What to Do if You Lose Your Pet: Pet Recovery Strategy

January 19, 2010



What to Do if You Lose Your Pet:  Pet Recovery Strategy

Losing your pet dog or cat is a tremendous fear shared by every pet owner.  When a beloved pet dog or cat goes missing, emotions can run high amidst an extremely traumatic experience.  Would you know what to do if your pet went missing?

Whether you are a pet owner yourself, provider of pet services, or pet sitting for your friend or neighbor, you should have a plan of action ready because you will need to act quickly. Take time now to print and save this pet recovery strategy:

1) Start Your Coordinated Search Immediately. The second you learn your dog or cat is missing start your search. Your pet will be overwhelmed, too, and can travel far in short time. Interrupt your schedule. Every second counts. This is a dog or cat emergency!

2) Identify People Who Can Help You Find Your Pet.  Who do you ask? Everyone you know and people you run into on the street.  Reach out to family, friends, neighbors, veterinarian personnel, church members, local schools, restaurants, small businesses, fire departments, police stations, grocery stores, gas stations, and area schools, pet sitting businesses & providers of pet services. Consider a national non-profit like Missing Pet Partnership that specializes in lost dog search & rescue.

3) File a Lost Pet Report.  Each state and county is different. Look up your state & county requirements today. If your pet has a Home Again microchip, place an immediate call to them at 1-888-466-3242 and they will notify vet clinics, animal shelters, and pet rescuers within a 25-mile radius of where your dog or cat was lost.  Broaden your reach by utilizing a service such as www.amberpetalert.com that will issue a lost dog or cat alert to area resources up to 100 miles out for a nominal fee.

4) Notify Community Resources About Your Lost Pet.  Reach out to and connect with local animal shelters, animal control, police stations, media outlets, pet sitting businesses & providers of pet services, veterinarians, groomers, trainers, pet stores, dog parks and neighborhood list serves within a 5 to 60 mile radius of where your dog or cat was last seen. Do you have this information handy?  Proactively prepare this list of resources now so you can be prepared should you, a family member, friend or your pet sitter, need it.

5) Advertise Using Lost Pet Posters & Flyers. Put posters up throughout your immediate neighborhood, in community gathering-places, and along roads in high-traffic areas within 5 miles minimum and up to 60 miles beyond. Click here to use this lost pet flyer template. Include a reward (optional but recommended), how to reach you when your dog or cat is found, and current picture of your pet, pet’s sex, age, weight, breed, color and any special markings. For security purposes, use caution when posting your personal information & meeting prospective finders of your pet. Meet in a public place and in the company of another if possible. When describing your pet leave out one identifying characteristic and ask the person who finds your pet to describe it to confirm the finder is authentic.

6) Utilize Social Networking Sites.  Post your lost dog or cat announcement on Facebook, Twitter & Craigslist. Ask your friends to cross-post and Tweet about your lost pet.  Create a Blog or Google Site so you can post up to the minute search & rescue information, making it available to search groups and the public.

7) Stay Positive & Do Not Give Up Hope or Your Search.  Your dog or cat wants to be found just as much as you want to find your pet.  Communicate with your resources.  Retrace all steps.  Repeat all processes.  Follow-up with animal shelters several times a day.  Drive and walk your expanded neighborhood by day and by night, calling out your pet’s name. Your pet dog or cat just may be right around that next corner!

This article was written by Lynn Coccodrilli, owner of Fetch! Pet Care North Arlington & Fetch! Pet Care Northwest Washington DC.   Lynn Coccodrilli can be reached at 888.252.7854.  Fetch! Pet Care is the largest national pet care company in the United States, serving 38 states and more than 2,000 cities and towns.


5 Responses to “What to Do if You Lose Your Pet: Pet Recovery Strategy”

  1. Excellent information that all of us hope we will never need.
    It’s so important to be proactive.
    Thanks Lynn!

  2. This is a great article to keep in case you lose your pet. Very informative!

  3. […] full post on pet – Google Blog Search No Comments by admin on January 19, 2010 filed in Pet Society tagged Blog, Fetch, Lose, […]

  4. Susan Says:

    Be aware that if you advertise a lost pet on Craigs List or equivalent, you could be contacted by a person who claims to have found it and who will ask you for money to ship it back to you. We have heard this from our visitors multiple times. In this case, do not wire them money. Ask where they are located and offer to go to them to pick up your pet. If they are legitimate, they will give you directions.

  5. Be careful of scams and paper the neighborhood. Several of my clients actually found lost dogs and one found the owner after a week of posting signs. He saw her posting it! Luckily a happy ending.

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