information and include the time and date that you found out your pet was missing.
6. Send an e-mail to neighborhood groups and community boards. You can post a bulletin or send a quick e-mail alert to the local area to get your message out easily.
7. Check the newspaper and Craigslist ‘found’ ads section. This is a great place to take review a daily list of lost pets in your area, and can provide some leads for your research. Just make sure you respond to an ad by taking someone along with you, and make arrangements to meet them in a public place.
8. Go door-to-door in your neighborhood. Head over to the houses in the neighborhood, introduce yourself, and leave your contact information. You can make a miniature postcard and print it right from your home computer; a brief description, picture, and phone number are all you need to include, and you can even offer a reward for anyone who finds your lost pet.
It’s important to keep fences and doors securely locked, especially when your pet is not kept in a cage, a special room, or a carrier. Keep some snapshots of your pet on hand so you’ll always have something available should you need to advertise locally. Finding a lost pet requires a level head and patience; recovering your loyal friend is easier when you have a plan and make sure your message gets heard!