Whether you have lost or found a pet, it is critical that you act quickly. If you have lost a pet, don’t give up too quickly. Keep looking for at least a month. We know of countless stories that have ended happily after weeks, even months, of searching.

The following advice has been customized to help you with your particular situation. Please select one:


1.

Start by posting a minimum of 10 signs in the immediate area where your dog was lost. It is best to use brightly-colored paper. If you do not have any, white paper will do. (Click here for a template to help you make the most effective sign.) Post a minimum of 50 signs after completing the steps below.

2.

Grab a leash (if possible) and begin to canvas the area where your dog was lost. If you are able to print additional Lost Pet signs, bring them with you so that you can hand them out to neighbors and anyone else you may run into. Enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors in the search.

Be sure to canvas a wide area as your dog may have traveled blocks or even miles from where he was originally lost.

3.

Knock on your neighbors’ doors and tell them that your dog is missing. Ask if you can look for your dog on their property. If no one is home, leave one of your signs in their mailbox or near their front door.

4.

Call your local police department to see if someone has reported finding your dog.

5.

Post your Lost Pet signs at locations where the finder might think to look, ie: veterinary offices, pet-supply stores, groomers, dog parks, supermarkets, the post office and other local businesses. And tell your mail person that your dog is missing.

6.

Go to the animal shelter that services the area in which your dog was lost. If you do not know which shelter picks up strays in your area, call your local police department or “411” and ask.

It is important that you physically go to the shelter at least every other day. New pets come in daily. Simply calling is not enough. Your dog may not be listed with the front desk when you call or the person may not recognize your dog from your description.

Even if your dog was wearing identification when he was lost or he is microchipped, it is highly recommended that you physically go to the shelter. Your dog’s I.D. tag may have come off and microchips can fail to be detected by scanners.

Ask to see the dogs in the infirmary as well as in the general runs since your dog might have been injured. While you're at the shelters, ask to check the listings of animals who didn't make it, such as those hit by cars. Hard as it is to know a pet was killed, it's harder to never know what happened.

Leave a copy of your Lost Pet sign with the shelter staff.

If you are unable to physically go to the shelter, calling is the next best thing.

7.

After you have gone to the shelter that services the area where your dog was lost, go to all of the shelters within a 50-mile radius. Your dog may have traveled beyond the area that your local shelter services and been picked up by a neighboring shelter. Ask your local shelter for a list of these additional shelters.

8.

Continue to visit the shelters at least every other day. It can take several days for a pet to be picked up by animal control or brought in by a Good Samaritan. Some shelters hold onto a pet for a period of time and then transfer them to another shelter or the person who found your dog may wait several days before turning him into a shelter. Also, the person who found your dog may turn him in to a shelter other than the one that services the area where your dog was initially lost.

9.

Contact local rescue groups and let them know that your dog is missing. The person who found your dog may have been afraid that he would be euthanized if they turned him into a shelter and took him to a rescue group instead. For a listing of local rescues, go to www.google.com and enter the words animal, rescue and the name of your city.

10.

Place a Lost Pet ad in your local newspaper(s). And be sure to check the “Found Pets” section of the paper. Leave out a piece of information that only the true finder would know, such as the color of your dog’s collar or a distinguishing mark. Sadly, there are scam artists who prey on people who have lost a pet, claiming to have the pet in order to collect a reward.


1.

Don’t assume that a stray dog is simply “out exploring.” A lost dog is about as capable on his own as a toddler. Start by posting a minimum of 10 signs in the immediate area where you found the dog. It is best to use brightly-colored paper. If you do not have any, white paper will do. (Click here for a template to help you make the most effective sign.) If possible, post more signs after completing the steps below.

2.

Knock on doors in the neighborhood where you found the dog to see if someone has lost him or knows who he belongs to.

3.

Call your local police department to see if someone has reported losing a dog who matches the description of the dog you have found.

4.

If the dog is not wearing visible identification, he may have a microchip embedded under his skin that will help in tracking down his guardian.

To check, take the dog to a local veterinary clinic where he can be scanned. But before you do, make sure to use a leash (or fashion a leash out of a belt or rope) in order to keep the dog safe while he is in your care.

5.

If you are unable to quickly locate the dog’s guardian through an I.D. tag or microchip, it is best to take him to the animal shelter that services the area where he was found. You may also be able to call the shelter to arrange for the dog to be picked up. The shelter is a central location where the dog’s guardian is very likely to look. If you do not know which shelter is responsible for picking up strays in your area, call your local police department or “411” and ask.

If you are unable to physically go to the shelter, calling is the next best thing. Leave a description of the dog with the shelter staff.

If you are unable to take the dog to the shelter or are afraid that the dog may be euthanized if you do, it then becomes entirely up to you to do everything possible to locate the dog’s guardian. Remember, if you choose to hold onto the dog for a period of time and then have to take him to the shelter at a later date, the guardian may have given up searching by the time you take the dog to the shelter.

6.

Post your Found Pet signs at locations where the dog’s guardian might think to look, ie: veterinary offices, pet-supply stores, groomers, dog parks, supermarkets, the post office and other local businesses. And tell your mail person that you have found a dog and his description.

7.

Contact local rescue groups and let them know about the dog who you have found. For a listing of local rescues, go to www.google.com and enter the words animal, rescue and the name of the city where you found the dog.

8.

Place a Found Pet ad in your local newspaper(s). Most newspapers will not charge a fee to place a Found Pet ad. And be sure to check the “Lost Pets” section of the paper.

