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So You’ve Lost Your Pet…Now What?

  • December 12, 2012
  • 4:30 pm
  • 1 of 3
So You’ve Lost Your Pet…Now What?

Your heart skips. Your stomach drops. Panic sets in. You begin shouting your pet’s name as you get short of breath. You are already running through a million scenarios of what is happening to your beloved pet—until you find your dog or cat lying on the couch you’re sure you already checked.

However, that scenario does not always end with such quick relief. According to the APPA’s 2011/2012 National Pet Owners Survey, more than 20 million pets go missing every year.

Preventative Measures
The same APPA survey also shows that one out of every three pets will get lost at some point during his or her lifetime. Here is what you should do to prevent your animal companion from becoming one of those statistics.

• Get your pet microchipped. This is usually done when your pet is spayed or neutered. If not, be sure to inquire about this easy procedure at your vet’s office. If someone finds your pet, shelters, rescues, animal control centers, and vets can scan the microchip to bring up your contact information.

• Have your vet scan the microchip at each checkup to make sure that it is in the right spot and that the information is up to date and correct.

• Have pictures of your pet either printed out or saved digitally so you can make fliers without wasting valuable searching time.

• Replace and update your pet’s ID collar tag. Some tags become difficult to read due to wear and tear. You should have two phone numbers on the tag, and at least one should have voicemail enabled.

• Have contact information printed directly on collar. Tags can fall off and information can be difficult for a person to read if the animal is wary of strangers.

• Secure fences and gates. Dogs can dig underneath fences and can escape through unlatched gates. Make sure your yard is enclosed to prevent your outside cat from escaping.

Next: Steps to take if your pet gets lost

  • 1 of 3

Read more: Cats, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Pets, Safety, , , ,

Selected by Laura Drucker, TAILS Editor

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TAILS is an interactive website, online community, and print magazine that celebrates the relationship between pets and their people. TAILS features expert knowledge, advice, pet product reviews, local resource guides, community event listings, and fun contests to promote and encourage people to live responsibly with their pets.


+ add your own
1:27PM PDT on Apr 24, 2013


10:15AM PST on Dec 25, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

7:34PM PST on Dec 21, 2012

This is really good information. I rescued four Rottweilers the day after July 4th. They
had traffic backed up in both directions, because they were standing in the middle of the
road. These poor guys did not know what to do. Being a dog trainer, I figured the best way to get them to come
to my car was to offer treats and water. Once they realized what I had, all four of them jumped
in my vehicle. They were so heat exhausted and thirsty.
So, what to do next ? Well, we went to the nearest veterinarian and had them scanned for
a micro-chip. Thank goodness they had one. Within the hour, they were back home.
The micro-chip is the way to go.

7:14AM PST on Dec 15, 2012

My dogs ran off a few times and it always meant a paniced few hours of driving around the area to find them. They usually stayed together, thank goodness, with the younger one following the older one.

1:24PM PST on Dec 14, 2012


10:03AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

Grazie per i consigli.

3:30AM PST on Dec 14, 2012

Thanks for the advice and comments!

9:08PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

So difficult to lose pets! I found only one, and later, she got lost again, and I was too shy to knock on doors on the neighboring street when I heard that she was inside one of the homes there! Also difficult to try to help when pets are lost, especially when their "owners" show up and are vicious and disgusting, and the reason becomes all too clear why the pet was roaming the streets or highways to begin with! They run away from cruel and insane people.
This is such a good article, and the comments are also helpful. I hesitate to chip my cat, due to health concerns. Thankfully, she prefers to remain indoors 99% of the time.

7:19PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

The Missing Pet Partnership is a great resource for lost pets. They have incredibly useful tips about the behavior of pets that go missing--the best information I have ever seen, and I spent a year looking for my brother's missing cat. I encourage everyone to take a look at their website, bookmark it, and go there IMMEDIATELY if your pet is missing: Their recommendations may help bring your pet home--I am sure they will change the way you search.

6:45PM PST on Dec 13, 2012

More things you can do is ensure that your dog knows where their home is and the area you live in, take them for daily walks letting them go where they want to and up all the side streets. Then when you come home watch for them walking towards your house when you get there, this shows they know where home is.

Also if your dog does get out tie a recently worn shirt or item of clothing that will smell like you to the front fence or letter box and place another at the door, they do by smell and they often wander home on their own.

On another note it is important to teach dogs road safety so if they do get out they won't go charging down the middle of the street, only allow them to walk in gutters or on footpaths; and when you cross the road make them stop, wait then say cross and make them cross quickly without stopping. They should treat bituman like lava.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking


Thanks for sharing :-)

Thanks so much for sharing! Great advice.


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