Search the House and the Neighborhood
Start with a thorough search of your home and grounds, checking closets, boxes, under beds, washing machines, garages, sheds, hedges, etc. Next, search the neighborhood calling your cat. If you have recently adopted your cat, check to see if she has returned to her previous home.
Look for Your Pet ASAP
When a dog or other pet is lost from the home, the owner is most likely to find the pet during the first few hours following the disappearance. Owners should set out to search for their pet immediately, beginning with a thorough search in and around the home. Indoor pets in particular are apt to be frightened, so it’s not uncommon to find the missing dog or cat very close to the home.
Canvas the Neighborhood. Go door to door with photos of your dog or cat and ask neighbors to check their garages and sheds. Put your “lost pet” poster through mail slots at houses where no one is home. Talk to delivery people who do regular rounds, such as postmen and newspaper carriers, and ask them to keep an eye out.
Inform local veterinarians, animal shelter personnel, and animal welfare groups and provide pictures of your dog so that staff will recognize her if someone turns her in.
If the pet is not found in the home or yard, conduct a systematic search by traveling in concentric rings around the location where the pet was last seen. Bring along another household pet, and a noisemaker that’s familiar to the lost pet. A lost dog may very well come running at the sound of their favorite squeaky toy or the shake of a treat canister.
Pet owners should also search for their pet late at night. The quiet of the late night and early morning hours makes it easier for owners to hear their pet, and likewise, the pet is more likely to hear the owner’s calls.
Poster the Neighborhood
If a pet is not discovered during the initial search, pet owners should make up between 500 and 1,000 “Missing Cat” or “Lost Dog” posters, with very specific information about size, markings, breed, notable personality quirks, call name, the place that the pet was last seen, date of disappearance, and your contact information and address. A reward can also serve as an additional incentive for citizens to contact you with information on a missing pet.
Ideally, several hundred posters should be kept on-hand at all times. This will provide pet owners with an opportunity to distribute the posters on their initial search. Creating posters in advance it will save valuable time that can then be spent searching for the pet, rather than designing and printing posters. Posters should be placed on phone poles at intersections and on every third phone pole. In addition, the posters can be left at supermarkets, banks, churches, the post office and other high-traffic locations. Pet-related businesses should also be provided with the missing pet posters, including veterinary offices, community centers, dog parks, groomers, pet stores, and doggy daycare facilities. Ask if you may put up posters at nearby schools – children tend to pay more attention to animals than adults. The posters should also be given to all animal shelters within a 50-mile radius to ensure that if the pet will be returned home in the event that he’s brought in as a stray. Placing posters in plastic page protectors (with the open edge facing down) will help protect the posters from the elements and rainwater.
Post Your Dog’s Information Online
Post information on your missing pet on missing pet websites and on community-based websites like Craigslist. There are also multiple websites dedicated to displaying missing pet listings, including www.MissingPet.net and www.FindToto.com
Lost pet advertisements can also be placed with local newspapers and cable access television stations at little or no cost.
In conclusion, pet owners should never give up hope, even if a lost pet doesn’t turn up right away. It’s not unheard of for a missing cat or dog to turn up days, weeks and even months after they first disappear. So don’t lose hope and continue to check with area animal shelters and found pet listings online and in the newspaper to see if your pet has been turned in as a stray. The key is to maintain a proactive stance, as time and time again, it’s found to be the most reliable approach to returning lost pets to their families.
Lure Your Pet Back to the House
Come outside the door and call to your pet at regular intervals, particularly in the evening. Clink a bowl on the ground and leave some dog food or your pet’s favorite treats just outside the door.
A familiar territory marker may help to lure the dog home.
When Your Pet Comes Back, Be Sure to Let Everyone Know
If your pet comes home on her own or is returned, remove all posters, inform all authorities you have previously contacted, and, if time permits, put up a few posters letting others know that your dog has been found. Animal lovers may be still keeping an eye out, and many people will appreciate a story with a happy ending, particularly those who are anxiously searching for their own missing pets.