If your pet is lost it’s important for all parties involved that the pet is found as soon as possible. It is a pet owners worst nightmare to loose their pet so don’t just leave it a few days before beginning the search in hope that your pet will simply return home.
If you suspect that your pet has gone missing it is important to establish first if your pet is simply hiding. Have a good search around your home and property and be sure to check any unusual places that your pet has had access to. They may have been simply investigating something interesting and be unsure of how to find their way out again. Let those around you know that the pet is missing and get them to join in on the search.
If your pet can’t be located on your property it is time to search the neighbourhood. Call out your pets name regularly as your search. If it’s your dog that has gone missing, concentrate on areas that you usually walk or places that you have visited recently.
Tell your neighbours, friends and family
Let your neighbours, friends and family know that your pet is missing. Be sure to take a recent photograph of your pet with you to show your neighbours exactly who is missing. The more eyes looking the quicker a pet may be found. Word of mouth is another great tool, as someone you know may speak to some else who has more information about the whereabouts of the missing pet.
Put a lost pet listing online
Put a post on your Facebook or social media account to alert your network to the fact that your pet is missing. Ask your network to share your post with their connections to really get the message to spread. There are also plenty of lost pet pages on Facebook that are specific to certain areas so they would be worth linking in.
You could also list your missing pet on a lost pet’s website. Lost Pet Finders is Australia’s largest lost & found service recognised by vets, councils and volunteer organisations across the country. Here you can list your pet as missing or if you have found a lost pet you can browse the current listings to try and locate the owner. The website also has some great pet finding tools including templates for missing pet flyers and links to create a Facebook ad.
Contact your local council
Someone may have found your pet and notified the local council. The council will then send someone out to locate the animal and take it to the council pound. When claiming your pet from the council pound you will be required to show proof of ownership.
Contact the local animal shelters
Your pet may not be at the council pound but may be at a local animal shelter. It’s best to visit the shelters in person to ensure accurate identification of your pet. You may not find your pet on the first shelter visit, but check back regularly over the following days. The RSPCA is one of the most well-known animal refuges and is a wealth of information.
Animal shelters and pounds are only required to hold stray animals for eight days. During this time they do make every effort to locate the pet’s owner but if no one comes forward to claim the pet, the shelter can chose to rehome them.
When claiming an animal from the animal shelter it is likely that your will need to show photo ID and proof of ownership such as pet registration.
Call your vet
Contact your local vet clinics. Many of them have lost and found boards on display that could aid in your search.
Put up flyers
Create flyers stating that your pet is missing. Include an image of your pet and information such as your pets name, a detailed description, when and where they went missing and your contact details. Some owners also choose to offer a reward for locating a missing pet. A poster with tear off sections that include your contact details can be very helpful for passer-by’s to take home with them.
Distribute the flyers to houses and shops in the neighbourhood and attach copies of the flyer to posts in the local parks or walking tracks.
If your pet is micro-chipped that is great, as this contains your contact information should the pet be found. If your contact details are not up to date, contact your microchip agency to update your details immediately. For more information on the benefits of pet registration and micro-chipping have a read of our article on Responsible Pet Ownership.
As with all thing the best defence is a good offence, so Micro-chipping and ledgeable pet ID on a strong collar are your best defence against finding yourself in this stressful time. Be persistent with your search and keep looking in your local area and repeatedly check the local shelters. Hopefully you will get the best outcome and be reunited with your pet.