lost pet

Tips and Resources for Finding a Lost Pet

lost pet

Here at Storage West we hear a lot of stories about lost pets so it got us thinking about how to find a lost cat or lost dog.There are similarities and differences in how you look for lost cats than how you look for lost dogs. Here are some tips, websites, and other resources if you are looking for a lost pet.  

How to Find A Lost Pet

A truly lost cat or dog may be in danger, even if that danger is just breaking its human parent’s heart because it hasn’t come home. Here are some general tips about finding lost pets before we delve into how to find a lost dog and how to find a lost cat.

  1. After an initial search, enlist good friends and family to help look, especially if the lost pet knows them and likes them. 
  2. Tell or text your closest neighbors and anyone else you know in the area where the pet is lost. Ask them to tell others in your area. 
  3. Have you moved since you got the pet?  If so, check with your Vet or humane society about how to update your address for the ID chip. 
  4. Post pictures and information on local social media groups in the neighborhood that you belong to.
  5. Call the local humane society and find out their advice.
  6. Make posters with your pet’s name, your phone numbers, and anything else you feel is relevant.  Post them in the general area where you think you’ve lost your pet. 
  7. Take posters to all area vet offices and animal rescue shelters to be posted. 
  8. Email pictures and posters to the shelters, animal control and any other groups (see below resources). 
  9. Most shelters strongly recommend that you call or visit regularly until your pet is found. Staff do not always have time to look through the lost pets files.
  10. If you lost your pet during a move, contact your old neighbors and the new owner/resident of your house. Plan to go over there if it is close enough to do so.
  11. Don’t give up! Many pet owners find their lost pets right away. However, sometimes it is weeks or months later. Regularly visit shelters, post on social media, and check pet rescue websites.


How to Find a Lost Dog.

A dog that has run off isn’t necessarily running anywhere. It may have gone after a scent or a squirrel and simply gotten lost. Here are some suggestions specifically about how to find a lost dog.

  1. Time is often critical with a lost dog in a way it may not be with a missing cat that is perhaps just hiding. That first hour or so is your best bet to find them quickly. 
  2. Is your dog a runner or a sniffer?  Sniffers may just be a few homes away, checking out the fun smells.  Runners can go very far before realizing what they’ve done.
  3. Keep in mind that some 93 percent of dogs that go missing are found. 
  4. Where are the danger spots in your neighborhood? Should a friend or family member stay near a major road, keeping an eye out for your dog?  
  5. Losing your dog while on a walk can be especially worrisome. Try to be calm and consider how far your dog actually could go when given the chance. 
  6. Follow your normal route staying in the area that your dog knows to see if it will catch its own scent and follow it back.
  7. If you are visiting someone or staying in a rental, make sure to leave scent clues for the dog that you are there. These would include putting some of the dog’s bedding and toys near the entrances.  
  8. Report the dog missing with the local animal control. 
  9. Utilize Facebook, Pinterest and other local rescue resources and check back often. 
  10. Spend time outdoors as your dog may be nearby and hear your sound or catch your scent. 

How to Find a Lost Cat

At least three out of four times, a lost cat is nearby. Furthermore, studies show that cats know their name, and they recognize the sound of their owner’s voice.  Here are some suggestions specifically about how to find a lost cat.

  1. If they love treats, get the bag and shake it as you walk around. 
  2. Check all the places your cat has hidden before or could hide.
  3. Make sure to check trees to see if they climbed up to escape another cat and have gotten stuck.
  4. Since worried meows can be very quiet, spend part of your time simply walking around and softly calling your cat’s name. This makes you more likely to hear them, and it may be more reassuring to them. 
  5. You may want to search at night or early in the morning when things are quiet.
  6. Generally cats stay in a radius of 50 feet around your home. 
  7. If you aren’t getting a response, perhaps you could sit or work in your yard and make your presence known. This may encourage your cat to come out of its hiding place. 
  8. If you are searching for an outdoor or very adventurous cat, you may want to broaden your search to the neighborhood. Apparently an outdoor cat’s wandering takes it in a circle that can take it about 345 yards — about 17 houses away. 
  9. Consider why the cat may have left. Does it have a cat friend nearby? Does it have another family that is friendly with it, maybe feeding it or petting it? Is a female cat in heat? Or perhaps it’s a male cat that hasn’t been neutered?
  10. When you must call it a night, you can try putting the litter box or some of the used litter out in the yard or porch. This scent may signal the cat where home is. You can also put out the cat’s favorite pillow or its bedding. Finally, can you leave a porch door or garage door cracked open with some light to invite the cat inside?  If you don’t feel safe doing those things,maybe leave a window down on your car and the cat may just jump right in.
  11. As the clock ticks on, and your cat is still lost, call the Humane Society and other resources on our lists below. 

Resources to Find Lost Pets

National Resources

Petco Love, the nonprofit associated with the Petco brand, is helping reunite owners and their pets who may be in another city, state or region.  It can scan your pet’s picture and check 50,000-plus searchable pets in 880 shelters nationwide. 

Other free resources where you may be able to look at lost pets or enter your own information include Pet FBI. Help Me find My Pet/Microchip Database, and Petfinder. As always, be wary of services that charge a fee.  

Local Resources

The local humane society is a logical place to call with questions. You should ask them about the names of other animal shelters and small rescue groups. Some TV stations will broadcast information about lost pets on one or more of  their programs. 

You may want to broaden your search and call animal control and the humane society in nearby towns or counties. This resource list may have some shelters in your area where you can search by state, city, or zip code.  If you are in one of the areas served by Storage West, these resources may help you: 

Arizona Resources

California Resources

Nevada Resources

Texas Resources

If you’ve lost a pet, the best of luck to you.  Many of the lost pet stories we hear have happy endings. We hope you find your precious dog or cat very quickly. If you need storage in  Arizona, California, Nevada, or Texas, we’ve got that covered.

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