What steps should pet parents take when they discover that their companion is missing?
1. Take your cell phone with you and start walking and looking. While you are looking, start calling friends and family and hand out assignments.
One person can drive the area while you continue to walk
One person can make flyers and post them in the area
One person can start posting pictures and info to electronic Lost and Found sites.
One person can start knocking on doors and talking to mail carriers, police, etc..
One person can start contacting vets and shelters
2. If the initial steps aren't fruitful, continue to put up flyers. Refine them as necessary. Your first flyers will be haphazardly made. It's just important to get something out there. The Missing Pet Partnership has some good info on how to make noticeable flyers.
3. The Missing Pet Partnership also writes that when guardians loose dogs, they should look for people; and when guardian's loose cats, pet parents should look for cats.
Basically they are saying that there is a good chance your dog was picked up and there is a good chance that your cat is hiding or is stuck in someone's garage or shed.
So plan searches accordingly.
I've already mentioned flyers twice. I'll mention them again here because they are so important. So many people find pets and make no attempt to find the original owners - so they won't see your ad on Craigslist. Flyers let people know that someone is looking for the dog they found.
4. Put a lost pet alert on your companion's microchip
5. Start visiting all the major shelters daily. Phone calls and web searches are fine but it's best to do your own physical search. It's best to have help with this since you also want to continue searching the area
6. If you suspect your pet was stolen, do not put that on your flyers nor internet posts. It might scare away someone who has your dog. Especially if that person has already had some run-ins with the law. But do call the police.
7. Keep searching, keep putting up flyers, keep visiting shelters. If you don't get any sightings, consider mass mailing post cards to the area where your pet was lost (https://www.usps.com/). If finances allow it, you might even look into billboards - anything to keep letting people know that your pet has a family looking for him/her
8. Consider that someone might be trying to sell your pet. Start looking for such ads at Craigslist and other sources. Especially if your dog or cat is pure bred, or if your dog is tiny or is a power breed
-- You might even advertise that you are looking to buy a pet that matches your pet's description to see what type of responses you get.
9. Search petfinder.com to see if you pet is up for adoption somewhere.
8. Be aware of scam artists. More information here
How To Find Your Lost Pet
Why Your Lost Dog May Not Run Back to You
Catching a Scared Dog
Catching Your Own Scared Dog
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