What to Do When a Pet Goes Missing

By Jennifer Viegas

A missing pet often turns up – a little bedraggled and hungry, but no worse for wear.

What to Do When a Pet Goes Missing
Illustration: istock

The longer a pet is missing, however, the greater its risk of becoming ill or being hit by a car. Here’s what to do.

Immediate Response

  1. Comb your house and garden Do not assume that your pet will respond to your frantic calls, so check your property thoroughly, including inside wardrobes, sheds – even crawl spaces and drains. If your dog went missing while off leash, return to where you last saw it.
  2. Check the neighbourhood Leave a description and a phone number with your neighbours – and ask them to check any outbuildings.
  3. Make familiar noises As you walk around, call your pet’s name, rattle a box of treats, squeeze a squeaky toy or use an ultrasonic whistle – they work for both cats and dogs.
  4. Attract with scent Animals can find their way by smell, so place some strongly scented items – such as its bedding – outside your home.

For Longer Absences

  1. Call local animal shelters, vets, animal control agencies and emergency animal hospitals further afield. Also contact your local council – some councils have their own facilities where they take missing pets.
  2. Make a poster with a description, a photo, the date your pet went missing and where it was last seen. Place it so it can also be seen by passing cars.
  3. Place an ad in the local paper.
  4. If your pet is microchipped, make sure your contact details are up to date on the relevant microchip registry.

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