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What to Do If You Have Lost Your Pet

First published:  August 15, 2021
Last updated: April 26, 2024
What to Do If You Have Lost Your Pet
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  • Report your lost pet to local animal shelters and rescue groups.
  • Make posters with your pet's photo, name, breed, and contact info. Post them in your neighborhood and other busy areas.
  • Use social media to spread the word. Share posters and photos on your personal accounts and in local pet groups.
  • Search your neighborhood and surrounding areas thoroughly. Check parks, wooded areas, and under porches and decks.
  • Ask your neighbors and friends to keep an eye out for your pet.
  • Consider offering a reward for its safe return.

Has it ever come to your mind why people choose to have a pet? Why spend so much money on their food, shelter, and health? But mostly, why are pets recognized as one member of the family? Unless you have one, you will never understand how safe, happy, and satisfying it is to have a pet. According to the reports, there are more than 10 million pet goes missing every year just in the US. 

However, one of the worst feelings in the world is when you lose your pet companion you have at home. We know the feeling when it happens yet somehow, you don’t know what to do, who you’ll call, or where you'll go because panic, frustration, and worries come first. So when, unfortunately, this situation comes, here are some of the helpful ways that you could try that might give you a great chance to find your best pal.

Lost dog poster nailed to a lightpost with a sky background

File a Lost Report

There’s no need to wait for 24 hours to report a missing pet. The moment you realize that it is gone, head to the closest Animal Welfares / Shelters and file a report. You can also extend your announcement within a 50-mile radius or more depending on if your area is rural or urban. Be sure to provide all the necessary information and visit the shelter at least once per day. If you notice that the welfare or shelter has a bulletin board, might as well ask to put the report there with complete details of your pet and your contact number.

Find Your Pet Right Away

When looking for your pet, always remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Advise your family, friends, and neighbors and ask for their help. Tell them the entire story and provide useful information that they can use as a guide or clue for an easier lookout. Then, start the search right away. The best thing to do is to search first every corner of the house and places nearby as well as go back to the last location where your pet was last seen and ask people what direction it went. 

Go Door-to-Door

When you can’t find your pet anywhere in the house start looking at the neighborhood and go door to door since it is important to ask first the people who are already familiar with your pet or have seen it a couple of times. You can also provide some photos, descriptions, and useful information so that they will be able to recognize it when they see it again. When a poster is not yet available, make sure to leave your contact details where they can be able to reach you when news pops out.

Make Enough Time and a Thorough Search

Finding your pet during your free time will never be enough or effective. Make sure to allot most of your time and energy to finding your best pal. If you have prior commitments before the incident happens, it’s time to drop them all because there’s nothing more important than finding your best friend ASAP. Remember, every minute, day, or week wasted could mean a critical time for your pet as he or she must be frustrated or very much afraid the moment it realizes that they can’t find their way home.

Make a Poster

Template for a poster for a lost pet with complete with the pet and the owner's details

When losing a pet, one of the mistakes that the owner unintentionally does is to create flyers that can’t be easily read from afar and have too much information on them. When looking for your pet make sure to make posters, not flyers that include a big photo of your pet, their name, where they were last seen, contact number, and address. Also, don’t forget to use a sheet protector for the rain. Aside from the neighborhood & community centers, put your posters in intersections, populated areas, markets, parks, and supply stores.

Use Different Social Media Platforms

With the world being all-digital, grab the opportunity to maximize all its usage. You can use the poster and have it distributed online consecutively. You can also use different materials and more information on what can only be seen on the poster. Ask your family and friends as well to do the same so you can be able to reach a bigger audience. If it isn’t too much to ask, you can also provide a reward or token for those who can provide useful information about your pet or just by even sharing your posts through their account.

Check Online if There Are Specific Sites That Post About Lost Pets Nearby

Other than visiting a shelter or animal welfare, it is also significant to look online for specific sites or community groups that usually post lost pets in your area. If there is, make sure to ask for their help and get your notice posted. That way, there are more informed people who might be able to help you with the search. You can also ask for their help searching for your pet, aside from posting online, and in exchange, you can give them necessary support or a token of appreciation that may go a long way for the sites or groups.

dog on the railway platform with leash in his mouth

Be optimistic and persistent

According to some articles that I read, other owners usually give up easily after a couple of months looking for their pet. Either they think that their pet is already dead, or it was otherwise kidnapped. Please, don’t be one. Our pets deserve the same love, care, and protection they’ve also been giving us since day 1, so giving up isn’t an option. Trust me, it’s the least that they need from you. Be optimistic and persistent as you continue to look for your pet. Until it’s found, don’t give up and keep looking.

Use your car as  advertising for your lost pet

Another effective way to inform the public about your lost pet is to advertise via your car or any rides you’ve got. That way, all people who will see it walking by or while on the road will be notified, especially those who aren't living in the neighborhood. Another powerful way that you can do this is to widen your search and go extra miles since it is easier to do it with a ride. Just don’t forget to provide only the necessary information (Picture & Contact Details only) that can be easily read from a distance.  

Offer a reward

We all heard the phrase ‘It’s not all about money.’ So even though offering a reward is optional, this can also become an effective way when you’re trying to look for your pet. Especially if it’s giving everyone a hard time. People will have more enthusiasm, creativity, and have keener memories, hence the reward will serve as a motivation for others to help you keep looking and never give up. But let me be clear on this matter, not everyone is always into it. Others are just simply good samaritans trying to help a family, friend, or neighbor. 


If there is any consolation when losing a pet, it’s the microchip. It makes the search easier. So if your pet happens to have one, you’ll be able to breathe more easily before you call the company and inform them that you lost your pet. Ask kindly for their assistance and compliment them for their hard work. A little advice though if you’re planning to have a pet soon, be sure to have it microchipped. Because the easiest way to find your lost pet is through it. It may not be as cheap as you hope it to be but it will save you the agony, frustrations, and worries when such an incident happens.

Ask for a TV station or local radio nearby to run an announcement for you

When days or weeks have passed and you’re still not able to hear anything about your pet but if it so happens that a TV station or local radio is nearby you may also ask for their help to publish an announcement and pay for their service. Though you may find it pricey it will surely be worth it as people are always watching or listening for news and updates. Make sure to check the most effective time to air your announcement on air so it may be able to reach a wide audience. 

Final Thoughts

I hope these steps will be able to help someone find their pet when the unfortunate time comes.  If this article happens to reach someone who is still looking for their companion right now, I hope and pray that you will get them back soon and will never lose them again, just don’t lose hope. Never give up. It may take longer than you prayed and expected it to be but what matters most is your love, care, persistence, and optimism that will lead your pet back to you.

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