LOST PET RECOVERY TIPS

Get a Lost Pet Recovery Checklist to help you find your pet.

Click the button below for a checklist to use if you have lost your pet. 

 

Need to talk to someone for support and guidance with your pet recovery efforts?

Call the Perpetual Care Hotline: 

1-888-355-7091

PREVENT AND PREPARE

  1. Microchip your pet

  2. Keep your profile information for your microchip updated and keep your microchip records in with your pet’s medical record folder.

  3. Fence your yard or at least an area of your yard for dogs and Provide a catio for your cats rather than letting them go out loose to keep them safe.

  4. Put a collar and ID Tags on your pet.  Use a breakaway collar for your cat.

  5. Safety harness or crate your pet when traveling.

  6. Put a GPS tracking device on your pet.  If you have a “runner”, which is a pet that is always looking to escape, a GPS tracker is highly recommended. 

  7. Teach your pet safety commands

    1. Come

    2. Stop

    3. Stay

  8. Teach your dog not to bolt out the door              

 

Check out our review and recommendations on GPS tracking devices for cats and dogs

The importance of keeping your microchip information current

 

This is a news video and story of a woman who lost her dog and although the dog was microchipped, he was not returned to her because she had not kept her contact information updated.

Need Help making a Flyer?

The 24PetWatch website will generate a flyer for you to print.  Click the button below to go to their website and create a Lost Cat or Lost Dog flyer.

WARNING: You will leave our website when you click on the FLYER MAKER button.

Sample Flyer

LOST PET RECOVERY ACTION PLAN

  1. ESTABLISH COMMAND CENTRAL.  Establish the place from which they escaped as “Command Central”.  If they escaped from your house, that is “Command Central”.  If they escaped while you are at the store, that becomes Command Central, and if they escape while you are traveling, that location now becomes “Command Central”.   That will be the place they know and will probably return to at least for the first 24-48 hours.

  2. FORM A SUPPORT TEAM OF FAMILY & FRIENDS.  Contact all of your family and friends and set up a support team that will help you with your search.  Try not to do it alone, the more people, the greater your chances of finding your pet quicker. Set a specific time for everyone to meet at command central to start the search and a time to return to command central to check in and get updates.

  3. GET SUPPORT FROM LOCAL ANIMAL RESCUES & SHELTERS.  Contact local animal rescue and shelter organizations.  They may have volunteers they can contact and add to your team.  Set a time for everyone to meet at Command Central to coordinate the search.   If you are traveling, find the local animal rescue groups and shelters and ask if they have volunteers to help you.  This is especially important if you can only remain in the area for a day or less to search before you have to get on the road again.

  4. SET UP A COMFORT STATION AT COMMAND CENTRAL.  Create an area that will draw your pet back to you at your command central.  Put out bedding, toys, a box with bedding if it’s a cat, etc, anything that they are used to and carries a familiar scent to keep them returning to your command central as a safety zone.  Put out a dish of water for them.  Do not put out food because it may draw other animals and create a danger zone for your pet. 

  5. MONITOR COMMAND CENTRAL.  If you can, keep someone the pet knows stationed at command central to catch them when they return or at least monitor and remain at command central from time to time during the search.  If command central is in a location that you can set up video monitoring, that would be a way to monitor the times they return and behavior.

  6. SEARCH OUT IN A CIRCLE FROM COMMAND CENTRAL.  Use Command Central as your starting point and search in all directions from that

  7. CREATE AND POST FLYERS.  Post lost pet flyers around the neighborhood, in nearby businesses and hand out to public in your search area.  Include important information such as, “Will jump in your car if you open the door” or “Do not chase or try to catch him, he will run”.  If you are not sure, instruct people to just call in the location and don’t try to catch them because it will scare them from that area.  Offer a reward if you can.

  8. REPORT YOUR LOST PET TO YOUR MICROCHIP PROVIDER.  If your pet is microchipped with a 24/7 lost pet provider, contact them and provide the place for command central if they will let volunteers know where to go to help.

  9. CONTACT THE COUNTY/MUNICIPAL ANIMAL SHELTER AND ANIMAL CONTROL SERVICES.  If someone finds a lost pet they usually turn them into the local county or municipal shelter so it may help to contact the shelter and provide them with a description of your pet, a photo, and your contact information.  Sometimes it can be difficult to identify a cat or dog, so it would be advisable to physically go to the shelter and look at all their animals to see if they have your pet.

  10. CONTACT LOCAL VETERINARIANS AND PET E.R.’S.  In case your pet has been injured and was taken to a vet, you may want to take flyers to the local veterinarians and pet emergency room.

  11. POST TO LOCAL LOST AND FOUND PET SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS.  Post a photo of your pet to your social media.  There are also local lost and found social media groups where you can post.  If you find one, they may know of other groups and they will share your post.

  12. CREATE AND MANAGE A SEARCH PLAN

  • Think about your dog or cat’s behavior and the search area.  Are they friendly and drawn to people or scared of strangers?  Will they jump into a car if invited or will they run for a wooded area to avoid people?  If they are people friendly, focus on getting flyers posted and handed out to people in the area and let them know in the flyer that they are friendly and will jump in their car.  If the pet is afraid of strangers, ask people to take a photo and text it to you with location. 

  • Always start and end your search times at Command Central with your support team.  If that is the place they last remember and know how to get to, so they will be most likely to be drawn back to it, especially if you have set up the comfort station for them.   It is also a good time to coordinate and share updates with your support team.

  • Unless you have a confirmed sighting to use for a focused search, spread out your team in a circle from command central.  Be sure to have your team walk the area and call out your pet’s name.

  • If the lost pet is a cat or the dog is afraid of people, you may want to borrow or buy at least one trap and set it.

  • Early morning before and at dawn and dusk to darkness are the best times to see your cat or dog.  Cats especially will be more active at dusk to darkness.  Dogs may return to the comfort station for the night and be there at dawn.

  • If you have lost your pet while traveling out of town, it will be important to set up your search for at least the next 24-48 hours.  Your search team can become a local rescue organization or animal shelter who should reach out to their volunteers and contacts to help you.  If you have to leave before your pet is found, perhaps that local team can continue the search until you can return.  Identify a strong leader of the local team and share contact information.

  • Remember to re-evaluate your plan if it is not working and there are no sightings of your pet.  Sometimes when we think our pet will run, they hunker down, and when we think they will go to people, they run because they are scared.  Adjust your plan and search area based on confirmed sightings.  People can be over eager to help and it may not be your cat or dog.  Confirm with a photo they send to you, if possible or at least have them verify to your photo.