You get home after a busy and tiring day at work or school. You open the door to your house when you notice something amiss: there are no tiny, furry paws running toward you and no barks greeting you excitedly. Suddenly it hits you: your beloved pet is missing!
In such a scenario, a person’s first instinct is usually to panic. But it won’t help if you let your panicked feelings get the better of you. According to experts, there is one thing you need to do and that is to get busy. We’ve compiled a short list of tips on how you can locate a lost pet.
1. Don’t waste your time waiting.
When it comes to lost pets, time is of essential value. The longer you wait, the lesser your chances of ever finding your pet. In fact, statistics show that in the first 24 hours, the possibility of recovering is at a high rate of about 90 percent. However, as the days pass, that rate dramatically goes down to approximately 65 percent.
Once you’ve noticed the loss of your pet and you’ve searched for him all over the house, you should then get outside and search your entire neighborhood. Don’t be shy to shout and make a lot of noise if you have to. It’s better to get the attention of your neighbors as they might then be able to help you in your search and might even seen or heard something.
Time is crucial because the longer you wait, the higher the possibility of your pet getting into some kind of trouble or harm. The first places you might need to go to are the local shelters in your area. If a stranger came across your pet, he might have taken him to a shelter. While shelters take in lost pets, they usually have a hold period on untagged animals, after which they will euthanize them.
2. Broadcast the loss using posters and flyers.
Make a “Missing Pet” flyer or poster that you can put up on your neighborhood’s community board or on posts. Include a photo of your pet and other important information such as his breed, age, and color. Don’t forget to include your name and contact details. Go around your neighborhood and distribute these flyers to your neighbors, animal shelters, local businesses, veterinary clinics, traffic intersections, pet supply stores, and police stations.
If you want to and you can afford it, you may consider offering a reward, but take care and be wary of scams. If someone calls you and claims to have found your pet but doesn’t mention any clear identifying marks that he has, the likelihood is that he might not have your pet and is just out to make money out of you. Be careful of people who insist right away that you give them money in exchange for your pet. It would be a good idea to let the police handle those kinds of people.
3. Search and look repeatedly for your pet, especially in places that can be hiding spots for him.
He’s bound to move around all the time, so make it a point to look again in places you’ve searched before. Make it a point to drive through or walk around your neighborhood at least a few times each day until you’ve found him. Lost dogs typically look for vacant sheds or spaces and only come out when they’re hungry and want to look for food, usually on roads and sidewalks. For lost cats, their hiding places are more difficult to find and harder to access.
4. Get collar tags for your pet beforehand.
If you’ve done this already, then good on you—you’re a responsible pet owner. Even the old-fashioned ID tags should be sufficient, provided you’ve put in the necessary details such as your name, address, and a contact number. Dogs and cats that have ID tags on their collars are much more likely to be reunited with their owners. If you don’t tag your pet, there’s a good chance that he might end being lost for good or even that another person might take him in.
5. Consider getting a microchip.
In addition to a tag, a microchip can give you more security when it comes to making sure that your lost pet gets returned to you. Microchips are tiny wafers made of semiconducting material that are used for identification purposes. A microchip is encoded with a pet’s unique identification code and the contact number of its owner. It is then implanted just under the surface of the animal’s skin. When a microchip scanner is run over the body of the dog or cat, the chip then transmits the unique ID code and the contact number of its owner through radio frequency waves.
When you decide to get a microchip for your pet, make sure that you register him in a database and update the information in it regularly; otherwise, the chip is useless if your pet does end up getting lost. According to a study, out of the stray animals found in shelters, only 60 percent of microchipped pets were registered in a database. Those registered pets were all successfully returned to their owners.
Your pet is a precious member of your family, and thus, you must exert every effort to recover them. The above tips can be useful if you follow them to the letter, but there’s one more tip that you can apply: invest in a GPS tracker for your pet. As was already mentioned, time is crucial when looking for a lost pet. A tracking device can help you save on time when searching for your pet as it can point you directly to his exact geographical whereabouts, all thanks to GPS technology. Such a device is not only useful for monitoring his locations, but it can also clue you in to his health status, as it can also read vital stats like his heart rate and check if he is feeling ill or uncomfortable.