Leave out a piece of information that only the true guardian would know, such as the color of the dog’s collar or a distinguishing mark. Sadly, there are scam artists who falsely claim pets who are not theirs.


1.

First confirm that your pet is not hiding somewhere in your home. Cats are known to be masters at Hide and Seek. Once you are certain that your cat is really missing, start by posting a minimum of 10 signs in the immediate area where your cat was lost. It is best to use brightly-colored paper. If you do not have any, white paper will do. (Click here for a template to help you make the most effective sign.) Post a minimum of 50 signs after completing the steps below.

2.

Begin to canvas the area where your cat was lost. If you are able to print additional Lost Pet signs, bring them with you so that you can hand them out to neighbors and anyone else you may run into. Enlist the help of friends, family and neighbors in the search.

3.

Cats are known to climb to a safe spot or hunker down somewhere quiet if they are scared and not used to being outside. Grab a flashlight for checking in crawl spaces under your home and your neighbor’s home, tool sheds and garages. Sometimes cats won’t even respond to the voice of a loved one if they’re scared. Use the flashlight to help in your search.

4.

If your cat normally comes running when he hears the sound of a favorite treat being offered, shake the can or packaging to get his attention.

5.

Knock on your neighbors’ doors and tell them that your cat is missing. Ask if you can look for your cat on their property. If no one is home, leave one of your signs in their mailbox or near their front door.

6.

Call your local police department to see if someone has reported finding your cat.

7.

Post your Lost Pet signs at locations where the finder might think to look, ie:
veterinary offices, pet-supply stores, groomers, dog parks (dog people can be cat people, too), supermarkets, the post office and other local businesses. And tell your mail person that your cat is missing.

8.

Stray cats are turned into local shelters more often than you might think. Go to the animal shelter that services the area in which your cat was lost. If you do not know which shelter picks up strays in your area, call your local police department or “411” and ask.

It is important that you physically go to the shelter at least every other day. New pets come in daily. Simply calling is not enough. Your cat may not be listed with the front desk when you call or the person may not recognize your cat from your description.

Even if your cat was wearing identification when he was lost or he is microchipped, it is highly recommended that you physically go to the shelter.

Your cat’s I.D. tag may have come off and microchips can fail to be detected by scanners.

Ask to see the cats in the infirmary as well as in the general runs since your cat might have been injured.

While you're at the shelters, ask to check the listings of animals who didn't make it, such as those hit by cars. Hard as it is to know a pet was killed, it's harder to never know what happened.

Leave a copy of your Lost Pet sign with the shelter staff.

If you are unable to physically go to the shelter, calling is the next best thing.

9.

Continue to visit the shelter at least every other day. It can take several days for a pet to be picked up by animal control or brought in by a Good Samaritan.

10.

After you have gone to the shelter that services the area where your cat was lost, go to all of the shelters within a 50-mile radius. Some shelters hold onto a pet for a period of time and then transfer them to another. Also, the person who found your cat may turn him in to a shelter other than the one that services the area where your cat was initially lost.

11.

Contact local rescue groups and let them know that your cat is missing. The person who found your cat may have been afraid that he would be euthanized if they turned him in to a shelter and took him to a rescue group instead. For a listing of local rescues, go to www.google.com and enter the words animal, rescue and the name of your city.

12.

Place a Lost Pet ad in your local newspaper(s). And be sure to check the “Found Pets” section of the paper.

Leave out a piece of information that only the true finder would know, such as the color of your cat’s collar or a distinguishing mark. Sadly, there are scam artists who prey on people who have lost a pet, claiming to have the pet in order to collect a reward.


1.

Although it is not a safe practice, some guardians allow their cat to roam outdoors on their own. If you suspect that the cat you have found is truly lost, start by posting a minimum of 10 signs in the immediate area where you found the cat. It is best to use brightly-colored paper. If you do not have any, white paper will do. (Click here for a template to help you make the most effective sign.) If possible, post more signs after completing the steps below.

2.

Knock on doors in the neighborhood where you found the cat to see if someone has lost him or knows who he belongs to.

3.

Call your local police department to see if someone has reported losing a cat who matches the description of the cat you have found.

4.

If the cat is not wearing visible identification, he may have a microchip embedded under his skin that will help in tracking down his guardian. To check, take the cat to a local veterinary clinic where he can be scanned. But before you do, make sure to use a cat carrier (or a box) in order to keep the cat safe while he is in your care.

5.

Because cat guardians don’t often think to check for their missing pet at a shelter, we don’t recommend taking a found cat to a shelter if you think he might live in the neighborhood. Consider attaching a note to the cat by fashioning a collar out of a piece of thread and writing, “Please call me if this is your cat.” If the cat goes home, his guardian may call you.

6.

Post your Found Pet signs at locations where the cat’s guardian might think to look, ie: veterinary offices, pet-supply stores, groomers, dog parks (dog people can be cat people, too), supermarkets, the post office and other local businesses. And tell your mail person that you have found a cat and his description.

7.

Contact local rescue groups and let them know about the cat who you have found.

For a listing of local rescues, go to www.google.com and enter the words animal, rescue and the name of the city where you found the cat.

8.

Place a Found Pet ad in your local newspaper(s). Most newspapers will not charge a fee to place a Found Pet ad. And be sure to check the “Lost Pets” section of the paper.

Leave out a piece of information that only the true guardian would know, such as the color of the cat’s collar or a distinguishing mark. Sadly, there are scam artists who falsely claim pets who are not theirs.

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