What To Do When a Pet Goes Missing
A missing pet often turns up-a little bedraggled and hungry, but no worse for wear. The longer a pet is missing, however, the greater its risk of becoming seriously ill or suffering a road accident. Here’s what to do to find your lost pet promptly.
WHEN A PET GOES MISSING: IMMEDIATE RESPONSE
1. Comb your house and garden.
Cats and small dogs can get into some unlikely places. Check your property thoroughly, including behind appliances, inside wardrobes, any loft, cellar or shed-even tiny crawl spaces and drains. Do not assume that your pet will respond to your frantic calls. If your dog went missing while off his leash when you were walking him, return to the place where you last saw him. After a reasonable period of time, phone home to see if he has returned instinctively.
2. Make familiar noises.
As you walk around, call your pet’s name, rattle a box of treats, squeeze a favourite squeaky toy or use an ultrasonic whistle to get your pet’s attention-they work for both cats and dogs. Stop regularly and listen for a response.
3. Check the neighbourhood.
Talk to as many people as possible, including delivery persons. Leave a written description with your neighbours-include your phone number-and ask them to check any outbuildings. Use a powerful flashlight in your search.
4. Attract with scent.
Animals find their way by smell as well as sound, so place some strongly scented items outside your home-its bedding or a favourite toy, or an unwashed article of your clothing.
WHEN A PET GOES MISSING FOR LONGER
- * Contact animal organizations. Get in touch with local animal shelters and animal control agencies. Many of these organizations can be found online and there are online organizations where you can register your missing pet. If you believe your pet has been stolen, file a report with the police.
- * Put up a poster. Write a full description of your pet, including its colour, size and gender-include as many details as possible-and find a colour photo showing any distinguishing marks. Make up a poster stating when your pet went missing and where it was last seen. Give your contact details and the amount of the reward, if you are offering one. Put up posters around the local area, including lampposts, newsagents and sports facilities (with the permission of the owners).
- * Use local media. To reach as many people as possible in the area, advertise in the local press and on radio stations. To be most effective, do this in the first week after your pet has gone missing.
Got a four-legged friend who’s on his own all day? Check out our tips on Keeping Your Dog Safe While You’re at Work.