What To Do When Your Pet Goes Missing

What To Do When Your Pet Goes Missing

Do you know where your pet is? If your cat has taken over your keyboard or your dog has assumed the role of Chief Feet Warmer, you have it easy. But if you have a pack of outdoor cats or dogs that like to roam wild and free, there’s a good chance you don’t know where your pet is in this exact moment. Of course, you may think you do—they’re in the yard, right? No, on the back porch. Or wait, didn’t you just see them in the neighbor’s yard?

black dog standing on trail in mountains


Here’s the deal: this is how a lot of pets become lost. It’s the thing you think is never going to happen to you (until it does). We’ve all had a friend who has lost a pet, and then they’re up all night, worried sick about their animal. It’s a heartbreaking scenario, one we never hope to experience. This is why keeping track of your pet is so critical.

Lost pets aren’t just painful for pet owners. Lost pets can lead to a cycle of lost animals, affecting the entire system of animal shelters and pet adoptions. According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.5 million animals find themselves in shelters across America and 1.5 million animals in these shelters are euthanized annually. More than 700,000 animals wind up in shelters as strays. In other words, keeping track of our animal crew won’t only help maintain our peace of mind, but it will also help to relieve a system that is just bursting with homeless pets, desperate for safe forever homes.

tan dog standing in forest in autumn

What To Do If You Lose Your Pet

Yup, there’s a lot you can do if you lose your pooch (beyond losing your mind!) but traditional means are heck of a lot of work! Most panicked pet parents do the natural thing: they first check out their pet’s favorite hangouts, including the obvious ones in the home or close to home. This is a good first move, but assuming those spots lead nowhere, it’s natural to then work down the list:

Have a microchip?

If your animal gets found and has a microchip, a vet or shelter can scan it for a registration number. Microchips are far more effective than old school dog tags, but take heed; they aren’t 100%. Sometimes scanners simply miss the chip. And, just for a chip to get read in the first place, you’re counting on your pet being found and taken to the a place with the technology to do so.

Fliers, fliers everywhere

We’re talking paper fliers and social media alerts. To cover all fronts, most pet parents will litter the web and their neighborhood with pictures of their pet, hoping that someone has seen them.

Call the shelters

Just like you’d call the hospitals if a loved one didn’t return home on time, it doesn’t hurt to dial local shelters like the Humane Society, SPCA, or Animal Services, to see if your pet has turned up there.

Scour the web

Check social media sites and exchanges like Craigslist and your local Nextdoor.com to see if your lost pooch is mentioned online. Locals with good intent will often put up posts about finding a stray dog or cat.

man in tan jacket snuggling with black pug

Think Bigger: Technology Can Help Manage Your Pets

Let's take a step back and approach the lost pet issue with technology in mind. The idea is to prevent the lost dog issue from happening by using a GPS dog tracker. There are several GPS dog trackers to choose from: Whistle, Fi, Fitbark, and Scollar.

The key thing with GPS dog trackers is accuracy of the antenna and speed of getting a GPS lock and extended battery life. When your furry pal is running of to their next adventure, you need to find them fast BEFORE they get really and truly lost. 

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