When your beloved companion animal strays from home, it can be a traumatic experience for both you and your pet. The Humane Society of the United States offers these tips to help you should your pet become lost:
- Contact local animal shelters and animal control agencies. File a lost pet report with every shelter within a sixty mile radius of your home. If there is no shelter in your community, contact the local police department. Provide these agencies with an accurate description and recent photograph of your pet. Notify the police if you believe that your pet may have been stolen.
- Search the neighborhood. Walk or drive through your neighborhood several times each day. (Early morning and evening are best times to look for lost pets.) Ask neighbors, letter carriers and delivery people if they have seen your pet.
- Advertise. Post signs at grocery stores, community centers, veterinary offices, traffic intersections and other locations and place advertisements in newspapers and with radio stations.
- Leave items with a familiar scent outside your home. A litter box, pet bed, or a sweatshirt recently worn by a loved one can attract a pet who has strayed and become disoriented.
- Be wary of pet-recovery scams. When describing your pet, leave out one identifying characteristic. When talking about your pet to strangers, offer no information, ask many questions, and carefully answer questions posed to you. Be wary of people who insist that you wire them money in order for them to return your pet.
Don't give up your search - even when you have little hope left. Animals who have been lost for months have been reunited with their owners.
A pet (even an indoor pet) has a better chance of being returned if he/she always wears a collar and an ID tag with current information. Ask your local animal shelter and veterinarian if permanent methods of identification (such as tattoos and microchips) are available in your area.