If your companion animal is lost, act quickly!
- Start looking! Don’t assume your missing companion will be back in a day or two, has been stolen, or has “gone off to die.” Begin your search as soon as you realize your pet is missing, and visit the Missing Pet Partnership for specific strategies on how to find lost cats and lost dogs.
- Visit HSSPCA or the local animal shelter that services your area.
- Contact your local animal control to see if they have found your pet. Some communities provide a “free ride home” for dogs and cats who are wearing a current city license, and if you can provide officers with your current contact information.
- If your pet has a microchip, contact the microchip company to make sure your pet’s registration is up-to-date with current phone numbers and contact information. Some microchip companies take lost reports over the phone. If you are not sure of the microchip brand, contact the veterinary clinic or shelter where your pet was microchipped, or visit petmicrochip.org.
- Check out this current pet list to see if your lost pet has already arrived at HSSPCA. If they are at the shelter, be prepared for the Reclaiming Process when you arrive at the shelter.
If your cat or dog is lost, visit HSSPCA and other animal shelters and do it often. Looking in person is the best way to ensure that you and your pet are reunited. Continue your search by taking these steps:
Make signs bold, with key words in large type. A photo of the animal is a big help. Distribute them door-to-door in the neighborhood where the animal was lost and post them at major intersections and along main streets in the area. PAWS and many other shelters have “lost and found” stations within their facilities where you can also post your signs.
Download a ready-made lost sign (PDF 135kb)
Cover the neighborhood and beyond
- Call local veterinary clinics including those that handle emergencies.
- If your pet is microchipped, call the microchip company to report your pet missing and to be sure your contact information is up to date.
- Let everyone in your neighborhood know your pet is missing. Talk to passers-by and stop in at businesses in your area.
- Check the neighborhood including alleys, playgrounds, parks and roadside ditches. Cats can often become stranded in trees or shut in garages, storage sheds, under porches or on rooftops.
- Enlist the help of letter carriers and delivery persons as well. It is not uncommon for animals to be found miles from where they were lost.
Try a humane trap
If you lost a small dog or cat, try using a humane trap to safely capture your pet. You can rent a humane trap from HSSPCA.
Use the Internet
Several websites provide information for lost and found companion animals:
Place an ad
Immediately place an ad in the major daily newspaper for your area. Continue to monitor the ads in case someone lists one for a found animal who matches the description of your pet.
Offer a reward
Offering a reward on your posters and in ads may offer an incentive for people to become involved. Be cautious before giving money to anyone claiming to know the whereabouts of your animal–make sure the person claiming to have your animal really does.
By using all available approaches, you can increase the odds of a happy reunion. Many animals are found weeks after they were lost. Don’t give up.