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Lafayette Veterinary Care Center

What To Do If Your Pet Goes Missing

Puppy looking up at you.

Anyone who has lost a pet knows that feeling of panic and the worry of where they could be and what they are doing. Many pets have a natural curiosity and want to explore the world. Whatever the reason for your pet to go missing, your window of opportunity is small. You need to jump into action before they get too far. We’ve compiled these tips to help you take action and find your furry companion.


Easier said than done. You love your pet and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by emotions. However, many people have been reunited with their pets. Stay positive and take the necessary steps.


Try to think like your pet. Are they more likely to roam or are they probably scared and hiding? Be organized and comb your area systematically from one area to another. Talk to anyone and everyone. Ask children if they’ve seen your cat or dog. They’re often more observant than adults. Use a flashlight to search places where animals might hide such as inside drains, sheds, bushes or under porches and parked cars. Call your pet’s name and listen carefully for the faint meow or whimper of an animal stuck somewhere. About 90% of lost pets are recovered when their owners search intensively within a 2-mile radius for around 12 hours after the event.


Make flyers and post immediately! Be sure to have a large, clear picture of your pet, their description, and a phone number where you can be easily contacted. Some owners may even opt to add a reward for the return of their pet.

Notify neighbors. If you have a home owners association, ask if they can send an email to alert all the residents in your community. Be sure to leave flyers with any security guards and mail carriers in your area.

Leave flyers at all of the veterinarian offices, shelters, and rescue groups in your area. If your pet is hurt or ill a good Samaritan may bring them to a vet. Many times, people who find a stray animal will take it to one of these facilities not aware that they are someone’s beloved pet. If your pet is microchipped your chances of being found are greatly increased!

Use social media! Facebook and Twitter are amongst your greatest assets in getting the word out to a multitude of people. Be sure to include a photo, your contact information, and set the status to public so that it can be shared to the walls of people you may not have in your network.

Post an ad in your local newspapers. Craigslist has a section for lost and found pets that may be helpful as well. Don’t include too many details. Lost: [Cat/Dog]. [Color]. Reward. [Phone Number] should be sufficient and most cost effective for this route.

Contact your local police department. Many times, they have the ability to send a mass message to patrolling officers who may see your pet roaming around. Some departments have their own procedures in place for helping lost pets so don’t count this resource out! Also, in the event that your pet was stolen, having a registered complaint will help you prove that your pet is indeed yours when you find it later.

There are several online agencies that aid in helping you find your lost pet for a fee. A simple google search will provide a list of those available. These companies will send a fax and/ or email with your missing pet’s information and your contact to local vets, shelters, and rescues. Few even offer a phone call with a recorded message to a preferred radius of the pet’s last seen location.


Keep a watch on classifieds, lost and found web pages, and continue to visit animal shelters and rescues. Be persistent and follow all leads. Who knows what will bring your pet home There are countless stories of owners reunited with their pet days, weeks, and even years after they have gone missing. Most important of all, don’t give up hope!