The name call, the search, the panic. Realizing that your pet could be lost is a heart-wrenching feeling. Did they run away? Are they close? Did I leave the door open? The best thing is to take action quickly. To help you, here are some tips on where to start your search so you can be reunited with your friend, faster.
- Make sure Fluffy isn’t hiding in the backyard – As obvious as it may sound, it’s important to check all the nooks and crannies of your house and property before panicking. Pets can be adventurous, and may find themselves stuck or injured somewhere that is outside a field of view. Once you confirm that your pet is missing, try and determine how they escaped. It could help you form an idea about what direction they went in or how far they could be. Once you find your pet, knowing how they escaped can help you proof your home for the future.
- Time to search – If there’s more than one person searching, have someone to stay at home while the others go out to search. That way, someone is there in case your lost pet finds their way back home or someone has found them and is trying to contact you using the information on your pet’s collar. If the number on the tag is your cell phone, make sure you take it with you.
- Take a picture – Bringing a photo of your dog or cat is the easiest way to show people what your pet looks like and is more likely to trigger a memory than a verbal description. If you don’t have a photo of your pet, print a picture of their breed (or the one they most resemble). Show it to neighbours, people walking through by and at your local shelters and parks.
- Power in numbers – Try and bring as many people as you can into the search for lost pets, using a variety of resources and methods. Place posters around your neighborhood, surrounding areas and public bulletin boards to reach as many people as possible, and check and post on lost and found sites and the local newspaper.
Pet identification and registry
Critical to being reunited with your pet is identification and registry services. And when it comes to lost pets, the more ways your pet can be identified, the better. Unfortunately, identification and registry services aren’t linked into each other, and often use different technology. So we encourage combining as many methods as you can.
ID Tags - When your pet has been properly immunized (and/or licensed), your veterinary clinic will provide you with identification tags that include the pet’s ‘file’ number, vaccination records, and the contact information for the clinic.
Pet Registry - Pet identification is most effective when combined with a registry, which links all forms of identification and pet/owner information in one huge database – making both the odds and speed of recovering your pet significantly greater.
Microchipping - Pet microchips are implants that provide permanent ID for your pet. When a scanner is passed over the pet, it transmits the microchip ID number which will help identify the pet. Because it’s placed under the skin, it is less likely to be lost or hard to read.
Tattoos - Most veterinary practices give pet owners the option of having a small, relatively permanent, tattoo made on the inside of a pet’s ear for identification purposes.
Even if preventative measures are taken, a pet’s curiosity and sense of adventure can lead them away from home. The process isn’t always easy, and persistence is key. Get your friends, family, and community involved in your search, and hopefully you and your pet won’t be separated for long.