It’s an experience that no pet owner ever wants: What do you do if Fido or Fluffy goes missing? We’ve all been there – Kitty slips out the front door when you’re bringing in the weekly groceries or the Pup decides to go on a rogue squirrel chasing mission at the dog park – your heart sinks and panic sets in. Of course, Wisconsin Pet Care’s first words of wisdom are: Keep calm. But let’s be real, these are our fur babies we’re talking about! It’s only natural that our feathers will get a little ruffled. This week we’ll help you with the best plan of action should your pet go missing, as well as offer helpful tips to prevent a furry friend’s permanent vacation.
What steps you should take as soon as you know your pet is gone?
Step 1: ACT IMMEDIATELY. The sooner you start looking for your pet, the better chance he will have of returning home.
Step 2: RALLY THE TROOPS. Gather all friends and family and give them each a section to search for your dog or cat. Make sure you keep someone at home in case Fido decides to save you all a lot of work and come back on his own. The person at home can call your veterinarian (perhaps your veterinarian can also send out a “Missing Pet” fax to the other veterinarians in the area). For those helpers in the field, be sure that they each have a recent picture of your pet, as well as some treats or a favorite toy (after all, no kitty is above a little bribery).
Step 3: MAKE A LASTING IMPRESSION. Print up a few slips of paper that contain your name, phone number and your pet’s name/photograph. You or a helper should talk with your neighbors and let them know that your dog or cat has gone missing. Leaving your information will make it easy for them to get in contact with you should pet find the wrong house.
Okay, so what if your companion has not been found right away? Is it still possible that they will be recovered? In short: Yes. Don’t give up hope – here’s what to do on Day 2.
Step 1: MAKE A “LOST DOG” POSTER. Many-a-lost pet has been found this way. Just remember to include your pet’s name, where they were last seen, a recent photo (color, if possible), your name/phone number and the offer of a reward, if you wish (though do not specify the amount – if it’s too little, you might not generate interest, and if it is too high, someone may mistake your pet’s worth and try selling him instead of returning him).
Step 2: POST YOUR FLYERS EVERY PLACE YOU CAN. Community posting boards at local dog parks, veterinary clinics, pet stores, grocery stores, etc. are great places to start. Get creative by asking your mail carrier if she’d pass them out along her route, or even persuade your friend and family helpers to pass them out around the neighborhood. The more eyes that see your missing pet, the better chance someone may spot him and bring him home.
Step 3: LOST AND FOUND. Craigslist and your local newspaper are just a couple of examples of resources that feature a “lost and found” section – check them to see if someone has posted a listing about your dog or cat. You might also wish to post a listing for your lost dog with these resources as a proactive approach.
Step 4: Social Media. Yes! Post on your Facebook oage and those of friends in the neighborhood. Dogs usually will tire from running a mile or two from the original destination so your best shot is right in your own neighborhood!
Step 5. Call Lost Dogs of Wisconsin who will post a statewide report for your dog! They also distribute to all the vets in the area and will blast it through every known avenue to help you get your dog back!
If you haven’t found your pet after a few days, the possibility of recovery still exists. Keep up your hard work and remember that no news is still good news. Once your pet is home, be sure to take the steps to prevent him from going missing again (please also check out our post on microchipping and collars).