One of the most awful experiences a pet parent can face is when a pet goes missing. It can happen in the blink of an eye.
My childhood best friend, Mickey, disappeared one evening during a potty trip outside. It was our fault. We let him out onto our patio behind our apartment complex alone. He had always returned right after he did his business, we didn’t expect this night to be any different. (Now, I can’t imagine what we were thinking! How foolish and irresponsible!) We searched the neighborhood calling his name for hours. I missed school the following day to search for him. I couldn’t stop searching for my best friend. I was devastated by the fact that he was missing due to my carelessness. Thankfully, he was returned to us unharmed a few days later, but after 28 years I can still feel the fear and panic of not knowing where he was or if he was OK, and the relief and gratefulness when he returned. In 1988 we didn’t have as many tools to find and prevent lost pets as we do now.
July is Lost Pet Prevention Month
Lost Pet Prevention Month was founded by PetHub in July 2014 to give pet parents resources, tools, and strategies for preventing a lost pet, as well as advice for getting them home quickly if they do become lost.
PetHub is one of many technological tools to help find a lost pet. Delia has had a PetHub digital ID tag and account since 2013 and Chewy recently got his first PetHub digital ID tag. We haven’t had to use the service, and hopefully never will, but it is comforting to know that they have that extra tool available to help get them home.
5 Resources For Finding Lost Pets
ID Collar Tags
Whether your dog/cat/ferret, etc… wears a traditional ID tag or a digital ID tag, if they are wearing their collar or harness, an ID tag is very important. A tag with the pet’s name and contact number can be a vital tool in reuniting a lost pet with their family. It is typically the first thing a person who finds a lost pet looks for. It is important to update the tags if you change phone numbers, and to make sure that the pet’s name and contact number are easy to read.
If your pet gets lost without their collar, or if they don’t wear a collar, a microchip is a form of ID that is always with them. As with a tag, it is important to make sure your contact information is up to date.
Social media is an excellent tool for spreading the word about lost pets fast and far. One of our doggie daycare friends escaped her backyard during fireworks a few weeks ago. My boss posted the dog’s photo, location when lost, and contact info on her personal Facebook page and a local city group page. It was quickly shared locally and the dog was reunited with her family the next morning thanks to that post.
Using lost pet hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are an excellent tool to help alert people in the area the pet was lost to keep an eye out for them.
Online Lost Pet Websites and Databases
These sites offer the option of listing lost and found pets, as well as tools find them such as printable/shareable posters, postcards, social media posts and more.
Lost Pet Professionals
When my daycare friend Biscuit went missing for six days last year, her mom called Lost Pet Professionals.
Biscuit was staying overnight at a friend’s house and jumped the fence in the friend’s yard when she was out on a potty break. Biscuit had gone into the unfamiliar woods and couldn’t be found. Her mom posted on Facebook, lost and found sites and Craigslist. She put up signs in the area and called local shelters, veterinary clinics, and police stations, and searched by car and on foot, but was unable to find her.
On the second day Biscuit was missing, they got a report of a sighting near the area where she was lost. They searched for hours, but still no Biscuit.
On the fourth day, Biscuit’s Mom found Lost Pet Professionals and contacted them. They explained all the procedures and what to expect. On the 6th day, a team of investigators, scent dogs, and their handlers arrived at the site of the most recent Biscuit sighting and immediately started searching with a scent article provided by Biscuit’s Mom. The dogs quickly picked up Biscuit’s scent and went into the woods to track her. Kids in the area had said they saw her going up a hill into the woods where she was traced. The handler, Jamie, led Biscuit’s Mom to the area and told her to call for her in case she was till in the area.
As soon as i called for Biscuit Jamie said “OMG there she is”. I was in shock and cant tell you how thrilled i was that we found her.
They taught me what to do in this situation which was to playfully call for biscuit and slowly walk towards her. Biscuit is considered what they call a STARS dog which means a roaming dog who will not approach humans. So even when she saw me she still had this mind set of not to go near humans. It took several minutes of me calling for her and i had to eventually lay down on the grass and keep calling her so she would come to me. When she came to me she was so excited to see me and i was so happy i cried. She was safe and sound.-Biscuit’s Mom
Biscuit returned to daycare with her sister, Dori, a few weeks later. I’m always happy to see them, but I hugged Biscuit a little tighter this time.
I hope you never have to worry about finding a lost pet. I highly recommend checking out the extensive resources PetHub has provided for Lost Pet Prevention Month.