It is a horrible, sinking feeling when a pet goes missing. If your cat or dog is lost, there is no time to panic. Your best chance to find your pet is if you can think logically. Here are the top five things to do when your pet goes missing:
The first few minutes and hours are critical when your pet is lost. The longer your cat or dog is off leash, the further away it may wander and the more chance of an accident. If your pet was last seen at home, eliminate all hiding places, such as closets, cabinets, under beds, the basement, garage and other out-of-the-way spaces. Check in your yard under deck areas, in sheds and around shrubbery and garden plants. When the obvious hiding places have been eliminated, it’s time to expand your search.TIP: Bring a favorite toy or shake a box of treats to entice your pet to come out of hiding.
2. Keep Your Phone Handy
Bring your cell phone with you as you search for your pet, and put it to work as a helpful resource tool. A telephone is crucial for incoming and outgoing calls so you can stay on top of the situation and take immediate action.
TIP: Make sure someone is available at all times to answer the phone number on your pet’s I.D. collar. Anyone who finds your pet will likely call the number on the tag, but they might not bother to leave a voice mail message.
3. Bring a Good Photo of Your Pet
A good description of your missing dog or cat is one thing, but a picture is even better. Hopefully, you have at least one current photo of your pet on your cell phone or home computer. Digital pictures are handy for making posters and for showing people when you ask about your lost pet.
TIP: Choose a full-body photo that shows the coloring and unique features of your pet.
4. Use Social Media
After a few hours of searching the neighborhood, it’s time to enlist the world of online social media. Email a description and photo of your missing pet to all your local contacts. Send out a lost pet alert on Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist and Google+, and ask everyone you know to share your posts with their friends and families.
TIP: If you don’t know how, ask a friend to help, because social media is one of the best ways to find lost pets.
5. Be Proactive and Bold
Don’t be shy about asking for help. Call your veterinarian’s office and local pet shelters to see what resources are available. If you suspect your pet was stolen, contact local newspapers and enlist help from radio and television news crews. A micro-chipped pet has the best chance of recovery, and it is essential that your pet’s collar and tags are current.
TIP: Choose only quality cat and dog collars and leashes that can keep your pets safe and secure.